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Head of Institute: Prof. Oren Tirosh

Administrative manager: Rakefet Kalev

Office Address:
Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition,
Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 
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Email Address: rakefetk@savion.huji.ac.il

Publications

2020
Roos, Y. H. ; Saguy, I. In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus Marcus (Marc) Karel (1928 - 2019): A Food Science and Food Engineering Pioneer, Exceptional Educator, Mentor, and Friend. JOURNAL OF FOOD SCIENCE EDUCATION 2020, 19, 32-35.
Gillon-Keren, M. ; Kaufman-Shriqui, V. ; Goldsmith, R. ; Safra, C. ; Shai, I. ; Fayman, G. ; Berry, E. ; Tirosh, A. ; Dicker, D. ; Froy, O. ; et al. Development of Criteria for a Positive Front-of-Package Food Labeling: The Israeli Case. NUTRIENTS 2020, 12.Abstract
Efforts to shape the food environment are aimed at reducing diet-related co-morbidities. Front-of-package labeling (FOPL) may support the consumers to make an informed decision at the point of purchase and encourage industry to reformulate food products. The Israeli Ministry of Health (MOH) implemented a unique FOPL system, using two colors: A mandatory warning (red) label alongside a voluntary positive (green) label. An independent Scientific Committee, from academia, the healthcare system, and MOH was appointed to determine the core principles for the positive FOPL. The criteria were based on the Mediterranean diet principles, with adjustments to the Israeli dietary habits, focusing on the health advantages of the food and considering its processing level. The food products eligible for positive FOPL are foods in their natural form or with added spices or herbs, or those that underwent minimal processing, with no food additives. Based on population consumption data, 19.8% of food products were eligible for positive FOPL; of them, 54% were fruits and vegetables, 20% dairy, and 14% grains. An evaluation plan is needed to assess the degree of acceptance of the positive FOPL by the industry, retailers, and the public, and its impact on food consumption and on public health.
Chai, C. ; Cox, B. ; Yaish, D. ; Gross, D. ; Rosenberg, N. ; Amblard, F. ; Shemuelian, Z. ; Gefen, M. ; Korach, A. ; Tirosh, O. ; et al. Agonist of RORA Attenuates Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Progression in Mice via Up-regulation of MicroRNA 122. GASTROENTEROLOGY 2020, 159, 999+.Abstract
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Development of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is associated with reductions in hepatic microRNA122 (MIR122); the RAR related orphan receptor A (RORA) promotes expression of MIR122. Increasing expression of RORA in livers of mice increases expression of MIR122 and reduces lipotoxicity. We investigated the effects of a RORA agonist in mouse models of NASH. METHODS: We screened a chemical library to identify agonists of RORA and tested their effects on a human hepatocellular carcinoma cell line (Huh7). C57BL/6 mice were fed a chow or high-fat diet (HFD) for 4 weeks to induce fatty liver. Mice were given hydrodynamic tail vein injections of a MIR122 antagonist (antagomiR-122) or a control antagomiR once each week for 3 weeks while still on the HFD or chow diet, or intraperitoneal injections of the RORA agonist RS-2982 or vehicle, twice each week for 3 weeks. Livers, gonad white adipose, and skeletal muscle were collected and analyzed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, histology, and immunohistochemistry. A separate group of mice were fed an atherogenic diet, with or without injections of RS-2982 for 3 weeks; livers were analyzed by immunohistochemistry, and plasma was analyzed for levels of aminotransferases. We analyzed data from liver tissues from patients with NASH included in the RNA-sequencing databases GSE33814 and GSE89632. RESULTS: Injection of mice with antagomiR122 significantly reduced levels of MIR122 in plasma, liver, and white adipose tissue; in mice on an HFD, antagomiR-122 injections increased fat droplets and total triglyceride content in liver and reduced b-oxidation and energy expenditure, resulting in significantly more weight gain than in mice given the control microRNA. We identified RS-2982 as an agonist of RORA and found it to increase expression of MIR122 promoter activity in Huh7 cells. In mice fed an HFD or atherogenic diet, injections of RS-2982 increased hepatic levels of MIR122 precursors and reduced hepatic synthesis of triglycerides by reducing expression of biosynthesis enzymes. In these mice, RS 2982 significantly reduced hepatic lipotoxicity, reduced liver fibrosis, increased insulin resistance, and reduced body weightcompared with mice injected with vehicle. Patients who underwent cardiovascular surgery had increased levels of plasma MIR122 compared to its levels before surgery; increased expression of plasma MIR122 was associated with increased levels of plasma free fatty acids and levels of RORA. CONCLUSIONS: We identified the compound RS-2982 as an agonist of RORA that increases expression of MIR122 in cell lines and livers of mice. Mice fed an HFD or atherogenic diet given injections of RS-2982 had reduced hepatic lipotoxicity, liver fibrosis, and body weight compared with mice given the vehicle. Agonists of RORA might be developed for treatment of NASH.
Margulis, E. ; Slavutsky, Y. ; Tromelin, A. ; Benjamini, Y. ; Niv, M. Y. Predicting multi-functionality of bitter taste compounds using computational tools. CHEMICAL SENSES 2020, 45, 138.
Xin, Z. ; Yu, D. ; Yang, B. ; Chen, L. ; Hayouka, Z. ; Chen, X. ; Gong, Y. ; Dai, H. ; Wang, L. ; Zhao, Y. ; et al. Molecular characterization, expression and immune functions of two C-type lectin from Venerupis philippinarum. FISH & SHELLFISH IMMUNOLOGY 2020, 107, 260-268.Abstract
In the present study, two C-type lectins (designated as VpClec-3 and VpClec-4) were identified and characterized from the manila clam Venerupis philippinarum. Multiple alignment and phylogenetic relationship analysis strongly suggested that VpClec-3 and VpClec-4 belong to the C-type lectin family. In nonstimulated clams, the VpClec-3 transcript was dominantly expressed in the hepatopancreas, while the VpClec-4 transcript was mainly expressed in gill tissues. Both VpClec-3 and VpClec-4 mRNA expression was significantly upregulated following Vibrio anguillarum challenge. Recombinant VpClec-4 (rVpClec-4) was shown to bind lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and glucan in vitro, whereas recombinant VpClec-3 (rVpClec-3) only bound to glucan. In addition, rVpClec-3 and rVpClec-4 displayed broad agglutination activities towards Vibrio harveyi, Vibrio splendidus and V. anguillarum, while no agglutination activities towards Enterobacter cloacae or Aeromonas hydrophila were observed in rVpClec-3. Moreover, hemocyte phagocytosis was significantly enhanced by rVpClec-3 and rVpClec-4. All the results showed that VpClecs function as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) with distinct recognition spectra and are potentially involved in the innate immune responses of V. philippinarum.
Ofir, O. ; Buch, A. ; Rouach, V. ; Goldsmith, R. ; Stern, N. ; Monsonego-Ornan, E. Association between abdominal obesity and fragility fractures among elderly Israeli women. AGING CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH 2020, 32, 1459-1467.Abstract

Background

Obesity has been traditionally viewed as a protective factor for fractures. Recent studies have challenged this concept, particularly regarding abdominal obesity. We aimed to investigate the association between abdominal obesity, body mass index (BMI) and fragility fractures prevalence in a sample of community-dwelling elderly Israeli women. Methods The data in this cross-sectional study were based on `Mabat Zahav'-a survey of a nationally representative sample of elderly Israelis. The study population included 669 women. Data on fragility fractures site and circumstances were self-reported, and height, weight, waist and calf circumferences were measured. Waist circumference (WC) variable was divided into tertiles: < 88 cm, 88-99 cm and > 99 cm.

Results

Sixty-five women reported fragility fractures (14 hip fractures, 18 vertebral fractures and 39 wrist fractures). Mean age was 73.9 +/- 5.9 years, mean BMI was 29.9 +/- 5 kg/m(2)and mean WC was 93.9 +/- 12 cm. While BMI was not associated with osteoporotic fractures, abdominal obesity (WC > 88 cm) was positively associated with fragility fractures, independently of age, smoking, physical activity [middle and high WC tertiles \3.15 (95% CI 1.41-7.02), 2.78 (95% CI 1.05-7.31), respectively\].

Conclusions

Among this sample of elderly women, abdominal obesity was positively associated with fragility fractures, independently of age, smoking, physical activity and BMI. Waist circumference, an easily measured anthropometric indicator, may be useful for assessing the risk of fragility fractures in elderly women, particularly among those with normal or high BMI-a vast population which has been traditionally considered as having lower fracture risk.

Zelber-Sagi, S. ; Ivancovsky-Wajcman, D. ; Fliss-Isakov, N. ; Hahn, M. ; Webb, M. ; Shibolet, O. ; Kariv, R. ; Tirosh, O. Serum Malondialdehyde is Associated with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver and Related Liver Damage Differentially in Men and Women. ANTIOXIDANTS 2020, 9.Abstract
{{Background: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and steatohepatitis (NASH) are associated with increased oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, but large studies are lacking. The aim was to test the association of malondialdehyde (MDA), as a marker of oxidative damage of lipids, with NAFLD and liver damage markers, and to test the association between dietary vitamins E and C intake and MDA levels. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among subjects who underwent blood tests including FibroMax for non-invasive assessment of NASH and fibrosis. MDA was evaluated by reaction with Thiobarbituric acid and HPLC-fluorescence detection method. NAFLD was diagnosed by abdominal ultrasound. Findings: MDA measurements were available for 394 subjects. In multivariate analysis, the odds for NAFLD were higher with the rise of MDA levels in a dose-response manner, adjusting for age, gender, BMI, and lifestyle factors. Only among men, higher serum MDA was associated of higher odds for NAFLD and NASH and/or fibrosis (OR = 2.59, 95% CI 1.33-5.07
Milenkovic, D. ; Declerck, K. ; Guttman, Y. ; Kerem, Z. ; Claude, S. ; Weseler, A. R. ; Bast, A. ; Schroeter, H. ; Morand, C. ; Vanden Berghe, W. (-)-Epicatechin metabolites promote vascular health through epigenetic reprogramming of endothelial-immune cell signaling and reversing systemic low-grade inflammation. BIOCHEMICAL PHARMACOLOGY 2020, 173.Abstract
Ingestion of (-)-epicatechin flavanols reverses endothelial dysfunction by increasing flow mediated dilation and by reducing vascular inflammation and oxidative stress, monocyte-endothelial cell adhesion and transendothelial monocyte migration in vitro and in vivo. This involves multiple changes in gene expression and epigenetic DNA methylation by poorly understood mechanisms. By in silico docking and molecular modeling we demonstrate favorable binding of different glucuronidated, sulfated or methylated (-)-epicatechin metabolites to different DNA methyltransferases (DNMT1/DNMT3A). In favor of this model, genome-wide DNA methylation profiling of endothelial cells treated with TNF and different (-)-epicatechin metabolites revealed specific DNA methylation changes in gene networks controlling cell adhesion-extravasation endothelial hyperpermeability as well as gamma-aminobutyric acid, renin-angiotensin and nitric oxide hypertension pathways. Remarkably, blood epigenetic profiles of an 8 weeks intervention with monomeric and oligomeric flavanols (MOF) including (-)-epicatechin in male smokers revealed individual epigenetic gene changes targeting similar pathways as the in vitro exposure experiments in endothelial cells. Furthermore, epigenetic changes following MOF diet intervention oppose atherosclerosis associated epigenetic changes. In line with biological data, the individual epigenetic response to a MOF diet is associated with different vascular health parameters (glutathione peroxidase 1 and endothelin-1 expression, acetylcholine-mediated microvascular response), in part involving systemic shifts in blood immune cell types which reduce the neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR). Altogether, our study suggests that different (-)-epicatechin metabolites promote vascular health in part via epigenetic reprogramming of endothelial-immune cell signaling and reversing systemic low-grade inflammation.
Peri, L. ; Malach, E. ; Gaida, M. ; Niv, M. Y. Bitter taste 2 receptor member 14: novel agonists and combinations with chemotherapeutic agents with relevance for pancreatic cancer. CHEMICAL SENSES 2020, 45, 148.
Hutchings, C. ; Rajasekharan, S. K. ; Reifen, R. ; Shemesh, M. Mitigating Milk-Associated Bacteria through Inducing Zinc Ions Antibiofilm Activity. FOODS 2020, 9.Abstract
Dairy products are a sector heavily impacted by food loss, often due to bacterial contaminations. A major source of contamination is associated with the formation of biofilms by bacterial species adopted to proliferate in milk production environment and onto the surfaces of milk processing equipment. Bacterial cells within the biofilm are characterized by increased resistance to unfavorable environmental conditions and antimicrobial agents. Members of theBacillusgenus are the most commonly found spoilage microorganisms in the dairy environment. It appears that physiological behavior of these species is somehow depended on the availability of bivalent cations in the environment. One of the important cations that may affect the bacterial physiology as well as survivability are Zn(2+)ions. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine the antimicrobial effect of Zn(2+)ions, intending to elucidate the potential of a zinc-based antibacterial treatment suitable for the dairy industry. The antimicrobial effect of different doses of ZnCl(2)was assessed microscopically. In addition, expression of biofilm related genes was evaluated using RT-PCR. Analysis of survival rates following heat treatment was conducted in order to exemplify a possible applicative use of Zn(2+)ions. Addition of zinc efficiently inhibited biofilm formation byB. subtilisand further disrupted the biofilm bundles. Expression of matrix related genes was found to be notably downregulated. Microscopic evaluation showed that cell elongation was withheld when cells were grown in the presence of zinc. Finally,B. cereusandB. subtiliscells were more susceptible to heat treatment after being exposed to Zn(2+)ions. It is believed that an anti-biofilm activity, expressed in downregulation of genes involved in construction of the extracellular matrix, would account for the higher sensitivity of bacteria during heat pasteurization. Consequently, we suggest that Zn(2+)ions can be of used as an effective antimicrobial treatment in various applications in the dairy industry, targeting both biofilms and vegetative bacterial cells.
Tietel, Z. ; Simhon, E. ; Gashu, K. ; Ananth, D. A. ; Schwartz, B. ; Saranga, Y. ; Yermiyahu, U. Nitrogen availability and genotype affect major nutritional quality parameters of tef grain grown under irrigation. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS 2020, 10.Abstract
Worldwide demand for tef (Eragrostis tef) as a functional food for human consumption is increasing, thanks to its nutritional benefits and gluten-free properties. As a result, tef in now grown outside its native environment in Ethiopia and thus information is required regarding plant nutrition demands in these areas, as well as resulting grain health-related composition. In the current work, two tef genotypes were grown in Israel under irrigation in two platforms, plots in the field and pots in a greenhouse, with four and five nitrogen treatments, respectively. Nutritional and health-related quality traits were analyzed, including mineral content, fatty acid composition, hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidative capacity, total phenolic content and basic polyphenolic profile. Our results show that tef genotypes differ in their nutritional composition, e.g. higher phenolic contents in the brown compared to the white genotype. Additionally, nitrogen availability positively affected grain fatty acid composition and iron levels in both experiments, while negatively affecting total phenolics in the field trials. To conclude, nitrogen fertilization is crucial for crop growth and productivity, however it also implicates nutritional value of the grains as food. These effects should be considered when fertilizing tef with nitrogen, to optimize both crop productivity and nutritional effects.
Ramot, Y. ; Zandani, G. ; Madar, Z. ; Deshmukh, S. ; Nyska, A. Utilization of a Deep Learning Algorithm for Microscope-Based Fatty Vacuole Quantification in a Fatty Liver Model in Mice. TOXICOLOGIC PATHOLOGY 2020, 48, 702-707.Abstract
Quantification of fatty vacuoles in the liver, with differentiation from lumina of liver blood vessels and bile ducts, is an example where the traditional semiquantitative pathology assessment can be enhanced with artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. Using glass slides of mice liver as a model for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a deep learning AI algorithm was developed. This algorithm uses a segmentation framework for vacuole quantification and can be deployed to analyze live histopathology fields during the microscope-based pathology assessment. We compared the manual semiquantitative microscope-based assessment with the quantitative output of the deep learning algorithm. The deep learning algorithm was able to recognize and quantify the percent of fatty vacuoles, exhibiting a strong and significant correlation (r = 0.87, P < .001) between the semiquantitative and quantitative assessment methods. The use of deep learning algorithms for difficult quantifications within the microscope-based pathology assessment can help improve outputs of toxicologic pathology workflows.
Nissim, Y. ; Shlosberg, M. ; Biton, I. ; Many, Y. ; Doron-Faigenboim, A. ; Hovav, R. ; Kerem, Z. ; Avidan, B. ; Ben-Ari, G. A High Temperature Environment Regulates the Olive Oil Biosynthesis Network. PLANTS-BASEL 2020, 9.Abstract
Climate change has been shown to have a substantial impact on agriculture and high temperatures and heat stress are known to have many negative effects on the vegetative and reproductive phases of plants. In a previous study, we addressed the effects of high temperature environments on olive oil yield and quality, by comparing the fruit development and oil accumulation and quality of five olive cultivars placed in high temperature and moderate temperature environments. The aim of the current study was to explore the molecular mechanism resulting in the negative effect of a high temperature environment on oil quantity and quality. We analyzed the transcriptome of two extreme cultivars, `Barnea', which is tolerant to high temperatures in regard to quantity of oil production, but sensitive regarding its quality, and `Souri', which is heat sensitive regarding quantity of oil produced, but relatively tolerant regarding its quality. Transcriptome analyses have been carried out at three different time points during fruit development, focusing on the genes involved in the oil biosynthesis pathway. We found that heat-shock protein expression was induced by the high temperature environment, but the degree of induction was cultivar dependent. The `Barnea' cultivar, whose oil production showed greater tolerance to high temperatures, exhibited a larger degree of induction than the heat sensitive `Souri'. On the other hand, many genes involved in olive oil biosynthesis were found to be repressed as a response to high temperatures.OePDCTas well asOeFAD2 genes showed cultivar dependent expression patterns according to their heat tolerance characteristics. The transcription factors OeDof4.3, OeWRI1.1, OeDof4.4 and OeWRI1.2 were identified as key factors in regulating the oil biosynthesis pathway in response to heat stress, based on their co-expression characteristics with other genes involved in this pathway. Our results may contribute to identifying or developing a more heat tolerant cultivar, which will be able to produce high yield and quality oil in a future characterized by global warming.
Khadka, N. ; Joshi, J. R. ; Reznik, N. ; Chriker, N. ; Nudel, A. ; Zelinger, E. ; Kerem, Z. ; Yedidia, I. Host Specificity and Differential Pathogenicity of Pectobacterium Strains from Dicot and Monocot Hosts. MICROORGANISMS 2020, 8.Abstract
Recent phylogenetic studies have transferred certain isolates from monocot plants previously included in the heterogeneous group of Pectobacterium carotovorum (Pc) to a species level termed Pectobacterium aroidearum. The specificity of Pectobacterium associated infections had received less attention, and may be of high scientific and economic importance. Here, we have characterized differential responses of Pectobacterium isolates from potato (WPP14) and calla lily (PC16) on two typical hosts: Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage) a dicot host; and Zantedeschia aethiopica (calla lily) a monocot host. The results revealed clear host specific responses following infection with the two bacterial strains. This was demonstrated by differential production of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the expression of plant defense-related genes (pal, PR-1, lox2, ast). A related pattern was observed in bacterial responses to each of the host's extract, with differential expression of virulence-related determinants and genes associated with quorum-sensing and plant cell wall-degrading enzymes. The differences were associated with each strain's competence on its respective host.
Bar-El Dadon, S. ; Reifen, R. Epigenetics in Food Allergies: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle. In PRINCIPLES OF NUTRIGENETICS AND NUTRIGENOMICS: FUNDAMENTALS OF INDIVIDUALIZED NUTRITION; DeCaterina, R. ; Martinez, J. A. ; Kohlmeier, M., Ed. PRINCIPLES OF NUTRIGENETICS AND NUTRIGENOMICS: FUNDAMENTALS OF INDIVIDUALIZED NUTRITION; 2020; pp. 403-409.
Nissim, Y. ; Shloberg, M. ; Biton, I. ; Many, Y. ; Doron-Faigenboim, A. ; Zemach, H. ; Hovav, R. ; Kerem, Z. ; Avidan, B. ; Ben-Ari, G. High temperature environment reduces olive oil yield and quality. PLOS ONE 2020, 15.Abstract
Global warming is predicted to have a negative effect on plant growth due to the damaging effect of high temperatures. In order to address the effect of high temperature environments on olive oil yield and quality, we compared its effect on the fruit development of five olive cultivars placed in a region noted for its high summer temperatures, with trees of the same cultivars placed in a region of relatively mild summers. We found that the effects of a high temperature environment are genotype dependent and in general, high temperatures during fruit development affected three important traits: fruit weight, oil concentration and oil quality. None of the tested cultivars exhibited complete heat stress tolerance. Final dry fruit weight at harvest of the `Barnea' cultivar was not affected by the high temperature environment, whereas the `Koroneiki', `Coratina', `Souri' and `Picholine' cultivars exhibited decreased dry fruit weight at harvest in response to higher temperatures by 0.2, 1, 0.4 and 0.2 g respectively. The pattern of final oil concentration was also cultivar dependent, `Barnea', `Coratina' and `Picholine' not being affected by the high temperature environment, whereas the `Koroneiki' and `Souri' cultivars showed a decreased dry fruit oil concentration at harvest under the same conditions by 15 and 8% respectively. Regarding the quality of oil produced, the `Souri' cultivar proved more tolerant to a high temperature environment than any other of the cultivars analyzed in this study. These results suggest that different olive cultivars have developed a variety of mechanisms in dealing with high temperatures. Elucidation of the mechanism of each of these responses may open the way to development of a variety of olives broadly adapted to conditions of high temperatures.
Yedidia, I. ; Kerem, Z. ; Pun, M. Potentiation of plant-derived anti-quorum sensing compounds. PHYTOPATHOLOGY 2020, 110, 188.
Kalev-Altman, R. ; Hanael, E. ; Zelinger, E. ; Blum, M. ; Monsonego-Ornan, E. ; Sela-Donenfeld, D. Conserved role of matrix metalloproteases 2 and 9 in promoting the migration of neural crest cells in avian and mammalian embryos. FASEB JOURNAL 2020, 34, 5240-5261.Abstract
Neural crest cells (NCCs) are a unique embryonic cell population that initially reside at the dorsal neural tube but later migrate in the embryo and differentiate into multiple types of derivatives. To acquire motility, NCCs undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and invade the surrounding extracellular matrix (ECM). Matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) are a large family of proteases which regulate migration of various embryonic and adult cells via ECM remodeling. The gelatinase's subgroup of MMPs is the most studied one due to its key role in metastasis. As it is composed of only two proteases, MMP2 and MMP9, it is important to understand whether each is indispensable or redundant in its biological function. Here we explored the role of the gelatinases in executing NCC migration, by determining whether MMP2 and/or MMP9 regulate migration across species in singular, combined, or redundant manners. Chick and mouse embryos were utilized to compare expression and activity of both MMPs using genetic and pharmacological approaches in multiple in vivo and ex vivo assays. Both MMPs were found to be expressed and active in mouse and chick NCCs. Inhibition of each MMP was sufficient to prevent NCC migration in both species. Yet, NCC migration was maintained in MMP2(-/-) or MMP9(-/-) mouse mutants due to compensation between the gelatinases, but reciprocal pharmacological inhibition in each mutant prevented NCC migration. This study reveals for the first time that both gelatinases are expressed in avian and mammalian NCCs, and demonstrates their fundamental and conserved role in promoting embryonic cell migration.
Weintraub, Y. ; Cohen, S. ; Chapnik, N. ; Yerushalmy-Feler, A. ; Ben-Tov, A. ; Dotan, I. ; Tauman, R. ; Froy, O. Clock gene expression levels can differentially distinguish between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. JOURNAL OF CROHNS & COLITIS 2020, 14, S198-S199.
Adetola, O. Y. ; Onabanjo, O. O. ; Stark, A. H. The search for sustainable solutions: Producing a sweet potato based complementary food rich in vitamin A, zinc and iron for infants in developing countries. SCIENTIFIC AFRICAN 2020, 8.Abstract
Deficiencies of vitamin A, zinc and iron are prevalent among infants and young children in developing countries. This is often due to consumption of unfortified cereal-based foods. Two nutritionally balanced sweet potato-based complementary foods containing locally available products were developed to help combat micronutrient deficiencies. Composite flours from orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP), soybean and carrots were produced by drying, milling and blending in the ratio of 64.6:34.8:0.7 and 61.3:37.7:1.0, respectively. The formulations were evaluated for nutrient composition and compared with a commercially cereal-based product (Control) and the Codex Alimentarius Commission Guidelines for complementary foods for infants and young children. The newly formulated OFSP-based complementary foods (OFSP-CFs) had higher levels of protein and fat compared to the Control. However, the latter was higher in carbohydrates and energy. The OFSP-CFs met the stipulated values for energy (>= 400 kcal/100 g), protein (>= 15%) and fat (10 - 25%) as specified in the Codex standards. Vitamin A (2057 - 2064 mu g RAE/100 g) and zinc (8.82 - 10.38 mg/100 g) were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than levels in the Control (370 mu g RAE/100 g and 2.5 mg/100 g, respectively). OFSP-CF2 was highest in iron content (9.95 mg/100 g). The newly formulated complementary foods exceeded the minimum recommended standards (at least 50% of daily recommendation in an estimated ration of 50 g) for zinc (>100%) and iron (>70%). Furthermore, the blends contained more than 200% of the requirement for daily vitamin A intake as stipulated in the Codex unlike the Control which only met about 46%. OFSP-CFs could improve the vitamin A, zinc and iron intake of infants and young children better than the Control. They may also serve as a sustainable food-based strategy for reducing vitamin A, iron and zinc deficiency as well as protein-energy malnutrition among infants and young children in Nigeria and other developing countries. (C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of African Institute of Mathematical Sciences / Next Einstein Initiative.