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How do Emerging Processing Technologies Affect Nutraceuticals and Functional Food Components?

By: , Posted on: March 29, 2017

Foods contain major and minor components as well as bioactive compounds that are of primary importance for human nutrition. The importance of these compounds accelerated the development of innovations in the food industry, generating the so-called “functional foods” and “nutraceuticals“. Whole foods like fruits and vegetables represent the simplest example of functional foods, as they are rich in bioactive compounds and have a well-established protective role against the development of diseases.

Nutraceuticals represent any substance that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of diseases. Contrarily to functional foods, nutraceuticals are commodities derived from foods used in the medicinal form of pills or capsules. The preparation of foods fortified with functional components requires integration of diverse aspects under evaluation. These include for instance separation techniques, toxicological assessments, stability and activity tests.

On the other hand, processing has an impact on the final food products. Applied technologies may influence the content and effectiveness of nutrients, e.g. loss of bioactive compounds or diminution of their functionality typically increases more and more as foods are processed, stored and transported.

Novel, non-thermal technologies (e.g. ultrasounds, high-hydrostatic pressure, pulsed electric field, high voltage electrical discharge, cold plasma) promise to treat foods without destroying the nutritional components and sensorial characteristics that are normally affected during heat treatment. The latest techniques are today applied in both research institutes and food industries, promising to shorten processing times, control Maillard reactions, improve products’ quality and enhance functionality. The implementation of these technologies together with other trends and practices of the food industry (e.g. nanoencapsulation, food waste recovery, emerging need for innovations etc.) have brought new developments, data and state of the art in the field.

Indeed, this renaissance changed the way that food components are incorporated inside foods and consumed. As a results, food technologists that deal with the development of functional foods and nutraceuticals search for integral information that takes into account:

  1. the effect of thermal and non-thermal processing technologies on food components in spite of their functional properties and preservation ability;
  2. the available and optimized extraction and formulation processes;
  3. the innovative and sustainable applications in foods.

nutraceutical and functional food components

Subsequently, there is a need for a new guide covering the latest developments in the above directions. Nutraceutical and Functional Food Components: Effects of Innovative Processing Techniques aspires to fill in this gap by denoting the impact of recent food industry advances in different parameters of food components (e.g. nutritional value, physical and chemical properties, bioavailability and bioaccessibility characteristics) and final products (e.g. applications, shelf-life during storage, sensory characteristics). This way the reader comes closer to industrial applications.

The book consists of 10 chapters. Chapter 1 (introduction) provides a state of the art in nutrition, prior denoting the current trends of the food industry in spite of functional foods and nutraceuticals development. Detailed definitions of “bioavailability”, “bioaccessibility” and “bioactivity”, and the factors affecting them are provided in order to understand better these key functions. Chapter 2 discusses food proteins, amino acids and peptides in spite of their modifications during processing with emerging technologies.

Chapter 3 denotes the respective effect of innovative technologies on carbohydrate properties, giving special attention to compounds with a chain length up to 9 carbon atoms, inulin, starch and dietary fibre like pectin and β-glucan. Chapter 4 deals with the impact of non-thermal technologies in the bioaccessibility of lipids and their stability against oxidation. Similarly, Chapter 5 focuses on minerals and particularly iron, zinc and calcium that show typically low bioavailability during their consumption. Methodologies to estimate in vivo and in vitro bioaccessibility of minerals, as well as to measure bioavailability in humans are also denoted.

The implementation of emerging technologies to improve the stability and bioaccesibility of vitamins, polyphenols and carotenoids in foods through their metabolism and health-promoting activity are described in Chapters 6, 7 and 8, respectively. Innovative extraction techniques for the recovery of these bioactive compounds from food sources and by-products as well as their effects on functional properties are highlighted, too.

Chapter 9 provides an overview of the main natural and technology-derived food aroma compounds, with a critical focus on the novel extraction methods, delivery strategies and the effects of innovative processing technologies on the acceleration of Maillard reactions. Finally, Chapter 10 deals with the interactions of food compounds (denoted in previous chapters) induced by the application of the non-thermal technologies. Conclusively, the book It could be used as textbook and/or ancillary reading in graduates and post-graduate level courses of food science and technology fields.

Read more articles from Charis Galanakis, Coordinator of Food Waste Recovery Group


Charis M. Galanakis is an interdisciplinary scientist with a fast-expanding work that balances between food and environment, industry, and academia. His research targets mainly the separation and recovery of functional macro- and micromolecules from different food by-products, as well as their implementation as additives in food and other products. He is the research and innovation director of Galanakis Laboratories (Chania, Greece) and the coordinator of Food Waste Recovery Group of ISEKI Food Association (Vienna, Austria).

He serves as an editorial board member and subject editor of Food and Bioproducts Processing and Food Research International, and he has edited 6 books from Academic Press: Food Waste Recovery: Processing Technologies and Industrial Techniques (2015), Innovation Strategies in the Food Industry: Tools for implementation (2016) and Nutraceutical and Functional Food Components: Effects of Innovative Processing Techniques (2017), Olive Mill Waste: Recent advances for the Sustainable Management (2017), Handbook of Grape Processing By-Products: Sustainable Solutions (2017) and Handbook of Coffee Processing By-Products: Sustainable Applications (2017).

See his full portfolio of books here.

Follow Dr. Galanakis via Twitter – @CharisGalanakis, LinkedIn or ResearchGate.

Join the Food Waste Recovery Group on LinkedIn or the Food Waste Recovery Page on Facebook.

Charis’ latest books are available to order on the Elsevier Store. Use discount code STC317 at checkout and save up to 30% on your very own copy!

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