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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Dairy and Functional Foods Research » Research » Research Project #427200

Research Project: Microstructured and Health-Functionalized Food Proteins (Bridge Project)

Location: Dairy and Functional Foods Research

2016 Annual Report

Develop functionalized healthy food protein ingredients using micro-texturing and microstructuring processes such as microparticulation, micro-shear, and extrusion texturization processes for producing texture-induced or enhanced physical modifications with ex/in vivo functionality. Develop protein-based food models with enhanced nutrients using functionalized healthy food protein ingredients developed by improving structure-function interactions of food matrices using the encapsulatory properties of functionalized healthy protein. Develop plant cell wall polysaccharide-based bioplastic composites with tailor-designed thermal, mechanical and biological properties for active packaging, construction and automotive materials. Convert plant cell wall polysaccharides into biomedical materials for tissue regeneration, cosmetic personal care products, carriers of bioactive substances for the colon-specific delivery and to produce synbiotics (probiotic + prebiotic). a. Develop regeneration medicine and drug delivery biomedical products b. Develop skin-care biomedical products

Advance our work on texturization of whey proteins, transitioning into functionalizing proteins for delivering maximal nutrient levels for improved health functions. This project on microstructured and health-functional food proteins will create new food protein-based structures boosted with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients using shear texturization and microparticulation techniques. The nutrient-enriched products will be used for protected-delivery of micronutrients aimed at conveying health-enhancing functions such as increased satiety and appetite control, helping to alleviate obesity. The outcome of these efforts will be new functionalized structured products with specific nutrient delivery functions that boost the quality of processed foods, delivering health and wellness, thereby making processed foods more wholesome.

Progress Report
Research continued on developing polysaccharide-based bioplastic composites with tailored properties for use in light-weight bearing materials. Poly(butylene adipate-co-terephthalate) (PBAT), an aliphatic–aromatic copolyester, is fully biodegradable and has good mechanical ductility. PBAT was grafted with maleic anhydride (MA) by radical polymerization. The resultant PBAT-g-MA was then blended with seedless sunflower head residues using a twin-screw extruder followed by injection molding. The copolymers produced from this reaction demonstrated all the necessary characteristics of thermoplastics required for use as light-weight-bearing materials (Objective 1a). In comparison to conventional plastic PBAT, the cost of production is expected to be lower due to the inclusion of sunflower head residue biomass. Fibrous mats incorporated with antioxidant reagents were developed that protect against the oxidation of corn oil (Objective 1a). Tannic acid, a natural antioxidant extracted from plants, was fabricated into fibers and fibrous mats of micron or nanosizes by using guar gum, starch, and PVA as carrier polymers in the process of electrospinning. The probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG) were encapsulated in a core-shell-coat microcapsule, using sodium alginate and carboxymethyl chitosan (CM-chitosan) as the shell material and zein as the coating material. This novel structure was proven effective in protection of encapsulated cells, with LGG retaining activity after storage at 4 C for up to 75 days (from 9 log CFU/g reduced to 7.5 log CFU/g). The results of this research provide a key step to bringing the technology of using plant cell wall polysaccharides as biomedical materials for the colon-specific delivery of bioactives (Objective 1a) from the bench to market. Research on the synthesis of boronate derivatives of methylene cyclopropane as plant growth hormone analogs has continued. Two new compounds of Bis-naphthalen-1-yl-(2-methylene cyclopropyl)-borane and Bis-phenanthren-9-yl-(2-methylene cyclopropyl)-borane were synthesized. When tested in an open environment for the release of 1-methylcyclopropene using tomato as a model fruit, both compounds were successful in delaying the ripening process. Preliminary research for the project plan entitled “In Vitro Human Intestinal Microbial Ecosystem: Effects of Diet” was initiated. The Twin-SHIME (TM) apparatus was installed in-house, and after assembly was used in experiments to establish a stable gut microbial ecosystem. The information gathered from these runs have been used to generate a much clearer plan for future research. Modifications to the Twin-SHIME system were performed to improve its efficiency. These included the installation of a waste disposal system, the addition of vapor traps to the nitrogen lines, and replacement of the standard plastic lids with new stainless steel alloy reactor lids that better maintain the anaerobic conditions of the system. A method for assembling the mucin carriers to place into the system was developed and implemented, as well as a standard system for harvesting both luminal and mucosal samples.

1. The effects of antioxidants on the human gut bacteria. Consumption of polyphenol antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables has been linked to a reduction of gastrointestinal cancers possibly because of beneficial interactions between the ingested polyphenols and the colon bacteria, or gut microbiota. In order to determine how polyphenols interact with the gut microbiota, ARS researchers in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, first examined the effects of the polyphenols, quercetin and naringenin, on the growth of three different human gut bacteria and a representative probiotic bacteria. The interactions between each of the polyphenols and the respective gut and probiotic bacteria were then measured using the technique known as single molecule RNA sequencing which created genetic expression profiles documenting each interaction. It was shown for the first time that even though growth of the gut bacteria and the probiotic may be similar in the presence of either antioxidant, the manner in which the antioxidant affected each of the bacteria was unique. This research provides new insights on the interactions between different food components in the diet and the gut microbiota.


Review Publications
Tomasula, P.M., Sousa, A., Liu, S., Li, R., Bonnaillie, L., Liu, L.S. 2016. Short communication: Electrospinning of casein/pullulan blends for food-grade applications. Journal of Dairy Science. 99(3):1837-1845. DOI: 10.3168/jds.2015-10374.
Sarker, M.I., Liu, L.S., Fan, X. 2015. Boron derivatives as a source of 1-MCP with gradual release. Scientia Horticulturae. 188:36-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.scienta.2015.03.017
Sarker, M.I., Tomasula, P.M., Liu, L.S. 2015. 1-MCP Releasing complex for open-field application. Journal of Plant Studies. 5(1):1-10. DOI: 10.5539/jps.v5n1p1.
Sousa, A., Souza, H., Uknalis, J., Liu, S., Goncalves, M., Liu, L.S. 2015. Electrospinning of agar/PVA aqueous solutions and its relation with rheological properties. Carbohydrate Polymers. 115:348-355. DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.08.074.
Li, R., Zhang, Y., Polk, D., Tomasula, P.M., Yan, F., Liu, L.S. 2016. Preserving viability of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG in vitro and in vivo by a new encapsulation system. Controlled Release Journal. 230:79-87. DOI: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2016.04.009.
Liu, S., Li, R., Tomasula, P.M., Sousa, A., Liu, L.S. 2016. Electrospun food-grade ultrafine fibers from pectin and pullulan blends. Food and Nutrition Sciences. doi:10.4236/fns.2016.77065.
Liu, L.S., Firrman, J., Argoty, G.A., Tomasula, P.M., Kobori, M., Zhang, L., Xiao, W. 2016. Genetic expression profile analysis of the temporal inhibition of quercetin and naringenin on Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG. Journal of Probiotics & Health. 4:139. doi: 10.4172/2329-8901.1000139.