Metabolomics Applications in Food Analysis: Quality, Safety, and Health

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Analytical Methods".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 30678

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical and Geological Sciences, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
Interests: NMR spectroscopy; metabolomics; food analysis; infant metabolism
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Women’s and Children’s Health SDB, University of Padova, Padova, Italy
Interests: metabolomics; LC–MS; NMR spectroscopy; chromatography; biomarker discovery; physical chemistry; theoretical chemistry; chemometrics; systems biology; 1H NMR

Special Issue Information

In past decades, the research in food science has gradually moved from adopting traditional and classical methodologies to advanced analytical strategies. Among these, metabolomics has been applied to a wide range of different foodstuffs to address issues of authenticity, quality, safety, processing, shelf-life, traceability, and health benefits as well as to identify and validate biomarkers of nutrient exposure. Thanks to the tremendous technological improvements, metabolomics has been demonstrated to be not only a diagnostic tool but also a valuable approach that can assist us greatly in advancing knowledge in food and nutrient characterization.

This Special Issue aims to highlight recent advances of metabolomics in different areas of food science through original research papers and reviews focused on any aspect of food. Furthermore, we are also open to original research articles related to the improvement and development of relevant methods.

Prof. Dr. Flaminia Cesare Marincola
Dr. Matteo Stocchero
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • metabolomics
  • food component analysis
  • food quality
  • food authentication
  • food safety
  • food microbiology
  • food processing
  • food traceability
  • dietary intake of foods

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 2942 KiB  
Article
Widely Targeted Metabolomics Analysis Reveals the Differences of Nonvolatile Compounds in Oolong Tea in Different Production Areas
by Zhihui Wang, Shuang Gan, Weijiang Sun and Zhidan Chen
Foods 2022, 11(7), 1057; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11071057 - 06 Apr 2022
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2551
Abstract
The flavor differences in Oolong tea from different producing areas are caused by its complex differential compounds. In this study, representative samples of Oolong tea from four countries were collected, and their differential nonvolatile compounds were analyzed by a combination of widely targeted [...] Read more.
The flavor differences in Oolong tea from different producing areas are caused by its complex differential compounds. In this study, representative samples of Oolong tea from four countries were collected, and their differential nonvolatile compounds were analyzed by a combination of widely targeted metabolomics, chemometrics, and quantitative taste evaluation. A total of 801 nonvolatile compounds were detected, which could be divided into 16 categories. We found that the difference in these compounds’ content among Oolong teas from three producing areas in China was the largest. There were 370 differential compounds related to the producing areas of Oolong tea, which were mainly distributed in 67 Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) metabolic pathways. In total, 81 differential nonvolatile compounds made important contributions to the taste differences in Oolong tea from different producing areas, among which the number of flavonoids was the largest. Finally, the characteristic compounds of Oolong tea in six producing areas were screened. This study comprehensively identifies the nonvolatile compounds of Oolong tea in different producing areas for the first time, which provides a basis for the analysis of flavor characteristics, quality directional control, and the identification and protection of geographical landmark agricultural products of Oolong tea from different producing areas. Full article
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16 pages, 1660 KiB  
Article
Exploring Chemical Markers Related to the Acceptance and Sensory Profiles of Concentrated Liquid Coffees: An Untargeted Metabolomics Approach
by Mónica Quintero, Maria José Santander, Sebastián Velásquez, Julián Zapata and Mónica P. Cala
Foods 2022, 11(3), 473; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11030473 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2579
Abstract
In this study, we aimed to apply an untargeted LC/QTOF-MS analysis for the identification of compounds that positively and negatively affect the acceptance of coffee beverages from liquid coffee concentrates (CLCs) before and after storage. The metabolomic results were integrated with physicochemical and [...] Read more.
In this study, we aimed to apply an untargeted LC/QTOF-MS analysis for the identification of compounds that positively and negatively affect the acceptance of coffee beverages from liquid coffee concentrates (CLCs) before and after storage. The metabolomic results were integrated with physicochemical and sensory parameters, such as color, pH, titratable acidity, and oxygen contents, by a bootstrapped version of partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) to select and classify the most relevant variables regarding the rejection or acceptance of CLC beverages. The OPLS-DA models for metabolite selection discriminated between the percent sensory acceptance (the Accepted group) and rejection (the Rejected group). Eighty-two molecular features were considered statistically significant. Our data suggest that coffee sample rejection is associated with chlorogenic acid hydrolysis to produce ferulic and quinic acids, consequently generating methoxybenzaldehydes that impact the perceived acidity and aroma. Furthermore, acceptance was correlated with higher global scores and sweetness, as with lactones such as feruloyl-quinolactone, caffeoyl quinolactone, and 4-caffeoyl-1,5-quinolactone, and significant oxygen levels in the headspace. Full article
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16 pages, 1745 KiB  
Article
NMR Metabonomic Profile of Preterm Human Milk in the First Month of Lactation: From Extreme to Moderate Prematurity
by Chiara Peila, Stefano Sottemano, Flaminia Cesare Marincola, Matteo Stocchero, Nicoletta Grazia Pusceddu, Angelica Dessì, Eugenio Baraldi, Vassilios Fanos and Enrico Bertino
Foods 2022, 11(3), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11030345 - 26 Jan 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2500
Abstract
Understanding the composition of human milk (HM) can provide important insights into the links between infant nutrition, health, and development. In the present work, we have longitudinally investigated the metabolome of milk from 36 women delivering preterm at different gestational ages (GA): extremely [...] Read more.
Understanding the composition of human milk (HM) can provide important insights into the links between infant nutrition, health, and development. In the present work, we have longitudinally investigated the metabolome of milk from 36 women delivering preterm at different gestational ages (GA): extremely (<28 weeks GA), very (29–31 weeks GA) or moderate (32–34 weeks GA) premature. Milk samples were collected at three lactation stages: colostrum (3–6 days post-partum), transitional milk (7–15 days post-partum) and mature milk (16–26 days post-partum). Multivariate and univariate statistical data analyses were performed on the 1H NMR metabolic profiles of specimens in relation to the degree of prematurity and lactation stage. We observed a high impact of both the mother’s phenotype and lactation time on HM metabolome composition. Furthermore, statistically significant differences, although weak, were observed in terms of GA when comparing extremely and moderately preterm milk. Overall, our study provides new insights into preterm HM metabolome composition that may help to optimize feeding of preterm newborns, and thus improve the postnatal growth and later health outcomes of these fragile patients. Full article
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14 pages, 2069 KiB  
Article
Metabolomic Variability of Different Soybean Genotypes: β-Carotene-Enhanced (Glycine max), Wild (Glycine soja), and Hybrid (Glycine max × Glycine soja) Soybeans
by Jung-Won Jung, Soo-Yun Park, Sung-Dug Oh, Yejin Jang, Sang-Jae Suh, Soon-Ki Park, Sun-Hwa Ha, Sang-Un Park and Jae-Kwang Kim
Foods 2021, 10(10), 2421; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10102421 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2226
Abstract
We obtained a new hybrid soybean (Hybrid) by hybridizing β-carotene-enhanced soybean (BCE; Glycine max L.) containing the phytoene synthase-2A-carotene desaturase gene and wild-type soybean (Wild; Glycine soja). To investigate metabolic changes between variants, we performed metabolic profiling of leaves (three growth stages) [...] Read more.
We obtained a new hybrid soybean (Hybrid) by hybridizing β-carotene-enhanced soybean (BCE; Glycine max L.) containing the phytoene synthase-2A-carotene desaturase gene and wild-type soybean (Wild; Glycine soja). To investigate metabolic changes between variants, we performed metabolic profiling of leaves (three growth stages) and seeds. Multivariate analyses revealed significant metabolic differences between genotypes in seeds and leaves, with seeds showing accumulation of phytosterols, tocopherols, and carotenoids (BCE only), indicating co-induction of the methylerythritol 4-phosphate and mevalonic acid pathways. Additionally, Hybrid produced intermediate levels of carotenoids and high levels of amino acids. Principal component analysis revealed metabolic discrimination between growth stages of soybean leaves and identified differences in leaf groups according to different genotypes at 8, 12, and 16 weeks, with Wild showing higher levels of environmental stress-related compounds relative to BCE and Hybrid leaves. The metabolic profiling approach could be a useful tool to identify metabolic links in various soybean cultivars. Full article
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12 pages, 1409 KiB  
Communication
A Milk Foodomics Investigation into the Effect of Pseudomonas fluorescens Growth under Cold Chain Conditions
by Paolo Bellassi, Gabriele Rocchetti, Lorenzo Morelli, Biancamaria Senizza, Luigi Lucini and Fabrizio Cappa
Foods 2021, 10(6), 1173; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061173 - 24 May 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2373
Abstract
Pseudomonas fluorescens is a psychrotrophic species associated with milk spoilage because of its lipolytic and proteolytic activities. Consequently, monitoring P. fluorescens or its antecedent activity in milk is critical to preventing quality defects of the product and minimizing food waste. Therefore, in this [...] Read more.
Pseudomonas fluorescens is a psychrotrophic species associated with milk spoilage because of its lipolytic and proteolytic activities. Consequently, monitoring P. fluorescens or its antecedent activity in milk is critical to preventing quality defects of the product and minimizing food waste. Therefore, in this study, untargeted metabolomics and peptidomics were used to identify the changes in milk related to P. fluorescens activity by simulating the low-temperature conditions usually found in milk during the cold chain. Both unsupervised and supervised multivariate statistical approaches showed a clear effect caused by the P. fluorescens inoculation on milk samples. Our results showed that the levels of phosphatidylglycerophosphates and glycerophospholipids were directly related to the level of contamination. In addition, our metabolomic approach allowed us to detect lipid and protein degradation products that were directly correlated with the degradative metabolism of P. fluorescens. Peptidomics corroborated the proteolytic propensity of P. fluorescens-contaminated milk, but with lower sensitivity. The results obtained from this study provide insights into the alterations related to P. fluorescens 39 contamination, both pre and post heat treatment. This approach could represent a potential tool to retrospectively understand the actual quality of milk under cold chain storage conditions, either before or after heat treatments. Full article
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26 pages, 6818 KiB  
Article
Meat Quality, Fatty Acid Content and NMR Metabolic Profile of Dorper Sheep Supplemented with Bypass Fats
by Atique Ahmed Behan, Muhammad Tayyab Akhtar, Teck Chwen Loh, Sharida Fakurazi, Ubedullah Kaka, Azira Muhamad and Anjas Asmara Samsudin
Foods 2021, 10(5), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10051133 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3513
Abstract
The supplementation of rumen bypass fat (RBF) has remained one of the preferred approaches used to decrease undesirable saturated fatty acids (FA) and increase beneficial unsaturated FA in the meat. This study was planned to evaluate the influences of rumen bypass fats on [...] Read more.
The supplementation of rumen bypass fat (RBF) has remained one of the preferred approaches used to decrease undesirable saturated fatty acids (FA) and increase beneficial unsaturated FA in the meat. This study was planned to evaluate the influences of rumen bypass fats on meat quality, fatty acid and metabolic profiles in male Dorper sheep (n = 36) with 24.66 ± 0.76 kg (mean ± standard error) initial body weight. Treatment comprised a basal diet (30:70 rice straw to concentrate) with no added RBF as a control (CON), basal diet with prilled fat (PF), basal diet with prilled fat plus lecithin (PFL) and basal diet with calcium soap of palm fatty acids (CaS). The findings revealed that cooking loss, drip loss and shear force in longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle were not affected by RBF supplementation, while meat pH was significantly higher in the CaS on aging day 1. However, the diet supplemented with prilled fat and lecithin modified the meat’s fatty acid profile significantly by increasing unsaturated fatty acids and decreasing saturated fats. The relative quantification of the major differentiating metabolites found in LD muscle of sheep showed that total cholesterol, esterified cholesterol, choline, glycerophosphocholine and glycerophospholipids were significantly lower in CaS and PFL diets, while glycerol and sphingomyelin were significantly higher in CaS and PFL diets. Most of the metabolites in the liver did not show any significant difference. Based on our results, the supplementation of protected fats did not have a negative influence on meat quality and the meat from Dorper sheep fed prilled fat with lecithin contained more healthy fatty acids compared to other diets. Full article
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17 pages, 2689 KiB  
Article
Effect of Drying Methods on Volatile Compounds of Burdock (Arctium lappa L.) Root Tea as Revealed by Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry-Based Metabolomics
by Junjie Xia, Zili Guo, Sheng Fang, Jinping Gu and Xianrui Liang
Foods 2021, 10(4), 868; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040868 - 15 Apr 2021
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 2834
Abstract
Burdock (Arctium lappa L.) is one of the nutritional foods widely planted in many countries. Dried burdock root (BR) is available as a herbal tincture and tea in many Asian countries with good flavor and taste. In this study, the volatile components [...] Read more.
Burdock (Arctium lappa L.) is one of the nutritional foods widely planted in many countries. Dried burdock root (BR) is available as a herbal tincture and tea in many Asian countries with good flavor and taste. In this study, the volatile components in dried BR were identified and the effects of different drying methods on the volatile components were investigated by HS-GC-MS method. A total of 49 compounds were identified. Different drying methods including hot-air drying (HD, at 50, 60, 70, and 80 °C), vacuum drying (VD, at 50, 60, 70, and 80 °C), sunlight drying (SD), natural drying (ND), and vacuum freeze drying (VFD) were evaluated by HS-GC-MS-based metabolomics method. Results showed that different drying methods produced different effects on the volatile compounds. It was observed that 2,3-pentanedione, 1-(1H-pyrrol-2-yl)-ethanone, furfural, and heptanal were detected at higher concentrations in HD 80 and VD 70. The traditional HD and SD methods produced more flavor substances than VFD. The BR treated by the VFD method could maintain the shape of the fresh BR pieces while HD50 and VD80 methods could maintain the color of fresh BR pieces. These findings could help better understand the flavor of the corresponding processed BR and provide a guide for the drying and processing of BR tea. Full article
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16 pages, 987 KiB  
Article
Discrimination of the Geographical Origin of Soybeans Using NMR-Based Metabolomics
by Yaoyao Zhou, Seok-Young Kim, Jae-Soung Lee, Byeung-Kon Shin, Jeong-Ah Seo, Young-Suk Kim, Do-Yup Lee and Hyung-Kyoon Choi
Foods 2021, 10(2), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020435 - 17 Feb 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2589
Abstract
With the increase in soybean trade between countries, the intentional mislabeling of the origin of soybeans has become a serious problem worldwide. In this study, metabolic profiling of soybeans from the Republic of Korea and China was performed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) [...] Read more.
With the increase in soybean trade between countries, the intentional mislabeling of the origin of soybeans has become a serious problem worldwide. In this study, metabolic profiling of soybeans from the Republic of Korea and China was performed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy coupled with multivariate statistical analysis to predict the geographical origin of soybeans. The optimal orthogonal partial least squares-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) model was obtained using total area normalization and unit variance (UV) scaling, without applying the variable influences on projection (VIP) cut-off value, resulting in 96.9% sensitivity, 94.4% specificity, and 95.6% accuracy in the leave-one-out cross validation (LOO-CV) test for discriminating between Korean and Chinese soybeans. Soybeans from the northeastern, middle, and southern regions of China were successfully differentiated by standardized area normalization and UV scaling with a VIP cut-off value of 1.0, resulting in 100% sensitivity, 91.7%–100% specificity, and 94.4%–100% accuracy in a LOO-CV test. The methods employed in this study can be used to obtain essential information for the authentication of soybean samples from diverse geographical locations in future studies. Full article
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22 pages, 3219 KiB  
Article
NMR Characterization of Ten Apple Cultivars from the Piedmont Region
by Giacomo Di Matteo, Mattia Spano, Cristina Esposito, Cristina Santarcangelo, Alessandra Baldi, Maria Daglia, Luisa Mannina, Cinzia Ingallina and Anatoly P. Sobolev
Foods 2021, 10(2), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10020289 - 01 Feb 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2516
Abstract
The metabolite profile of ten traditional apple cultivars grown in the Piedmont region (Italy) was studied by means of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, identifying an overall number of 36 compounds. A more complete assignment of the proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H [...] Read more.
The metabolite profile of ten traditional apple cultivars grown in the Piedmont region (Italy) was studied by means of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, identifying an overall number of 36 compounds. A more complete assignment of the proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) resonances from hydroalcoholic and organic apple extracts with respect to literature data was reported, identifying fructose tautomeric forms, galacturonic acid, γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), p-coumaroyl moiety, phosphatidylcholine, and digalactosyldiacylglycerol. The chemical profile of each apple cultivar was defined by thorough quantitative NMR analysis of four sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose, and xylose), nine organic acids (acetic, citric, formic, citramalic, lactic, malic, quinic, and galacturonic acids), six amino acids (alanine, asparagine, aspartate, GABA, isoleucine, and valine), rhamnitol, p-coumaroyl derivative, phloretin/phloridzin and choline, as well as β-sitosterol, fatty acid chains, phosphatidylcholine, and digalactosyldiacylglycerol. Finally, the application of PCA analysis allowed us to highlight possible differences/similarities. The Magnana cultivar showed the highest content of sugars, GABA, valine, isoleucine, and alanine. The Runsé cultivar was characterized by high amounts of organic acids, whereas the Gamba Fina cultivar showed a high content of chlorogenic acid. A significant amount of quinic acid was detected in the Carla cultivar. The knowledge of apple chemical profiles can be useful for industries interested in specific compounds for obtaining ingredients of food supplements and functional foods and for promoting apple valorization and preservation. Full article
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Review

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20 pages, 2498 KiB  
Review
You Are What You Eat: Application of Metabolomics Approaches to Advance Nutrition Research
by Abdul-Hamid M. Emwas, Nahla Al-Rifai, Kacper Szczepski, Shuruq Alsuhaymi, Saleh Rayyan, Hanan Almahasheer, Mariusz Jaremko, Lorraine Brennan and Joanna Izabela Lachowicz
Foods 2021, 10(6), 1249; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061249 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 5582
Abstract
A healthy condition is defined by complex human metabolic pathways that only function properly when fully satisfied by nutritional inputs. Poor nutritional intakes are associated with a number of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and osteoporosis. In recent years, nutrition [...] Read more.
A healthy condition is defined by complex human metabolic pathways that only function properly when fully satisfied by nutritional inputs. Poor nutritional intakes are associated with a number of metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and osteoporosis. In recent years, nutrition science has undergone an extraordinary transformation driven by the development of innovative software and analytical platforms. However, the complexity and variety of the chemical components present in different food types, and the diversity of interactions in the biochemical networks and biological systems, makes nutrition research a complicated field. Metabolomics science is an “-omic”, joining proteomics, transcriptomics, and genomics in affording a global understanding of biological systems. In this review, we present the main metabolomics approaches, and highlight the applications and the potential for metabolomics approaches in advancing nutritional food research. Full article
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