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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Functional Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #308001

Title: Applications and advances in phytochemical compositional analysis

item Berhow, Mark

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/18/2014
Publication Date: 11/19/2014
Citation: Berhow, M.A. 2014. Applications and advances in phytochemical compositional analysis [abstract]. International Conference of FFC-International Symposium of ASFFBC.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The search for new functional foods, environmentally friendly pest control, bio-fuels, and biodegradable consumer products and packaging is the ongoing challenge to 21st century agriculture research, which is being met by the scientists and staff of the USDA Agricultural Research Service. Interest in natural functional ingredients from plants is on the increase along with the demand for more faster, efficient and accurate ways of measuring these compounds. These demands are being met with innovative research using cutting edge instrumentation. This research will be used to develop non-destructive spectrophotometric analytical methods to rapidly assess the levels of specific phytochemicals in seeds, tissues, and processed products. New phytochemical-based product sources from crops grown on marginal crop lands will be examined as sources of commercial products useful for agricultural purposes. This research is focused on the characterization of the phytochemical and chemical components of under utilized agricultural materials, such as weedy species, or processing by-products, such as seed meals from biofuel production, that have potential uses as biological pest controls and/or as food nutriceuticals for the control of the development of chronic disease. Rapid and efficient methods are being developed to characterize phytochemicals from crude and processed agricultural products and co-products and develop new products from current agricultural crops and developing new crops. The production of biofuels and agricultural food products generates a variety of by-products (carbon dioxide, sugars, corn dried distillers grain; glycerol; seed press cakes) and various other less valuable residues. Redirecting these wastes to more profitable, higher value uses would benefit both the producers and processors. Characterized phytochemicals are being evaluated in plants and plant products. We take a variety of whole and processed materials and attempt to take them apart down to their various chemical and phytochemical components. We do this by a process of drying, grinding and extracting to pull out various sets of soluble components for evaluation. These components are separated by a variety chromatography steps with the goal of not only purifying the chemical components for identification, but to obtain sufficient quantity for further biological and chemical evaluation. Ideally, we would like to completely deconstruct agricultural products into its complete chemical profile. To identify these compounds we use mass spectrometry to determine its molecular weight and atomic composition and NMR to fingerprint their chemical structure. Once we have the chemical profile and composition we can determine the biological activity, either through a series of bioassays or using them in pest control evaluations or comparing them to food 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 defined roles for phytochemicals and new/enhanced functional products and foods. We are using these chemicals and phytochemicals to create new products, such as natural insect, bacterial, and fungal pest control products, bio-absorbants, new wood products, new wood treatment products. These compounds also play a role in human nutrition, we are seeking to help build a basic understanding of how these phytochemicals or nutriceuticals play a role in the prevent of chronic disease in humans and animals. By having the purified components of a food or dietary supplemen