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Title: Application of a functional mathematical index (FMI) for predicting effects of the composition of jujube fruit on nutritional quality and health

item FINOTTI, ENRICO - National Council Of Agricultural Research (CRA)
item BERSANI, ENRICO - University Of Rome Sapienza
item DEL PRETE, ERNESTO - The National Institute For Insurance Against Accidents At Work (INAIL)
item Friedman, Mendel

Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/22/2015
Publication Date: 4/30/2015
Publication URL:
Citation: Finotti, E., Bersani, E., Del Prete, E., Friedman, M. 2015. Application of a functional mathematical index (FMI) for predicting effects of the composition of jujube fruit on nutritional quality and health. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 42:164-170. doi: 10.1016/j.jfca.2015.03.003.

Interpretive Summary: The jujube fruit is widely cultivated from China to Southwest Europe, India and the Middle East. Fresh, processed, and dried jujube fruit is used as a medical food, mostly in fresh form or as dried dates and confectionary recipes. Jujube fruit and seed extracts and pure compounds are reported to exhibit numerous beneficial, health-promoting effects. The results of the present study suggest that based on the calculated functional mathematical index values, it is possible to predict both beneficial nutritional and health-promoting effects as well as possible adverse effects of jujube fruit harvested at different stages of maturity and in different commercial cultivars in terms of the content of essential amino acids and bioactive compounds, antioxidative effects, and bioactivities against human cancer cells. Animal and human studies are needed to confirm in vivo the predicted qualities of the jujube fruit. Because jujube fruit seems to be an excellent functional food widely consumed for about 2,000 years, US farmers should consider growing jujube fruit as a new cash crop.

Technical Abstract: In the present study, we extend the concept of a Functional Mathematical Index (FMI) for the assessment and prediction of food quality and safety of jujube fruit, a medicinal food widely consumed in Asian countries. In this study the index has been applied to one field-grown jujube fruit harvested at eight stages of maturity and three commercial Korean jujube cultivars. The index allows quantitative evaluation of nutritional, health-promoting, and safety aspects based on reported essential amino acid and phenolic content and antioxidative and cancer-cell-inhibiting activities of the test substances. For example, the FMI values for the antioxidative capacities ranged from 0.36 to 0.87 and for the inhibition normal and cancer cells from 0.35 to 0.86, suggesting that consumers have a choice of selecting growth (maturity) stages of jujube fruit with optimum beneficial properties. The use of specific performance FMI values seems to be a better tool for predicting relative beneficial and adverse effects than prediction on the basis of concentrations of the nutritional and bioactive compounds. The FMI approach, that numerically scores compositional, nutritional, and health-related aspects of food, complements but does not replace standard statistical analysis of the original compositional analytical data from which this value is derived. The method can be used to detect critical points during growth and processing of food that make it possible to optimize nutritional and health benefits.