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The Processing and Function of Natural Compounds and Nutraceuticals from Foods

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 28844

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
School of Food and Biological Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, Hefei 230009, China
Interests: natural products; antioxidation; functional food; human health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
College of Biosystems Engineering and Food Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Interests: phytochemicals; antioxidant activity; starch; in vitro digestion; microstructure of starchy food

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is my privilege to invite you to contribute to a new and very targeted Special Issue of " The Processing and Function of Nutraceuticals from Foods". In recent years, the food industry has been interested in uncovering health benefits of ingredients in functional foods and nutraceuticals. For instance, these ingredients include fibre, phytosterols, peptides, proteins, isoflavones, saponins, phytic acid, probiotics, prebiotics, and functional enzymes. Despite significant progress in the identification, extraction, and characterization, concerns on quality and safety issues as well as their health claims, there is still a need for the substantial technological advances made in nano-microencapsulation that protect the bioactivity and enhance the solubility and bioavailability, and the preservation of health-promoting bioactive components in functional food products and nutraceuticals. This special issue is dedicated entirely to focus on the efficient utilization of food supplements or ingredients in food systems and what can be done to address challenges in certain food sectors (such as health claims and their targeted transport to specific tissue). The main goal of this special issue is to cover new and innovative technologies in the processing of functional foods and nutraceuticals that have potential for health benefits and their use in a global and interdisciplinary perspective.  We also welcome descriptions of the main food sources but also emerging ones (i.e., food wastes, unconventional foods, novel food sources, recovery from side- or by-products of the food system) with a view to sustainable, environmentally friendly recovery for the development and promotion of novel nutraceuticals and functional foods. The Special Issue would also invite contributions addressing mechanisms of action connected to possible interactions with physiological processes or with other molecules, as well as the potential protective effects in model studies in vitro and in cell models and animal studies to optimize delivery and appropriate formulation.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Physicochemical characterization and simulation in extraction processes
  • Impact of processing on the bioactivity of neutraceutical ingredients in foods
  • Innovative nanotechnological advances in food preservation, and increased solubility and bioavailibty of health promoting bioactive compounds as well as targeted release for delivery of bioactive components
  • Current and emerging trends in sustainable and environmental-friendly technological interventions to formulate and develop health foods from agricultural byproducts and enlarge their industrial scope
  • Harnessing novel health ingredients and their in vitro and in vivo manifestaions

Prof. Dr. Zhaojun Wei
Dr. Jinhu Tian
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • functional foods
  • functional compounds
  • phytochemicals food science
  • biological activity
  • bioactive compounds
  • agri-foods
  • phytochemical screening and composition
  • structure-activity relationship and modeling for natural drug design
  • toxicology
  • pharmacokinetics
  • nano-encapsulation
  • food preservation
  • bioavailability
  • metabolic diseases
  • health promotion

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 4431 KiB  
Article
Preparation and Characterization of Eugenol Incorporated Pullulan-Gelatin Based Edible Film of Pickering Emulsion and Its Application in Chilled Beef Preservation
by Zhi-Gang Ding, Yi Shen, Fei Hu, Xiu-Xiu Zhang, Kiran Thakur, Mohammad Rizwan Khan and Zhao-Jun Wei
Molecules 2023, 28(19), 6833; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28196833 - 27 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to develop a composite film composed of eugenol Pickering emulsion and pullulan–gelatin, and to evaluate its preservation effect on chilled beef. The prepared composite film was comprehensively evaluated in terms of the stability of emulsion, the physical [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to develop a composite film composed of eugenol Pickering emulsion and pullulan–gelatin, and to evaluate its preservation effect on chilled beef. The prepared composite film was comprehensively evaluated in terms of the stability of emulsion, the physical properties of the film, and an analysis of freshness preservation for chilled beef. The emulsion size (296.0 ± 10.2 nm), polydispersity index (0.457 ± 0.039), and potential (20.1 ± 0.9 mV) proved the success of emulsion. At the same time, the films displayed good mechanical and barrier properties. The index of beef preservation also indicated that eugenol was a better active ingredient than clove essence oil, which led to the rise of potential of hydrogen, chroma and water content, and effectively inhibited microbial propagation, protein degradation and lipid oxidation. These results suggest that the prepared composites can be used as promising materials for chilled beef preservation. Full article
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18 pages, 8692 KiB  
Article
Effects of Tea Polyphenols and Theaflavins on Three Oral Cariogenic Bacteria
by Xia Cui, Lei Xu, Kezhen Qi and Hai Lan
Molecules 2023, 28(16), 6034; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28166034 - 12 Aug 2023
Viewed by 996
Abstract
In order to investigate the antibacterial mechanism of tea polyphenols and theaflavins against oral cariogenic bacteria, the pH value of the culture medium, the number of bacteria adhering to the smooth glass tube wall, and the electrical conductivity value within 10 h were [...] Read more.
In order to investigate the antibacterial mechanism of tea polyphenols and theaflavins against oral cariogenic bacteria, the pH value of the culture medium, the number of bacteria adhering to the smooth glass tube wall, and the electrical conductivity value within 10 h were measured, respectively. The effects of four concentrations of tea polyphenols and theaflavins below the MIC value were studied on acid production, adhesion, and electrical conductivity of oral cariogenic bacteria. The live/dead staining method was used to observe the effects of four concentrations of tea polyphenols and theaflavins below the MIC value on the biofilm formation of oral cariogenic bacteria under a laser scanning confocal microscope. With the increase in concentrations of tea polyphenols and theaflavins, the acid production and adhesion of the cariogenic bacteria gradually decreased, and the conductivity gradually increased. However, the conductivity increase was not significant (p < 0.05). Compared with the control group, the 1/2MIC and 1/4MIC tea polyphenols and theaflavins treatments significantly reduced the biomass of the cariogenic biofilm (p < 0.05). The confocal laser scanning microscope showed that the integrated optical density of green fluorescence of the cariogenic biofilm gradually decreased with the increase in agent concentration after the action of tea polyphenols and theaflavins. Full article
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13 pages, 566 KiB  
Article
Influence of Centrifugation and Transmembrane Treatment on Determination of Polyphenols and Antioxidant Ability for Sea Buckthorn Juice
by Dan Wu, Qile Xia, Huilin Huang, Jinhu Tian, Xingqian Ye and Yanbin Wang
Molecules 2023, 28(6), 2446; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28062446 - 07 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1076
Abstract
When the total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant activity of sea buckthorn juice were assayed by spectrophotometry, the reaction solutions were not clarified, so centrifugation or membrane treatment was needed before determination. In order to find a suitable method for determining TPC and [...] Read more.
When the total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant activity of sea buckthorn juice were assayed by spectrophotometry, the reaction solutions were not clarified, so centrifugation or membrane treatment was needed before determination. In order to find a suitable method for determining TPC and antioxidant activity, the effects of centrifugation and nylon membrane treatment on the determination of TPC and antioxidant activity in sea buckthorn juice were studied. TPC was determined by the Folin-Ciocalteau method, and antioxidant activity was determined by DPPH, ABTS, and FRAP assays. For Treatment Method (C): the sample was centrifuged for 10 min at 10,000 rpm and the supernatant was taken for analysis. Method (CF): The sample was centrifuged for 10 min at 4000 rpm, filtered by Nylon 66 filtration membranes with pore size of 0.22 μm, and taken for analysis. Method (F): the sample was filtered by Nylon 66 filtration membranes with pore size of 0.22 μm and taken for analysis. Method (N): after the sample of ultrasonic extract solution reacted completely with the assay system, the reaction solution was filtered by Nylon 66 filtration membranes with pore size of 0.22 μm and colorimetric determination was performed. The results showed that centrifugation or transmembrane treatment could affect the determination of TPC and antioxidant activity of sea buckthorn juice. There was no significant difference (p > 0.05) between methods (CF) and (F), while there was a significant difference (p < 0.05) between methods (C) (F) (N) or (C) (CF) (N). The TPC and antioxidant activity of sea buckthorn juice determined by the four treatment methods showed the same trend with fermentation time, and the TPC and antioxidant activity showed a significant positive correlation (p < 0.05). The highest TPC or antioxidant activity measured by method (N) indicates that method (N) has the least loss of TPC or antioxidant activity, and it is recommended for sample assays. Full article
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13 pages, 2888 KiB  
Article
Physiological and Metabolic Changes in Tamarillo (Solanum betaceum) during Fruit Ripening
by Chaoyi Hu, Xinhao Gao, Kaiwei Dou, Changan Zhu, Yanhong Zhou and Zhangjian Hu
Molecules 2023, 28(4), 1800; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28041800 - 14 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1734
Abstract
Physiological and metabolic profiles in tamarillo were investigated to reveal the molecular changes during fruit maturation. The firmness, ethylene production, soluble sugar contents, and metabolomic analysis were determined in tamarillo fruit at different maturity stages. The firmness of tamarillo fruit gradually decreased during [...] Read more.
Physiological and metabolic profiles in tamarillo were investigated to reveal the molecular changes during fruit maturation. The firmness, ethylene production, soluble sugar contents, and metabolomic analysis were determined in tamarillo fruit at different maturity stages. The firmness of tamarillo fruit gradually decreased during fruit ripening with increasing fructose and glucose accumulation. The rapid increase in ethylene production was found in mature fruit. Based on the untargeted metabolomic analysis, we found that amino acids, phospholipids, monosaccharides, and vitamin-related metabolites were identified as being changed during ripening. The contents of malic acid and citric acid were significantly decreased in mature fruits. Metabolites involved in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, phenylalanine metabolism, caffeine metabolism, monoterpenoid biosynthesis, and thiamine metabolism pathways showed high abundance in mature fruits. However, we also found that most of the mature-enhanced metabolites showed reduced abundance in over-mature fruits. These results reveal the molecular profiles during tamarillo fruit maturing and suggest tamarillos have potential benefits with high nutrition and health function. Full article
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15 pages, 2946 KiB  
Article
Effects of the Novel LaPLa-Enriched Medium- and Long-Chain Triacylglycerols on Body Weight, Glycolipid Metabolism, and Gut Microbiota Composition in High Fat Diet-Fed C57BL/6J Mice
by Jinyuan Shi, Qianqian Wang, Chuang Li, Mengyu Yang, Muhammad Hussain, Junhui Zhang, Fengqin Feng and Hao Zhong
Molecules 2023, 28(2), 722; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28020722 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1538
Abstract
The roles of medium- and long-chain triacylglycerols (MLCT) on health benefits under high fat diet (HFD) conditions remain in dispute. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of novel LaPLa-rich MLCT on the glycolipid metabolism and gut microbiota in HFD-fed mice when [...] Read more.
The roles of medium- and long-chain triacylglycerols (MLCT) on health benefits under high fat diet (HFD) conditions remain in dispute. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of novel LaPLa-rich MLCT on the glycolipid metabolism and gut microbiota in HFD-fed mice when pork fat is half replaced with MLCT and palm stearin (PS). The results showed that although MLCT could increase the body weight in the mouse model, it can improve the energy utilization, regulate the glucose and lipid metabolism, and inhibit the occurrence of inflammation. Furthermore, 16S rRNA gene sequencing of gut microbiota indicated that PS and MLCT affected the overall structure of the gut microbiota to a varying extent and specifically changed the abundance of some operational taxonomic units (OTUs). Moreover, several OTUs belonging to the genera Dorea, Streptococcus, and g_Eryipelotrichaceae had a high correlation with obesity and obesity-related metabolic disorders of the host. Therefore, it can be seen that this new MLCT has different properties and functions from the previous traditional MLCT, and it can better combine the advantages of MLCT, lauric acid, and sn-2 palmitate, as well as the advantages of health function and metabolism. In summary, this study explored the effects of LaPLa-enriched lipids on glycolipid metabolism in mice, providing theoretical support for future studies on the efficacy of different types of conjugated lipids, intending to apply them to industrial production and subsequent development of related products. Full article
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12 pages, 2592 KiB  
Article
Use of Refractance Window Drying as an Alternative Method for Processing the Microalga Spirulina platensis
by Neiton C. Silva, Luis V. D. Freitas, Thaise C. Silva, Claudio R. Duarte and Marcos A. S. Barrozo
Molecules 2023, 28(2), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28020720 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1727
Abstract
Microalgae such as Spirulina platensis have recently attracted the interest of the pharmaceutical, nutritional and food industries due to their high levels of proteins and bioactive compounds. In this study, we investigated the use of refractance window (RW) drying as an alternative technology [...] Read more.
Microalgae such as Spirulina platensis have recently attracted the interest of the pharmaceutical, nutritional and food industries due to their high levels of proteins and bioactive compounds. In this study, we investigated the use of refractance window (RW) drying as an alternative technology for processing the microalga Spirulina biomass aiming at its dehydration. In addition, we also analyzed the effects of operating variables (i.e., time and temperature) on the quality of the final product, expressed by the content of bioactive compounds (i.e., total phenolics, total flavonoids, and phycocyanin). The results showed that RW drying can generate a dehydrated product with a moisture content lower than 10.0%, minimal visual changes, and reduced process time. The content of bioactive compounds after RW drying was found to be satisfactory, with some of them close to those observed in the fresh microalga. The best results for total phenolic (TPC) and total flavonoids (TFC) content were obtained at temperatures of around 70 °C and processing times around 4.5 h. The phycocyanin content was negatively influenced by higher temperatures (higher than 80 °C) and high exposing drying times (higher than 4.5 h) due to its thermosensibility properties. The use of refractance window drying proved to be an interesting methodology for the processing and conservation of Spirulina platensis, as well as an important alternative to the industrial processing of this biomass. Full article
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15 pages, 3610 KiB  
Article
Purification, Characterization and Bioactivities of Polysaccharides Extracted from Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.)
by Qiongqiong Wang, Shiqi Liu, Long Xu, Bin Du and Lijun Song
Molecules 2023, 28(2), 596; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28020596 - 06 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1302
Abstract
Polysaccharides are the main bioactive components in safflower. In this study, safflower polysaccharides (SPs) were extracted by ultrasonic assisted extraction, and four purified safflower polysaccharide fractions (named SSP1, SSP2, SSP3, and SSP4, respectively) were obtained. The physicochemical properties and in vitro physiological activities [...] Read more.
Polysaccharides are the main bioactive components in safflower. In this study, safflower polysaccharides (SPs) were extracted by ultrasonic assisted extraction, and four purified safflower polysaccharide fractions (named SSP1, SSP2, SSP3, and SSP4, respectively) were obtained. The physicochemical properties and in vitro physiological activities of the four fractions were investigated. The molecular weights (MW) of the SSPs were 38.03 kDa, 43.17 kDa, 54.49 kDa, and 76.92 kDa, respectively. Glucuronic acid, galactose acid, glucose, galactose, and arabinose were the main monosaccharides. The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) indicated that the polysaccharides had α- and β-glycosidic bonds. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis showed that SSP1 had 6 different types of glycosidic bonds, while SSP3 had 8 different types. SSP3 exhibited relatively higher ABTS+ scavenging activity, Fe+3-reduction activity, and antiproliferative activity. The results will offer a theoretical framework for the use of SPs in the industry of functional foods and medications. Full article
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19 pages, 3596 KiB  
Article
Structural Characterization and Hypoglycemic Function of Polysaccharides from Cordyceps cicadae
by Yani Wang, Tingting Zeng, Hang Li, Yidi Wang, Junhui Wang and Huaibo Yuan
Molecules 2023, 28(2), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28020526 - 05 Jan 2023
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1806
Abstract
The polysaccharides isolated and purified from different parts of the medicinal fungus Cordyceps cicadae were identified, and three extracts displaying significant biological activities were selected for further study. The bacterium substance polysaccharides (BSP), spore powder polysaccharides (SPP), and pure powder polysaccharides (PPP) were [...] Read more.
The polysaccharides isolated and purified from different parts of the medicinal fungus Cordyceps cicadae were identified, and three extracts displaying significant biological activities were selected for further study. The bacterium substance polysaccharides (BSP), spore powder polysaccharides (SPP), and pure powder polysaccharides (PPP) were separated, purified, and collected from the sclerotia, spores, and fruiting bodies of Cordyceps cicadae, respectively. The structures of Cordyceps cicadae polysaccharides were analyzed using gas chromatography, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, methylation analysis, and one-dimensional (1H and 13C) nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Moreover, the hypoglycemic effect of Cordyceps cicadae polysaccharides was examined in both in vitro and in vivo models. BSP, SPP, and PPP significantly increased glucose absorption in HepG2 cells, and alleviated insulin resistance (IR) in the in vitro model. SPP was the most effective, and was therefore selected for further study of its hypoglycemic effect in vivo. SPP effectively improved body weight and glucose and lipid metabolism in type 2 diabetes model mice, in addition to exerting a protective effect on liver injury. SPP regulated the mRNA expression of key PI3K/Akt genes involved in the insulin signaling pathway. The hypoglycemic mechanism of SPP may reduce hepatic insulin resistance by activating the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway. Spore powder polysaccharides (SPP) extracted from Cordyceps cicadae effectively improved body weight and glucose and lipid metabolism in type 2 diabetes model mice, in addition to exerting a protective effect on liver injury. The mechanism underlying the hypoglycemic effect of SPP regulates the mRNA expression of key PI3K/Akt genes involved in the insulin signaling pathway to alleviate insulin resistance. Our results provide a theoretical basis for research into the hypoglycemic effect of Cordyceps cicadae, and lay the foundation for the development of functional products. Full article
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14 pages, 1706 KiB  
Article
Interactions between Mannosylerythritol Lipid-A and Heat-Induced Soy Glycinin Aggregates: Physical and Chemical Characteristics, Functional Properties, and Structural Effects
by Siyu Liu, Tianyu Wei, Hongyun Lu, Xiayu Liu, Ying Shi and Qihe Chen
Molecules 2022, 27(21), 7393; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27217393 - 31 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1183
Abstract
Protein-surfactant interactions have a significant influence on food functionality, which has attracted increasing attention. Herein, the effect of glycolipid mannosylerythritol lipid-A (MEL-A) on the heat-induced soy glycinin (11S) aggregates was investigated by measuring the structure, binding properties, interfacial behaviors, and emulsification characteristics of [...] Read more.
Protein-surfactant interactions have a significant influence on food functionality, which has attracted increasing attention. Herein, the effect of glycolipid mannosylerythritol lipid-A (MEL-A) on the heat-induced soy glycinin (11S) aggregates was investigated by measuring the structure, binding properties, interfacial behaviors, and emulsification characteristics of the aggregates. The results showed that MEL-A led to a decrease in the surface tension, viscoelasticity, and foaming ability of the 11S aggregates. In addition, MEL-A with a concentration above critical micelle concentration (CMC) reduced the random aggregation of 11S protein after heat treatment, thus facilitating the formation of self-assembling core-shell particles composed of a core of 11S aggregates covered by MEL-A shells. Infrared spectroscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, and isothermal titration calorimetry also confirmed that the interaction forces between MEL-A and 11S were driven by hydrophobic interactions between the exposed hydrophobic groups of the protein and the fatty acid chains or acetyl groups of MEL-A, as well as the hydrogen bonding between mannosyl-D-erythritol groups of MEL-A and amino acids of 11S. The findings of this study indicated that such molecular interactions are responsible for the change in surface behavior and the enhancement of foaming stability and emulsifying property of 11S aggregates upon heat treatment. Full article
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12 pages, 1292 KiB  
Article
Application of Curcumin Emulsion Carrier from Ultrasonic-Assisted Prepared Octenyl Succinic Anhydride Rice Starch
by Yuxue Zheng, Huiling Zhang, Xiaobo Wei, Haitian Fang and Jinhu Tian
Molecules 2022, 27(20), 6955; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27206955 - 17 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1157
Abstract
The emulsification of ultrasonic-assisted prepared octenyl succinic anhydride (OSA) rice starch on curcumin was investigated in the present study. The results indicated that the encapsulation efficiency of curcumin in emulsions stabilized by OSA-ultrasonic treatment rice starch was improved, from 81.65 ± 0.14% to [...] Read more.
The emulsification of ultrasonic-assisted prepared octenyl succinic anhydride (OSA) rice starch on curcumin was investigated in the present study. The results indicated that the encapsulation efficiency of curcumin in emulsions stabilized by OSA-ultrasonic treatment rice starch was improved, from 81.65 ± 0.14% to 89.03 ± 0.09%. During the in vitro oral digestion, the particle size and Zeta potential of the curcumin emulsion did not change significantly (p > 0.05). During the in vitro digestive stage of the stomach and small intestine, the particle size of the curcumin emulsion continued to increase, and the absolute potential continued to decrease. Our work showed that OSA-pre-treatment ultrasonic rice starch could improve curcumin bioavailability by increasing the encapsulation efficiency with stronger stability to avoid the attack of enzymes and high intensity ion, providing a way to develop new emulsion-based delivery systems for bioactive lipophilic compounds using OSA starch. Full article
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9 pages, 1735 KiB  
Article
Sulforaphane Regulates eNOS Activation and NO Production via Src-Mediated PI3K/Akt Signaling in Human Endothelial EA.hy926 Cells
by Ying Zhang, Pham Ngoc Khoi, Bangrong Cai, Dhiraj Kumar Sah and Young-Do Jung
Molecules 2022, 27(17), 5422; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27175422 - 24 Aug 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1876
Abstract
Sulforaphane (SFN) is a naturally occurring isothiocyanate that is abundant in many cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, and it has been observed to exert numerous biological activities. In the present study, we investigate the effect of SFN on eNOS, a key [...] Read more.
Sulforaphane (SFN) is a naturally occurring isothiocyanate that is abundant in many cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, and it has been observed to exert numerous biological activities. In the present study, we investigate the effect of SFN on eNOS, a key regulatory enzyme of vascular homeostasis and underlying intracellular pathways, in human endothelial EA.hy926 cells. The results indicate that SFN treatment significantly increases NO production and eNOS phosphorylation in a time- and dose-dependent fashion and also augments Akt phosphorylation in a time- and dose-dependent manner. Meanwhile, pretreatment with LY294002 (a specific PI3K inhibitor) suppresses the phosphorylation of eNOS and NO production. Furthermore, SFN time- and dose-dependently induces the phosphorylation of Src kinase, a further upstream regulator of PI3K, while PP2 pretreatment (a specific Src inhibitor) eliminates the increase in phosphorylated Akt, eNOS and the production of NO derived from eNOS. Overall, the present study uncovers a novel effect of SFN to stimulate eNOS activity in EA.hy926 cells by regulating NO bioavailability. These findings provide clear evidence that SFN regulates eNOS activity and NO bioavailability, suggesting a promising therapeutic candidate to prevent endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. Full article
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9 pages, 658 KiB  
Article
Phytochemicals and Antioxidant Capacities of Young Citrus Fruits Cultivated in China
by Haitian Fang, Huiling Zhang, Xiaobo Wei, Xingqian Ye and Jinhu Tian
Molecules 2022, 27(16), 5185; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27165185 - 15 Aug 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1492
Abstract
Fruits of six varieties of young citrus cultivated in China were collected for phytochemical composition analysis and antioxidant activity determination. The phenolic acids, synephrine, flavone, and flavanone were analyzed using HPLC, and the total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity were determined by Folin-Ciocalteu, [...] Read more.
Fruits of six varieties of young citrus cultivated in China were collected for phytochemical composition analysis and antioxidant activity determination. The phenolic acids, synephrine, flavone, and flavanone were analyzed using HPLC, and the total phenolic content and antioxidant capacity were determined by Folin-Ciocalteu, Ferric ion reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), 2,2- 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), and 2,2′-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid (ABTS) analysis. The results indicated that Ougan variety had the highest total phenolic content (125.18 GAE mg/g DW), followed by the Huyou variety (107.33 mg/g DW), while Wanshuwenzhoumigan variety had the lowest (35.91 mg/g DW). Ferulic acid was the most dominant soluble phenolic acid in the selected young citrus, followed by p-coumaric acid and p-hydroxybenzoic acid, whereas nobiletin and tangeretin were the most abundant flavones in the Ponkan, Ougan, and Wanshuwenzhoumigan varieties. Antioxidant capacity that measured by ABTS, FRAP, and DPPH showed similar trends and was positively correlated with the total phenolic and total flavonoid contents (p < 0.05). Considering the high content of phenolics in the young fruits of Ougan and Huyou variety, those two varieties might be potential resources for extracting phytochemicals for health promotion. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

20 pages, 3926 KiB  
Review
Updates on Plant-Based Protein Products as an Alternative to Animal Protein: Technology, Properties, and Their Health Benefits
by Xiao Xiao, Peng-Ren Zou, Fei Hu, Wen Zhu and Zhao-Jun Wei
Molecules 2023, 28(10), 4016; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28104016 - 11 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4856
Abstract
Plant-based protein products, represented by “plant meat”, are gaining more and more popularity as an alternative to animal proteins. In the present review, we aimed to update the current status of research and industrial growth of plant-based protein products, including plant-based meat, plant-based [...] Read more.
Plant-based protein products, represented by “plant meat”, are gaining more and more popularity as an alternative to animal proteins. In the present review, we aimed to update the current status of research and industrial growth of plant-based protein products, including plant-based meat, plant-based eggs, plant-based dairy products, and plant-based protein emulsion foods. Moreover, the common processing technology of plant-based protein products and its principles, as well as the emerging strategies, are given equal importance. The knowledge gap between the use of plant proteins and animal proteins is also described, such as poor functional properties, insufficient texture, low protein biomass, allergens, and off-flavors, etc. Furthermore, the nutritional and health benefits of plant-based protein products are highlighted. Lately, researchers are committed to exploring novel plant protein resources and high-quality proteins with enhanced properties through the latest scientific and technological interventions, including physical, chemical, enzyme, fermentation, germination, and protein interaction technology. Full article
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18 pages, 1479 KiB  
Review
Anthocyanins in Plant Food: Current Status, Genetic Modification, and Future Perspectives
by Peiyu Zhang and Hongliang Zhu
Molecules 2023, 28(2), 866; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28020866 - 15 Jan 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2346
Abstract
Anthocyanins are naturally occurring polyphenolic pigments that give food varied colors. Because of their high antioxidant activities, the consumption of anthocyanins has been associated with the benefit of preventing various chronic diseases. However, due to natural evolution or human selection, anthocyanins are found [...] Read more.
Anthocyanins are naturally occurring polyphenolic pigments that give food varied colors. Because of their high antioxidant activities, the consumption of anthocyanins has been associated with the benefit of preventing various chronic diseases. However, due to natural evolution or human selection, anthocyanins are found only in certain species. Additionally, the insufficient levels of anthocyanins in the most common foods also limit the optimal benefits. To solve this problem, considerable work has been done on germplasm improvement of common species using novel gene editing or transgenic techniques. This review summarized the recent advances in the molecular mechanism of anthocyanin biosynthesis and focused on the progress in using the CRISPR/Cas gene editing or multigene overexpression methods to improve plant food anthocyanins content. In response to the concerns of genome modified food, the future trends in developing anthocyanin-enriched plant food by using novel transgene or marker-free genome modified technologies are discussed. We hope to provide new insights and ideas for better using natural products like anthocyanins to promote human health. Full article
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23 pages, 2882 KiB  
Review
Oral Cell-Targeted Delivery Systems Constructed of Edible Materials: Advantages and Challenges
by Xiaolong Li, Zihao Wei and Changhu Xue
Molecules 2022, 27(22), 7991; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27227991 - 17 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1571
Abstract
Cell-targeted delivery is an advanced strategy which can effectively solve health problems. However, the presence of synthetic materials in delivery systems may trigger side effects. Therefore, it is necessary to develop cell-targeted delivery systems with excellent biosafety. Edible materials not only exhibit biosafety, [...] Read more.
Cell-targeted delivery is an advanced strategy which can effectively solve health problems. However, the presence of synthetic materials in delivery systems may trigger side effects. Therefore, it is necessary to develop cell-targeted delivery systems with excellent biosafety. Edible materials not only exhibit biosafety, but also can be used to construct cell-targeted delivery systems such as ligands, carriers, and nutraceuticals. Moreover, oral administration is the appropriate route for cell-targeted delivery systems constructed of edible materials (CDSEMs), which is the same as the pattern of food intake, resulting in good patient compliance. In this review, relevant studies of oral CDSEMs are collected to summarize the construction method, action mechanism, and health impact. The gastrointestinal stability of delivery systems can be improved by anti-digestible materials. The design of the surface structure, shape, and size of carrier is beneficial to overcoming the mucosal barrier. Additionally, some edible materials show dual functions of a ligand and carrier, which is conductive to simplifying the design of CDSEMs. This review can provide a better understanding and prospect for oral CDSEMs and promote their application in the health field. Full article
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19 pages, 2603 KiB  
Review
Antioxidant Properties of Hemp Proteins: From Functional Food to Phytotherapy and Beyond
by Jiejia Zhang, Jason Griffin, Yonghui Li, Donghai Wang and Weiqun Wang
Molecules 2022, 27(22), 7924; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27227924 - 16 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2356
Abstract
As one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans, hemp used to be banned in the United States but returned as a legal crop in 2018. Since then, the United States has become the leading hemp producer in the world. Currently, hemp attracts [...] Read more.
As one of the oldest plants cultivated by humans, hemp used to be banned in the United States but returned as a legal crop in 2018. Since then, the United States has become the leading hemp producer in the world. Currently, hemp attracts increasing attention from consumers and scientists as hemp products provide a wide spectrum of potential functions. Particularly, bioactive peptides derived from hemp proteins have been proven to be strong antioxidants, which is an extremely hot research topic in recent years. However, some controversial disputes and unknown issues are still underway to be explored and verified in the aspects of technique, methodology, characteristic, mechanism, application, caution, etc. Therefore, this review focusing on the antioxidant properties of hemp proteins is necessary to discuss the multiple critical issues, including in vitro structure-modifying techniques and antioxidant assays, structure-activity relationships of antioxidant peptides, pre-clinical studies on hemp proteins and pathogenesis-related molecular mechanisms, usage and potential hazard, and novel advanced techniques involving bioinformatics methodology (QSAR, PPI, GO, KEGG), proteomic analysis, and genomics analysis, etc. Taken together, the antioxidant potential of hemp proteins may provide both functional food benefits and phytotherapy efficacy to human health. Full article
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