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Rahkovsky I.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Lin B.-H.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Lin C.T.J.,Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition | Lee J.-Y.,University of Florida
Food Policy | Year: 2013

Over the past decade, the food industry has increased its use of front-of-package and shelf-tag nutrition labeling designed to present key nutritional aspects and characteristics of food products. One such system is the Guiding Stars Program™ (GSP), which uses an algorithm to score the nutritional values of food products from one to three stars, where more stars mean more nutritious. We studied how the introduction of the GSP in one supermarket chain affected the demand for ready-to-eat cereals. We estimated the demand for cereals and measured the effect using a treatment-control approach. We found that the GSP significantly increased the demand for cereals that GSP considers more nutritious at the expense of cereals that GSP considers less nutritious. © 2013. Source

Choudhuri S.,Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Bioinformatics for Beginners: Genes, Genomes, Molecular Evolution, Databases and Analytical Tools | Year: 2014

Bioinformatics for Beginners provides a coherent and friendly treatment of bioinformatics for any student or scientist within biology who has not routinely performed bioinformatic analysis. The book discusses relevant principles needed to understand the theoretical underpinnings of bioinformatic analysis, and demonstrates with examples targeted analysis using freely available web-based software and publicly available databases. Eschewing non-essential information, the work focuses on principles and hands-on analysis and points to many further study options. • Avoids non-essential coverage yet fully describes the field for beginners - in approximately 200 pages of text • Explains the molecular basis of evolution to place bioinformatic analysis in biological context • Provides useful links to the vast resource of publicly available bioinformatic databases and analysis tools • Over 100 figures aid in concept discovery and illustration. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source

Etheridge S.M.,Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Toxicon | Year: 2010

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is the foodborne illness associated with the consumption of seafood products contaminated with the neurotoxins known collectively as saxitoxins (STXs). This family of neurotoxins binds to voltage-gated sodium channels, thereby attenuating action potentials by preventing the passage of sodium ions across the membrane. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, headaches, weakness and difficulty breathing. Medical treatment is to provide respiratory support, without which the prognosis can be fatal. To protect human health, seafood harvesting bans are in effect when toxins exceed a safe action level (typically 80 μg STX eq 100 g-1 tissue). Though worldwide fatalities have occurred, successful management and monitoring programs have minimized PSP cases and associated deaths. Much is known about the toxin sources, primarily certain dinoflagellate species, and there is extensive information on toxin transfer to traditional vectors - filter-feeding molluscan bivalves. Non-traditional vectors, such as puffer fish and lobster, may also pose a risk. Rapid and reliable detection methods are critical for toxin monitoring in a wide range of matrices, and these methods must be appropriately validated for regulatory purposes. This paper highlights PSP seafood safety concerns, documented human cases, applied detection methods as well as monitoring and management strategies for preventing PSP-contaminated seafood products from entering the food supply. © 2010. Source

Cunningham W.C.,Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry | Year: 2013

The Food and Drug Administration uses water activity behavior characteristics when adjusting test portion mass to correct for the moisture condition of its cocoa powder in-house reference material. The cocoa powder's moisture condition, and therefore weight, equilibrates according to the relative humidity (RH) of its surroundings. This process is predictable and defined by an isotherm. The reference values in the certificate of analysis are relative to the material's condition at 30 % RH, which is assumed to be mid-range for typical laboratory settings. Since mass variations are relatively small within a 15-50 % RH range, the mass may be measured immediately after removing a test portion from a storage bottle and used without correction if a standard uncertainty of 0.7 % is acceptable for the mass. If greater accuracy is needed and the laboratory RH is known, a very simple and quick procedure can be used whereby the test portion is left open and exposed to the laboratory air overnight before weighing. After applying a correction, the standard uncertainty for mass measurement drops to 0.3 %. [Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA). Source

Kukreja R.V.,University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | Sharma S.K.,Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition | Singh B.R.,University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Biochemistry | Year: 2010

Botulinum neurotoxins (BoNTs) are a group of large proteins that are responsible for the clinical syndrome of botulism. The seven immunologically distinct serotypes of BoNTs (A-G), each produced by various strains of Clostridium botulinum, act on the neuromuscular junction by blocking the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, thereby resulting in flaccid muscle paralysis. BoNTs are synthesized as single inactive polypeptide chains that are cleaved by endogenous or exogenous proteases to generate the active dichain form of the toxin. Nicking of the single chain BoNT/E to the dichain form is associated with 100-fold increase in toxicity. Here we investigated the activation mechanism of botulinum neurotoxin type E upon nicking and subsequent reduction of disulfide bond. It was observed that nicking of BoNT/E significantly enhances its endopeptidase activity and that at the physiological temperature of 37 °C the reduced form of nicked BoNT/E adopts a dynamically flexible conformation resulting from the exposure of hydrophobic segments and facilitating optimal cleavage of its substrate SNAP-25. Such reduction-induced increase in the flexibility of the polypeptide folding provides a rationale for the mechanism of BoNT/E endopeptidase against its intracellular substrate, SNAP-25, and complements current understanding of the mechanistics of interaction between the substrate and BoNT endopeptidase. © 2010 American Chemical Society. Source

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