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Design and synthesis of selenium organic compounds on the production of biofortified foods

Grant number: 17/08728-4
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: February 01, 2018 - October 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:Gizele Celante
Grantee:Gizele Celante
Host Company:Selenolife Pesquisa em Selenio p/ Vida Ltda
CNAE: Pesquisa e desenvolvimento experimental em ciências físicas e naturais
City: São Paulo
Associated researchers:Alcindo Aparecido dos Santos ; Guilherme Lopes ; Josimar Henrique de Lima Lessa ; Luiz Roberto Guimarães Guilherme ; Marcio Henrique Zaim ; Maria Catarina Megumi Kasuya ; Pedro Vitoriano de Oliveira
Associated scholarship(s):18/05739-8 - Speciation of selenium in plants submitted to Selenium-fertilization, BP.TT
18/00891-6 - Design and synthesis of selenium organic compounds on the production of biofortified foods, BP.PIPE


The demand for food to ensure the needs of human consumption is increasing and that of functional foods is gaining increasing importance nowadays in the world. This project deals with the development of new selenium-containing compounds that will be investigated for their ability to act as fertilizers (for plants - rice, bean, soybean and fungi) and micronutrients (animals and humans) for the production of selenium-biofortified foods. The new compounds will be incorporated into the human and animal food chain either by direct ingestion (Se-biofortified food or feed) or by their use in the formulation of agricultural fertilizers to accumulate in the final food product/crops (e.g. rice, mushrooms, beans, soybean). This proposal is raised on the fact that the absorption and incorporation of selenium, in biological organisms, occurs by sulfur metabolic pathways substituting the sulfur atom on the synthesis of sulfur-containing peptides in the synthesis of selenoenzymes. The seleno-amino acids, involved in this process, are selenocysteine and selenomethionine. The natural selenium precursors, available in nature, or employed in industrial manufacturing processes, are inorganic (Na2SeO3 or Na2SeO4). One of the processes used in the preparation of these seleno-amino acids, from these salts, is assisted by yeasts, leading to selenized yeasts and this is the main and most efficient industrial process of converting "inorganic selenium" into "organic selenium". Although this process is routinely and commercially important, it suffers from some weaknesses and the main one is related to the toxicity of the inorganic source of selenium to the microorganism responsible for the biotransformation, leading to low conversions and reproducibility. Our proposal aims to offer organic sources of selenium, in substitution or complement to the current processes, to produce Se-biofortified foods by agricultural fertilization and animal nutrition that, ultimately, will enter the human diet. The mission of our company is the development of new sources of organic selenides for its better incorporation in the organism. SelenoLife, Selenium for life! (AU)

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