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Exploring fruit by-products and whey for the design of innovative foods with increased content of vitamins produced by lactic acid bacteria (Acronym: VITALAB)

Grant number: 18/12190-2
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: March 01, 2021 - February 29, 2024
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Food Science and Technology - Food Science
Cooperation agreement: Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany
Principal researcher:Susana Marta Isay Saad
Grantee:Susana Marta Isay Saad
Principal researcher abroad: Michael Rychlik
Institution abroad: Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Bernadette Dora Gombossy de Melo Franco

Abstract

Vitamins are micronutrients essential to normal growth and health maintenance. Vitamin deficiencies are common throughout the world due to inadequate food intakes caused by social/economic/psychological reasons and malnutrition. Food fortification with chemical forms of vitamins is an alternative, but these programs are controversial and not universally adopted. Certain chemical forms can cause adverse side effects which do not occur with the natural forms of the vitamins, which is the case for folic acid, that masks other vitamins deficiencies and alter the activity of essential liver enzymes. Natural folates, found in foods or produced by certain lactic acid bacteria do not cause these problems, making them ideal candidates for the development of new products destined for populations that do not have adequate vitamin intakes. On the other side, food waste worldwide is a cause for serious concerns, but discarded foods or food industrial residues can be used as rich sources of nutrients for growing microorganisms with beneficial properties to human health, such as production of vitamins, among many other bioactive compounds. Brazil is a country known by its rich biodiversity, which can be perceived in the huge variety of fruits. Despite advances, post-harvest losses are estimated around 30-45% while whey remains a serious environmental pollutant in the country. The objective of this project is to explore industrial fruit wastes and whey as sources for production of folate by lactic acid bacteria as a strategy for the design of innovative biofortified foods and for reduction of waste. The project will take benefit from the diversity of Brazilian fruits and expertise with vitamin-producing lactic acid bacteria and from the German expertise in folate measurements by non-microbiological methods and use of animal and human models for determination of folate nutritional value. In this project, lactic acid bacteria strains will be isolated from Brazilian foods, characterized and tested for folate production in conventional microbiological culture media, and in whey added of different fruit by-products (peels, seeds, flesh), usually discarded in the environment or used for energy production. Folate production will be tested using microbiological methods and folate-dependent indicator strains, and also stable isotope assays followed by LC-MS/MS analysis. The technological process will be optimized to increase the vitamin content in these products, and the bioavailability of folate in the products will be measured using animal models and human volunteers. The sensorial properties of bio-enriched products will also be evaluated. (AU)

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