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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Functional Foods Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The long term goal of this project is to develop natural, functional, phytochemical-based products from agricultural crop production and processing co-products. These new products will have application as food, feed, bio-based controls and in soil remediation. Over the next five years we will focus on the following specific objectives: Objective 1: Evaluate and characterize bioactive compounds in co-products and waste products from oil seed processing, corn ethanol production, new or alternate crop production, seeds and plant biomass for new value-added bio-based control and remediation agronomic products; Objective 2: Evaluate and characterize bioactive compounds in co-products and waste products from oil seed processing, corn ethanol production, new or alternate crop production, seeds and plant biomass for use as new health enhancing foods and food additives and for new health enhancing cosmetic products.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Rapid and efficient methods will be developed to characterize phytochemicals from crude and processed agricultural products and co-products, and used to develop new products from current agricultural crops and developing new and alternative crops. The production of biofuels and agricultural food products generates a variety of co-products (carbon dioxide, sugars, fibers, corn dried distillers grain; glycerol; seed press cakes) and other less valuable residues. Redirecting these wastes to more profitable, higher value uses would benefit both the producers and processors. Characterized phytochemicals will be evaluated in plants and plant products from established crops and new crops, as well as in products from biofuel crops, such as oil fractions, oil seed press cakes and dried distillers grains. This research will be used to develop accurate analytical methodology and rapid non-destructive spectrophotometric analytical methods to rapidly assess the levels of specific phytochemicals in seeds, tissues and processed products. New phytochemical-based products from crops grown on marginal crop lands will be examined for sources of commercial products. This research will be used to develop new agricultural pest control products for bacterial, fungus, insects, nematodes and weeds; chemical feed stocks for industrial processes; and to enhance the use of existing or develop new functional foods for improved health in humans and animals. Our research will target those activities that improve the practical use of by-products by creating new uses and markets for these products. This research will result in defining the roles for phytochemicals and develop new/enhanced functional products and foods.

3. Progress Report
The goals of this research project are to utilize current phytochemical analytical methodology to characterize, purify, and evaluate biologically and chemically active phytochemicals in a wide range of agricultural products and coproducts, new crops, and alternative crops to develop: A) green new or alternative functional food ingredients to promote health in humans and animals; and B) environmentally friendly pest/disease control products for home and agriculture use. This research supports the development of nonfood, nonfuel biobased products from agricultural commodities and byproducts. Current work is impacting the ethanol fuel production from corn by developing new uses for corn co-products, the use of soy phytochemicals for chronic disease prevention, the development of camelina, and field pennycress as new crops. New uses for both corn and soy co-products, such as saponins, corn tassels, dried distillers grains, bran, and new uses for crops grown on marginal or non-cultivated lands. We are addressing the need to develop new products for glycerol, which is a byproduct of the biodiesel industry. We have developed new techniques to rapidly produce copolyester glycerides utilizing citric acid and glycerol blends. We are currently evaluating the structural nature, mechanical properties, and biodegradability of these polymers. Other avenues of glycerol utilization may lie in the horticultural and greenhouse food production field. We are evaluating the use of glycerol as a growth regulator to enhance the growth of plants under indoor conditions. Preliminary work has shown that glycerol applications have merit in increasing biomass production of several different species. We developed enhanced methods to purify gram quantities of saponins from soy and other species assessing the biological activity of saponins in the prevention of the development of chronic diseases in humans. We developed methods to identify, quantitate, and purify gram quantities of intact glucosinolates from crucifer species to prepare products for evaluation in pest control, industrial antioxidants, and in human disease prevention. We examined coproducts from the processing of new and existing oil seed crops including camelina, lesquerella, cuphea, field penny cress, and coriander. The press cake/seed meal co products have useful phytochemicals and/or physical properties for alternative agricultural practices. We evaluated the chemical and biological activity of compounds in corn processing, dry milling, and ethanol fermentation co products and new functional agricultural and oil stabilizing products were found. Preliminary work has shown potent pesticidal activity against weedy species and nutrient enrichment to the soil. Alternate woody crops, especially those species with high growth rates and coppicing properties grown marginal or conserved land, were examined for biologically active phytochemicals and pest control properties. Methods were developed to enhance propagation and production of new alternative outdoor products.

4. Accomplishments

Review Publications
Eller, F.J., Cermak, S.C., Taylor, S.L. 2011. Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction of cuphea seed oil. Industrial Crops and Products. 33:554-557.

Berhow, M.A., Vermillion, K., Jham, G.N., Tisserat, B., Vaughn, S.F. 2010. Purification of a sinapine-glucoraphanin salt from broccoli seeds. American Journal of Plant Sciences. 1:113-118.

Fallen, B.D., Pantalone, V.R., Sams, C.E., Kopsell, D.A., Vaughn, S.F., Moser, B.R. 2011. Effect of soybean oil fatty acid composition and selenium application on biodiesel properties. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. 88:1019-1028.

Puangpraphant, S., Berhow, M.A., de Mejia, E.G. 2011. Mate (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hilaire) saponins induce caspase-3-dependent apoptosis in human colon cancer cells in vitro. Food Chemistry. 125:1171-1178.

Vaughn, S.F., Deppe, N.A., Palmquist, D.E., Berhow, M.A. 2011. Extracted sweet corn tassels as a renewable alternative to peat in greenhouse substrates. Industrial Crops and Products. 33:514-517.

Vaughn, S.F., Berhow, M.A., Moser, J.K., Lee, E. 2011. Formulation of a biodegradable, odor-reducing cat litter from solvent-extracted corn dried distillers grain. Industrial Crops and Products. 34:999-1002.

Tisserat, B., Berhow, M.A., Vaughn, S.F. 2010. Elevated carbon dioxide levels enhance rosmarinic acid production in spearmint plantlets. In: Gupta, V.K., Verma, A.K., Koul, S., editors. Utilisation and Management of Medicinal Plants. New Delhi: Daya Publishing House. p. 124-135.

Eller, F.J., Clausen, A., Green, F., Taylor, S.L. 2010. Critical fluid extraction of Juniperus virginiana L. and bioactivity of extracts against subterranean termites and wood-rot fungi. Industrial Crops and Products. 32:481-485.

Vermillion, K., Berhow, M.A., Holgiun, F.O., Richins, R.D., Redhouse, T., O'Connell, M.A., Posakony, J., Kelly, S., Simon, J.A. 2011. Dinoxin B, a novel withanolide from Datura innoxia leaf with specific anti-cancer activities. Journal of Natural Products. 74:267-271.

Dowd, P.F., Berhow, M.A., Johnson, E.T. 2011. Differential activity of multiple saponins against omnivorous insects with varying feeding preferences. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 37(5):443-449.

Moser, B.R., Eller, F.J., Tisserat, B., Gravett, A. 2011. Preparation of fatty acid methyl esters from Osage orange (Maclura pomifera) oil and evaluation as biodiesel. Energy and Fuels. 25:1869-1877.

Wille, J.J., Berhow, M.A. 2011. Bioactives derived from ripe corn tassels: a possible new natural skin whitener, 4-hydroxy-1-oxindole-3-acetic acid. Current Bioactive Compounds. 7:126-134.

Oliveira, R.D.L., Dhingra, O.D., Lima, A.O., Jham, G.N., Berhow, M.A., Holloway, R.K., Vaughn, S.F. 2010. Glucosinolate content and nematicidal activity of Brazilian wild mustard tissues against Meloidogyne incognita in tomato. Plant Soil. 341:155-164.

Last Modified: 10/15/2017
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