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Evaluation of analytical procedures for the determination of total and bioaccessible contents of nutrients and toxic elements in functional flours


The growing concern with healthcare and the increase in the health expenses have been changing the population's consumption profile and creating an increasing demand for foodstuffs and drinks with lesser processing, plant-based raw materials and products free from gluten, lactose, pesticides, transgenics and additives. In this sense, functional foods have gained notoriety, because in addition to basic nutritional qualities, they can improve health, well-being and reduce the risk of diseases. Functional flours based on cereals, grains, vegetables and fruits stand out as important ingredients for replacing traditional flours or to compose mixed flours, which many of them may be produced from processing by-products, thus reducing the wastage and increasing the food supply. This research project proposes the physical-chemical characterization of functional flour samples to determine parameters such as granulometry, color, moisture, grease acidity and the contents of ash, protein, carbohydrate and fat. It is also intended to develop sample preparation procedures involving microwave-assisted decomposition using diluted acids in order to determine total levels and in vitro methodologies to simulate the gastrointestinal processes aiming the determination of bioaccessible contents. Nutrient and contaminant elements will be determined by plasma-based techniques such as ICP OES ICP-MS. This study should focus mainly on cereal, grain, seed, fruit and vegetable-based functional flours. The obtained results for chemical compositions and the physical-chemical parameters will be correlated through the application of chemometric tools. (AU)

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