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Study of the bioaccessibility of essential and toxic inorganic elements in plant-based yogurt

Grant number: 22/07015-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2022
Effective date (End): February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Food Science and Technology - Food Science
Principal researcher:Marcelo Antonio Morgano
Grantee:Ana Paula Rebellato
Home Institution: Instituto de Tecnologia de Alimentos (ITAL). Agência Paulista de Tecnologia dos Agronegócios (APTA). Secretaria de Agricultura e Abastecimento (São Paulo - Estado). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/50349-0 - Plan of institutional development in research of the Institute of Food Technology - ITAL (PDIp), AP.PDIP

Abstract

The Plant-Based (PB) food market is a growing trend, both in developed and developing countries. The consumers of these products (vegetarians, vegans, flexitarians, the population in general) have searched for more plant-based food options, due sustainability, health, ethical reasons, animal protection, among others; thus food companies have invested in the development of new plant products. The search for alternatives to products of animal origin has made consumers prefer foods that, besides tasty, can meet nutritional needs and still have bioactive and functional properties, such as the presence of fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and essential inorganic elements, considered as health promoters. However, non-essential inorganic elements may be present and contain potential toxic effects when ingested and absorbed by the body. Among plant-based products, plant milk is the most consumed, but other PB products are commercialized, such as yogurt. The challenge related to these new foods is that in general, they have lower nutritional value when compared to products of animal origin, especially in terms of protein and mineral content, so they are usually fortified to contain an increase in nutritional quality. It is expected that PB products will carry some of the nutrients from the raw materials (cereals, legumes, oilseeds, fruits, among others) that gave them origin. However, not only can nutrients be maintained, toxic elements can also remain present in the final product. In Brazil, there is still no regulation that defines the quality parameters of PB products; what we have are a few studies, discussion groups, implementation of ISO 23662, and the Public Consultation (n° 327/2021) that was published on June 11, 2021. In this context, the evaluation of the composition of essential elements such as calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, copper, and toxic elements such as arsenic, cadmium, and lead in plant-based yogurts is relevant to the scientific community and consumers of this products. In the literature, there are studies on food contamination with different toxic elements. Usually, cultivars are contaminated by soil, water or atmosphere, or they can be contaminated in their production chain. Thus, in order to verify the quality and ensure the food safety of plant-based products, we will evaluate the content of elements considered essential and toxic to the human body in plant-based yogurt samples (coconut, soybean, almond, and rice) and compare it to yogurt of animal origin, using ICP OES and ICP-MS. In addition, we will study the bioaccessibility of these elements by simulating in vitro digestion (Infogest) and estimate how much of these minerals may be available for absorption. With this, scientific data will be generated for the understanding of the composition of inorganic elements in plant-based yogurt, comparison with its analogues of animal origin, in addition to contributing with relevant nutritional information and the possible potential risks to the health of the population by toxic elements. (AU)

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