Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Chinese yam (Dioscorea): Nutritional value, beneficial effects, and food and pharmaceutical applications

Trends Food Sci. Technol. 134, 29-40 (2023)

Currently, balanced diet and healthy foods are attracting increasing attention due to their great health-beneficial effects. The tuber of Dioscorea (yam) is both edible and medicinal, as it contains various functional compounds with multiple pharmacological activities and disease targets. Moreover, yam tuber can serve as a vegetable or staple food due to its high starch content. Therefore, exploring the functional activities of yam tuber and its application in food and medicine industries is significant.

Scope and approach
This review comprehensively summarizes the characteristics and application of yam tuber, as well as the findings about its primary nutrients, distinct functional components, extraction technologies, detection methods and biological activities, and provides some new prospects for further investigation. Besides, the development and comprehensive utilization of yam tuber products are elucidated. Finally, some future research directions for better utilization of yam tubers are suggested.

Key findings and conclusions
The Dioscorea genus is distributed worldwide with a wide variety of species. Yam tuber is rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds, such as starch, protein, non-starch polysaccharides, steroid saponin, allantoin, and phenolic compounds. The most important health benefits include antioxidant activity, anti-inflammatory activity, gastrointestinal protection, gut microbiota regulation, cardiac diseases treatment, hypoglycemic activity, anti-tumor activity, and estrogen-like effect. We also summarize the applications of yam tuber in foods and medicine. Finally, the review indicates that better utilization of yam tuber is hindered by poor variety protection, limited research on its pharmacological activities, browning phenomenon, and some safety concerns.

Monday, 27 February 2023

Green preparation of bract extract (Musa acuminate) doped magnesium oxide nanoparticles and their bioefficacy

App. Org. Chem. 37 (5), e7063 (2023)

Magnesium oxide nanoparticles (MgONPs) synthesized by efficient green approach have unique physiochemical properties. In this study, MgONPs are synthesized with bract extract of Musa acuminate, an agro waste. The surface plasmon resonance at 450 nm in UV spectrum and FTIR peaks at 601 and 890 cm−1 confirmed the presence of MgONPs. XRD pattern revealed high crystallinity of the nanoparticles with an intense orientation peak at 111, and the size was 13 nm. The particles were spherical with an average size of 24.85 nm. The elemental percentage of magnesium and oxygen were 68.55% and 31.45%. MgONPs had antibacterial activity against Bacillus subtilis, Escherichia coli, Vibrio harveyi, Vibrio parahemolyticus, and Staphylococcus aureus with MIC, 6 μg/mL. The IC50 value for MCF-7 cell was 113.56 μg/mL, and the normal cell line was 785.69 μg/mL. The NPs also exhibited hemolytic features in a dose-dependent manner. The MgONPs exhibited photocatalytic degradation of methyl violet, CBB G-250, and malachite green in 60 min duration. MgONPs had promising antibacterial, cytotoxic, hemolytic, photocatalytic, and seed germination activity. They have the potential to serve as an additive in a variety of biological applications.

Sunday, 26 February 2023

Bioactive Compounds of Verbascum sinuatum L.: Health Benefits and Potential as New Ingredients for Industrial Applications

Biomolecules 2023, 13(3), 427

Verbascum sinuatum (V. sinuatum) is a plant belonging to the Scrophulariaceae family that has been used as an ingredient in traditional medicine infusions for the treatment of many diseases. The aerial part of this plant is a source of bioactive compounds, especially polyphenols and iridoids. Moreover, antioxidant activity studies have shown that V. sinuatum phenolic and flavonoid composition is higher than those in other plants of the same genus. V. sinuatum bioactive compound composition could vary according to the harvesting location, growing conditions of the plants, sample preparation methods, type and concentration of the extraction solvent, and the extraction methods. The obtention of these compounds can be achieved by different extraction techniques, most commonly, maceration, heat assisted extraction, and infusion. Nevertheless, since conventional extraction techniques have several drawbacks such as long times of extraction or use of large amounts of solvents, the use of green extraction techniques is suggested, without affecting the efficiency of the extraction. Moreover, V. sinuatum bioactive compounds have several biological activities, such as antioxidant, anticancer, cardiovascular, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, and neuroprotective activities, that may be increased by encapsulation. Since the bioactive compounds extracted from V. sinuatum present good potential as functional food ingredients and in the development of drugs or cosmetics, this review gives an approach of the possible incorporation of these compounds in the food and pharmacological industries.

Saturday, 25 February 2023

A visual bi-layer sensor based on Agar/TiO2/butterfly bean flower anthocyanin/κ-carrageenan with photostability for monitoring Penaeus chinensis freshness

 Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 235, 123706 (2023)

Visual indicator bi-layer films were manufactured incorporating κ-carrageenan, butterfly pea flower anthocyanin, varying Nano‑titanium dioxide (TiO2) content and agar for Penaeus chinensis (Chinese white shrimp) freshness detection. The κ-carrageenan-anthocyanin (CA) layer served as indicator, while the TiO2-agar (TA) layer functioned as the protective layer to improve the photostability of film. The bi-layer structure was characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The TA2-CA film had the best tensile strength with a value of 17.8 MPa and the lowest water vapor permeability (WVP) value of bi-layer films was 2.98 × 10−7 g.m−1.h−1.pa−1. The bi-layer film protected anthocyanin against exudation when immersed in aqueous solution of varying pH. The TiO2 particles filled the pores of the protective layer, increasing the opacity from 1.61 up to 4.49 significantly improving the photostability with a consequent slight color change under illumination of UV/visible light. Under UV irradiation, the TA2-CA film had no significant color change with a ΔE value of 4.23. Finally, the TA2-CA films showed an obvious color change from blue to yellow green in the early stages of Penaeus chinensis putrefaction (≤48 h) then the color change and Penaeus chinensis freshness were well correlated (R2 = 0.8739).

Wednesday, 22 February 2023

Plant Alkaloids: Production, Extraction, and Potential Therapeutic Properties

 Natural Secondary Metabolites. Springer, Cham. (2023)

Alkaloids are a type of secondary metabolites that can be found in different parts of plants. This group of compounds is diverse and can be divided into nine subgroups: pyridine, tropane, isoquinoline, phenanthrene, phenylethylamine, indole, purine, imidazole, and terpenoids. Most of these compounds are recognized for their anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activities, among others. Although more than 27,000 alkaloids have been described up to date, the search for novel compounds with promising therapeutic properties is a hot topic among researchers worldwide. In this line, the production of the currently marketed plant alkaloids including extraction methods, isolation, and purification is reviewed in this chapter. In addition, a deep description of different groups of alkaloids in terms of their chemical structure, plant source, and uses is also presented. Recent advances in the therapeutic potential and biological activities of this vast group of phytochemicals are also included.

Sulfur-Containing Compounds from Plants

Natural Secondary Metabolites. Springer, Cham. (2023)

Sulfur (S) is an essential nutrient assimilated through the diet and incorporated into organic structures such as amino acids, coenzymes, and other bioactive compounds. Plants’ ability to regulate stress resistance via secondary metabolism has extended the interest in S-containing compounds, driven by their additional properties as bioactive molecules. Among plant families that produce S-compounds, the Brassicaceae, which includes broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, and the Liliaceae family, which includes garlic and onion, stand out. In recent years, the research has been focused on S-containing amino acids (mainly methionine and cysteine) and glucosinolates (GSLs) and their hydrolysis products like isothiocyanates but also in other S-containing compounds such as phytoalexins or cysteine sulfoxides. GSLs are becoming more popular because of their specific biological properties, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, or antimicrobial, among others. Accordingly, a diet rich in vegetables containing S-containing compounds has been associated with a lower risk of developing cancer, neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular diseases, several skin disorders, and obesity. Hence, S-metabolites can therefore be used as therapeutic and preventative components in functional foods and nutraceuticals, as well as cosmeceutical products. This chapter aims to revise the most important features related to sulfur metabolism and S-containing compounds from plant sources, with emphasis on their involvement in secondary metabolism, natural sources, structural classification, biological functions, and applications in human nutrition and health.

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

Health-Promoting Properties and Potential Application in the Food Industry of Citrus medica L. and Citrus × clementina Hort. Ex Tan. Essential Oils and Their Main Constituents

 Plants 2023, 12(5), 991

Citrus is an important genus in the Rutaceae family, with high medicinal and economic value, and includes important crops such as lemons, orange, grapefruits, limes, etc. The Citrus species is rich sources of carbohydrates, vitamins, dietary fibre, and phytochemicals, mainly including limonoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and carotenoids. Citrus essential oils (EOs) consist of several biologically active compounds mainly belonging to the monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes classes. These compounds have demonstrated several health-promoting properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Citrus EOs are obtained mainly from peels, but also from leaves and flowers, and are widely used as flavouring ingredients in food, cosmetics, and pharmaceutical products. This review focused on the composition and biological properties of the EOs of Citrus medica L. and Citrus clementina Hort. Ex Tan and their main constituents, limonene, γ-terpinene, myrcene, linalool, and sabinene. The potential applications in the food industry have been also described.

Monday, 20 February 2023

Research advance of non-thermal processing technologies on ovalbumin properties: The gelation, foaming, emulsification, allergenicity, immunoregulation and its delivery system application

 Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nut. 2023

Ovalbumin (OVA) is the most abundant protein in egg white, with excellent functional properties (e.g., gelling, foaming, emulsifying properties). Nevertheless, OVA has strong allergenicity, which is usually mediated by specific IgE thus results in gut microbiota dysbiosis and causes atopic dermatitis, asthma, and other inflammation actions. Processing technologies and the interactions with other active ingredients can influence the functional properties and allergic epitopes of OVA. This review focuses on the non-thermal processing technologies effects on the functional properties and allergenicity of OVA. Moreover, the research advance about immunomodulatory mechanisms of OVA-mediated food allergy and the role of gut microbiota in OVA allergy was summarized. Finally, the interactions between OVA and active ingredients (such as polyphenols and polysaccharides) and OVA-based delivery systems construction are summarized. Compared with traditional thermal processing technologies, novel non-thermal processing techniques have less damage to OVA nutritional value, which also improve OVA properties. OVA can interact with various active ingredients by covalent and non-covalent interactions during processing, which can alter the structure or allergic epitopes to affect OVA/active components properties. The interactions can promote OVA-based delivery systems construction, such as emulsions, hydrogels, microencapsulation, nanoparticles to encapsulate bioactive components and monitor freshness for improving foods quality and safety.

Sunday, 19 February 2023

Dietary Protective Potential of Fucoxanthin as an Active Food Component on Neurological Disorders

 J. Agric. Food Chem. 2023, 71, 8, 3599–3619

The prevalence of neurodegenerative, cerebrovascular, and psychiatric diseases and other neurological disorders has increased dramatically worldwide. Fucoxanthin is an algal pigment with many biological functions, and there is rising evidence that fucoxanthin plays a preventive and therapeutic role in neurological disorders. This review focuses on the metabolism, bioavailability, and blood–brain barrier penetration of fucoxanthin. Furthermore, the neuroprotective potential of fucoxanthin in neurodegenerative diseases, cerebrovascular diseases, and psychiatric diseases as well as other neurological disorders such as epilepsy, neuropathic pain, and brain tumors by acting on multiple targets will be summarized. The multiple targets include regulating apoptosis, reducing oxidative stress, activating the autophagy pathway, inhibiting Aβ aggregation, improving dopamine secretion, reducing α-synuclein aggregation, attenuating neuroinflammation, modulating gut microbiota, and activating brain-derived neurotrophic factor, etc. Additionally, we look forward to brain-targeted oral transport systems due to the low bioavailability and blood–brain barrier permeability of fucoxanthin. We also propose exploring the systemic mechanisms of fucoxanthin metabolism and transport through the gut–brain process and envision new therapeutic targets for fucoxanthin to act on the central nervous system. Finally, we propose dietary fucoxanthin delivery interventions to achieve preventive effects on neurological disorders. This review provides a reference for the application of fucoxanthin in the neural field.

Saturday, 18 February 2023

The roles of exogenous ATP in postharvest fruit and vegetable: A systematic meta-analysis

 Postharvest Biology and Technology (2023) 199, 112305

Extracellular ATP (eATP) as an essential biological substance can trigger a series of physiological activities in postharvest fruit and vegetable during storage. We performed a systematic meta-analysis to elucidate better the multiple roles of exogenous ATP on the quality maintenance of postharvest fruit and vegetable during storage using a standard mean difference (SMD) with a 95% confidence interval (CI) and a random-effects model. This study determined 25 major indices of physiological activities of postharvest fruit and vegetable according to inclusion criteria. In forest plots, ATP application retarded the senescence (SMD −3.69, 95% CI [−5.32, −2.06]; I2 =100%; p = 0), maintained the nutritive quality (SMD 3.78, 95% CI [1.96, −5.63]; I2 = 100%; p = 0), contributed to high energy charge (SMD 1.99, 95% CI [−0.67, 4.66]; I2 = 100%; p = 0), attenuated membrane oxidant damage (SMD −4.08, 95% CI [−5.98, −2.18]; I2 = 100%; p = 0), and enhanced the antioxidant capacity (SMD 4.37, 95% CI [2.58, 6.15]; I2 = 100%; p = 0) of postharvest fruit and vegetable during storage. In conclusion, the results shed insights into the positive role of exogenous ATP in maintaining the quality of postharvest fruit and vegetable during storage via these physiological activities.

Thursday, 16 February 2023

Recent Advances in Nano-Enabled Seed Treatment Strategies for Sustainable Agriculture: Challenges, Risk Assessment, and Future Perspectives

  Nano-Micro Letters, 15, 54 (2023)

Agro seeds are vulnerable to environmental stressors, adversely affecting seed vigor, crop growth, and crop productivity. Different agrochemical-based seed treatments enhance seed germination, but they can also cause damage to the environment; therefore, sustainable technologies such as nano-based agrochemicals are urgently needed. Nanoagrochemicals can reduce the dose-dependent toxicity of seed treatment, thereby improving seed viability and ensuring the controlled release of nanoagrochemical active ingredients However, the applications of nanoagrochemicals to plants in the field raise concerns about nanomaterial safety, exposure levels, and toxicological implications to the environment and human health. In the present comprehensive review, the development, scope, challenges, and risk assessments of nanoagrochemicals on seed treatment are discussed. Moreover, the implementation obstacles for nanoagrochemicals use in seed treatments, their commercialization potential, and the need for policy regulations to assess possible risks are also discussed. Based on our knowledge, this is the first time that we have presented legendary literature to readers in order to help them gain a deeper understanding of upcoming nanotechnologies that may enable the development of future generation seed treatment agrochemical formulations, their scope, and potential risks associated with seed treatment.

Wednesday, 15 February 2023

Arctium lappa (Burdock): Insights from ethnopharmacology potential, chemical constituents, clinical studies, pharmacological utility and nanomedicine

 Biomed. Pharm. 158, 114104, 2023

Arctium lappa L. is a medicinal edible homologous plant, commonly known as burdock or bardana, which belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is widely distributed throughout Northern Asia, Europe, and North America and has been utilized for hundreds of years. The roots, fruits, seeds, and leaves of A. lappa have been extensively used in traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). A. lappa has attracted a great deal of attention due to its possession of highly recognized bioactive metabolites with significant therapeutic potential. Numerous pharmacological effects have been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo by A. lappa and its bioactive metabolites, including antimicrobial, anti-obesity, antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-allergic, antiviral, gastroprotective, hepatoprotective, and neuroprotective activities. Additionally, A. lappa has demonstrated considerable clinical efficacies and valuable applications in nanomedicine. Collectively, this review covers the properties of A. lappa and its bioactive metabolites, ethnopharmacology aspects, pharmacological effects, clinical trials, and applications in the field of nanomedicine. Hence, a significant attention should be paid to clinical trials and industrial applications of this plant with particular emphasis, on drug discovery and nanotechnology.

Wednesday, 8 February 2023

Hypoglycaemic effect of total alkaloids extracted from Sambucus wightiana Wall. ex Wight & Arn. in streptozotocin-nicotinamide induced diabetic rats

 South African J Bot. 154, 330-355, 2023

Diabetes mellitus is the most prevalent metabolic disease, and almost 1200 plants are reported with hypoglycaemic potential. Some of these plants are scientifically proven for the hypoglycaemic and antidiabetic effects. This study was designed to assess the hypoglycaemic effect of Sambucus wightiana Wall. ex Wight & Arn. extract in streptozotocin-nicotinamide induced diabetic Wistar Albino rats. An acute toxicity study was performed to establish the safe dose of total alkaloids extracted from S. wightiana (TASW). TASW was administered orally (50 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg/kg body weight per day) to diabetic rats for 21 days. Fasting blood glucose level was determined, along with other associated parameters that may fluctuate in diabetes, consisting of the lipid profile, body weight, serum liver marker enzymes and Hb level. The test groups that were administered TASW at three different doses showed a marked reduction in hyperglycaemia when compared to the control group. Moreover, body weight and food intake improved among test group animals. Administration of TASW also reduced the levels of triglycerides, cholesterol and LDL while increasing HDL and Hb levels. Serum liver enzyme activity is generally increased in diabetes, and this was reduced after dosing with TASW. The findings of this study elucidate that the total alkaloids extracted from S. wightiana are not toxic at the tested doses, and present potential hypoglycaemic activity.

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Increasing the shelf life of fresh in-hull pistachio using nanocomposite packaging of zinc nanoparticles and pistachio green hull essential oil

 Sci. Hort. 313, 111888, 2023

Fresh in-hull pistachio is one of the highly consumed but perishable forms of pistachio and can still be contaminated by aflatoxin-producing fungi. In this study, the packaging film prepared from an electrospun nanofibers was evaluated in order to increase the shelf life of raw pistachios. For this purpose, PVC and zinc nanoparticles combined with pistachio green hull essential oil (PGHEO) were used as the matrix and reinforcing phase of the composite, respectively. According to the results, monoterpenes such as α-pinene and limonene constitute more than 90% of PGHEO. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of the essential oil ranged from 62.5 to 500 μg/mL which were more effective against Aspergillus flavus, a mycotoxigenic fungus affecting pistachio safety and quality, than other studied fungi. According to FE-SEM images, fibers were formed on film surfaces with diameters ranging from 89 nm to 295 nm. EDX spectra revealed some characteristic peaks for zinc indicating the existence of ZnO nanoparticles on the top surface of the composite. The prepared nanocomposite indicated the antifungal activity against Candida albicans, Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus with the growth inhibition percentage approximately 16.20, 9.60 and 2.88%, respectively. Finally, raw pistachios could be stored for 60 days in packaging made of nanocomposite, so that the amounts of aflatoxin B1 and B2 were lower than the allowed maximum level (< 12 ppb). It seems that the packaging used in this study can be a suitable solution to increase the shelf life of raw pistachios and reduce the waste caused by its spoilage.

Monday, 6 February 2023

La importancia de la acuicultura en la dieta saludable

La intervención de J. Simal-Gándara en el XXIII Foroacui está disponible en YouTube, si deseas ver dicha conferencia titulada "La importancia de la acuicultura en la dieta saludable" está disponible en este enlace

Edible insects: Tendency or necessity

 eFood, 4(1), e58 (2023)

Eating insects has been a widespread habit in many cultures for many years. Edible insects represent an innovative food source with many advantages that will help the problem of protein and energy shortages created by the rapid growth of the world population. Using insects as food can increase the economy and help protect the environment and the human survival. Their nutritional value is excellent, since according to many studies insects have high protein content, high concentrations of various essential amino acids, a well-balanced fatty acid profile, with a high content of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fatty acids and many minerals, trace elements, and vitamins. However, there are several risks in the use of edible insects, which need to be researched more extensively. Main goals are to spread knowledge and change the process of obtaining edible insects in better and safer ways. So that the edible insect food industry can develop on a solid basis, through the expansion of the composition of the insects already used and the future legalization of new species of edible insects as well as the establishment of additional legislative frameworks for the breeding, development, processing, storage, and safety of these innovative new foods.

Sunday, 5 February 2023

An intrinsic dual-emitting fluorescence sensing toward tetracycline with self-calibration model based on luminescent lanthanide-functionalized metal-organic frameworks

 Food Chem. 400, 13395, 2023

A novel ratiometric fluorescence sensor based on lanthanide-functionalized metal-organic frameworks (Ag+/Eu3+@UiO-66(COOH)2, AEUC) with intrinsic dual-emitting bands was fabricated to determine tetracycline (TC) residues by exploiting (UiO-66-(COOH)2, UC) as reference units, Eu3+as recognition units and Ag+ as fluorescence enhancer. Benefiting from specific binding sites and functional adsorbent channels of AEUC, efficient capture and specific recognize toward TC could be achieved, remarkably enhancing the reliability. The synergistic effect of inner filter effect (IFE) and photoinduced electron transfer (PET) process between TC and AEUC was verified, enabling the detection limit and quantification limit of established strategy reaching as 12.8 nmol/L and 38.6 nmol/L and conspicuous fluorescence color gradation from red to blue. Given its portability, point-of-care sensing platform and nanoprobe-immobilized test-paper-based measurement allowing for on-site qualitative identification and semi-quantitative assay of TC was devised for sensing visualization and has been successfully applied in foodstuff samples, providing prospect in the field of smart devices for visual monitoring of TC.

Saturday, 4 February 2023

Improved colonic inflammation by nervonic acid via inhibition of NF-κB signaling pathway of DSS-induced colitis mice

 Phytomed. 154702, 2023

Nervonic acid (C24:1∆15, 24:1 ω-9, cis-tetracos-15-enoic acid; NA), a long-chain monounsaturated fatty acid, plays an essential role in prevention of metabolic diseases, and immune regulation, and has anti-inflammatory properties. As a chronic, immune-mediated inflammatory disease, ulcerative colitis (UC) can affect the large intestine. The influences of NA on UC are largely unknown.

The present study aimed to decipher the anti-UC effect of NA in the mouse colitis model. Specifically, we wanted to explore whether NA can regulate the levels of inflammatory factors in RAW264.7 cells and mouse colitis model.

To address the above issues, the RAW264.7 cell inflammation model was established by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), then the inflammatory factors tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), Interleukin-6 (IL-6), Interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and Interleukin-10 (IL-10) were detected by Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The therapeutic effects of NA for UC were evaluated using C57BL/6 mice gavaged dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). Hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining, Myeloperoxidase (MPO) kit assay, ELISA, immunofluorescence assay, and LC-MS/MS were used to assess histological changes, MPO levels, inflammatory factors release, expression and distribution of intestinal tight junction (TJ) protein ZO-1, and metabolic pathways, respectively. The levels of proteins involved in the nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) pathway in the UC were investigated by western blotting and RT-qPCR.

In vitro experiments verified that NA could reduce inflammatory response and inhibit the activation of key signal pathways associated with inflammation in LPS-induced RAW264.7 cells. Further, results from the mouse colitis model suggested that NA could restore intestinal barrier function and suppress NF-κB signal pathways to ameliorate DSS-induced colitis. In addition, untargeted metabolomics analysis of NA protection against UC found that NA protected mice from colitis by regulating citrate cycle, amino acid metabolism, pyrimidine and purine metabolism.

These results suggested that NA could ameliorate the secretion of inflammatory factors, suppress the NF-κB signaling pathway, and protect the integrity of colon tissue, thereby having a novel role in prevention or treatment therapy for UC. This work for the first time indicated that NA might be a potential functional food ingredient for preventing and treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Friday, 3 February 2023

Metabolic profiling of Ochradenus baccatus Delile. utilizing UHPLC-HRESIMS in relation to the in vitro biological investigations

 Food Chem. 412, 135587, 2023

Ochradenus baccatus Delile (Resedaceae) is a desert plant with edible fruits native to the Middle East. Few investigators have reported antibacterial, antiparasitic and anti-cancer activities of the plant. Herein we evaluated the cytotoxic activity of O. baccatus using four cell lines and a zebrafish embryo model. Additionally, liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectroscopy was performed to characterize the extract’s main constituents. The highest cytotoxicity was observed against human cervical adenocarcinoma (HeLa), with CC50 of 39.1 µg/mL and a selectivity index (SI) of 7.23 (p < 0.01). Metabolic analysis of the extract resulted in the annotation of 57 metabolites, including fatty acids, flavonoids, glucosinolates, nitrile glycosides, in addition to organic acids. The extract showed an abundance of hydroxylated fatty acids (16 peaks). Further, 3 nitrile glycosides have been identified for the first time in Ochradenus sp., in addition to 2 glucosinolates. These identified phytochemicals may partially explain the cytotoxic activity of the extract. We propose O. baccatus as a possible safe food source for further utilization to partially contribute to the increasing food demand specially in Saharan countries.

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Mechanistic insights of Cucumis melo L. seeds for gastrointestinal muscle spasms through calcium signaling pathway–related gene regulation networks in WGCNA and in vitro, in vivo studies

Comp. Biol. Med. 106596, 2023

In addition to the nutritional benefits of Cucumis melo L., herbalists in Pakistan and India employ seeds to treat various ailments. This study aimed to determine the regulatory role of C. melo seeds in calcium-mediated smooth muscle contraction.

We identified and quantified the phytochemicals of C. melo with LC ESI–MS/MS and HPLC, then conducted in vitro and in vivo tests to confirm the involvement in smooth muscle relaxation. Then, diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome gene datasets from NCBI GEO were acquired, DEGs and WGCNA followed by functional enrichment analysis. Next, molecular docking of key genes was performed.

The quantification of C. melo seeds revealed concentrations of rutin, kaempferol, and quercetin were 702.38 μg/g, 686.29 μg/g, and 658.41 μg/g, respectively. In vitro experiments revealed that C. melo seeds had a dose-dependent relaxant effect for potassium chloride (80 mM)–induced spastic contraction and exhibited calcium antagonistic response in calcium dose-response curves. In in vivo studies, Cm.EtOH exhibited antidiarrheal, antiperistaltic, and antisecretory effects. The functional enrichment of WGCNA and DEGs IBS-associated pathogenic genes, including those involved in calcium-mediated signaling, MAPK cascade, and inflammatory responses. MAPK1 and PIK3CG were identified as key genes with greater binding affinity with rutin, quercitrin, and kaempferol in molecular docking.

The bronchodilator and antidiarrheal effects of C. melo were produced by altering the regulatory genes of calcium-mediated smooth contraction.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

A review of recent innovative strategies for controlling mycotoxins in foods

 Food Control, 144, 109350, 2023

Mycotoxin contamination of foods from mycotoxigenic fungi such as Aspergillus, Alternaria, Fusarium and Penicillium spp. is a significant threat to food safety and quality. Aflatoxins, ochratoxins, fumonisins, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, trichothecenes and patulin have been demonstrated to show immune toxicity, carcinogenicity, nephrotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, neurotoxicity and teratogenicity activities in humans and animals. Implementation of the prerequisite programs like the HACCP-based procedures can reduce mycotoxin contamination, while conventional chemical, biological and physical methods can be employed for detoxification after contamination. But the increasing fungal resistance and challenges associated with the conventional systems necessitate the development of innovative strategies for rapid elimination with short processing time and negligible impact on quality. This review evaluated recent innovative strategies of cold atmospheric plasma (CAP), polyphenols and flavonoids, magnetic materials and nanoparticles and natural essential oils (NEOs) for controlling mycotoxin in foods. Although the available studies indicated the promising potential of these strategies, complete decontamination was not achieved. The mechanisms for the reduced bioactivity of mycotoxins included the disruption of fungal cell membrane and structural degradation of complex biochemical molecules by the oxidative effects of reactive species, inhibition of enzymes responsible for breakdown of carbohydrates and adsorption and binding of functional groups of mycotoxins in food substrate. Integrated management systems of combining multiple strategies can be explored for achieving higher efficiency and better adaptability to different food matrices. Additional studies on the toxicity of the food matrices, degraded products and industrial up-scaling are necessary for ensuring widespread adoption and cost-effective commercialisation for sustainable food processing.