Food and Nutrition Research Center

Rome, Italy

Food and Nutrition Research Center

Rome, Italy
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Bonglaisin J.N.,Food and Nutrition Research Center | Lantum D.N.,FMBS
Journal of Medical Sciences | Year: 2011

Clay-eating or kaolin-eating (geophagy or geophagia) is a global practice that exists among humans as well as numerous animal species. Geophagy has been studied by anthropologists, geologists, nutritionists and ecologists in present and traditional cultures from areas across continents, including present-day Arizona and California, Central and South America, Sweden and Sardinia, sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia and Australia. In 2002, the European Union alerted the Cameroon Ministry of Public Health that kaolin carried from Cameroon to Europe had abnormally high amount of lead (Pb) at levels a 100 times higher than the maximum permissible level. This kaolin that is sold on the several markets is mined from different sources, some locally and others from Nigeria. To investigate this, markets of wholesale dealers in kaolin were visited in five districts selected in a manner as to represent the entire territory. Six samples of 1 kg each were then randomly selected and bought. A total of 30 kg was collected from all the districts. The sources of procurement were also visited and 24 samples of approximately 300 g each were collected from all the harvesting sites. Analytical methods for flame spectroscopy were used and statgraphic for data analysis. The results show that all kaolin is contaminated not only with Pb but Cd and Hg as well. The differences in Pb content at district levels is statistically significant p = 0.02 (p<0.05) while no significant difference exist as regards the origin of kaolin or source of procurement (p = 0.53). © 2012 Science Alert.


Mune M.A.M.,University of Maroua | Minka S.R.,University of Yaounde I | Mbome I.L.,Food and Nutrition Research Center | Etoa F.-X.,University of Yaounde I
Pakistan Journal of Nutrition | Year: 2011

Bambara bean protein concentrate was prepared under optimum conditions previously determined. Concentrate yield (27.12%) and protein yield (84.35%) were high. The concentrate had 70.85% protein and 13.15% lipid. Water-soluble compounds were removed in abundance from the flour, during the protein extraction. Bambara bean protein concentrate had similar levels of Fe and Zn as the flour. Antinutritional factors were significantly (p<0.05) reduced in the concentrate. The concentrate showed significantly (p<0.05) higher protein digestibility than the flour and had balanced amino acids contents with respect to the FAO/WHO pattern. Lysine and leucine were the predominant essential amino acids. The protein extraction process removed sulphur- and tryptophan-rich proteins. This affected the chemical score (26.80%), protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (25.40%), essential amino acid index (60.44%) and calculated biological value (54.18%) of the protein concentrate, which were lower than those of the flour. © Asian Network for Scientific Information, 2011.


Turchi L.,National Research Council Italy | Baima S.,Food and Nutrition Research Center | Morelli G.,Food and Nutrition Research Center | Ruberti I.,National Research Council Italy
Journal of Experimental Botany | Year: 2015

The homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD-Zip) class of transcription factors is unique to plants. HD-Zip proteins bind to DNA exclusively as dimers recognizing dyad symmetric sequences and act as positive or negative regulators of gene expression. On the basis of sequence homology in the HD-Zip DNA-binding domain, HD-Zip proteins have been grouped into four families (HD-Zip I-IV). Each HD-Zip family can be further divided into subfamilies containing paralogous genes that have arisen through genome duplication. Remarkably, all the members of the HD-Zip IIγ and -δ clades are regulated by light quality changes that induce in the majority of the angiosperms the shade-avoidance response, a process regulated at multiple levels by auxin. Intriguingly, it has recently emerged that, apart from their function in shade avoidance, the HD-Zip IIγ and -δ transcription factors control several auxin-regulated developmental processes, including apical embryo patterning, lateral organ polarity, and gynoecium development, in a white-light environment. This review presents recent advances in our understanding of HD-Zip II protein function in plant development, with particular emphasis on the impact of loss-of-function HD-Zip II mutations on auxin distribution and response. The review also describes evidence demonstrating that HD-Zip IIγ and -δ genes are directly and positively regulated by HD-Zip III transcription factors, primary determinants of apical shoot development, known to control the expression of several auxin biosynthesis, transport, and response genes. Finally, the interplay between HD-Zip II and III transcription factors in embryo apical patterning and organ polarity is discussed. © 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved.


Mune Mune M.A.,University of Maroua | Minka S.R.,University of Yaounde I | Mbome I.L.,Food and Nutrition Research Center
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition | Year: 2011

The present study was undertaken to improve functional properties of cowpea protein concentrate by acylation and partial hydrolysis with pepsin. The acylated concentrate showed significant improvement in protein solubility and water solubility index, at neutral pH. In addition, acylation increased fat absorption capacity compared with the untreated concentrate, and the maximum was obtained at 0.75 g succinic anhydride/g concentrate. Acetylation at concentrations of 0.25-0.50 g/g led to the higher emulsifying activity, and a markedly improvement in emulsifying stability was observed at 1.0 g anhydride/g concentrate. Foaming activity increased following acylation, particularly at 0.25 and 1.00 g/g succinic anhydride/g concentrate, while foam stability decreased. At pH 3.5, protein solubility of the acylated concentrates was low ( < 8%). Partial hydrolysis of cowpea protein concentrate with pepsin increased protein solubility at the isoelectric and neutral pH. © 2011 Informa UK, Ltd.


Mune M.A.M.,University of Yaounde I | Mbome I.L.,Food and Nutrition Research Center | Minka S.R.,University of Yaounde I
Journal of Food Process Engineering | Year: 2010

Response surface methodology was used to optimize the preparation of protein concentrate from Bambara bean flour. A central composite rotatable design of experiments was used to investigate the effects of the two statistically significant factors, namely pH and NaCl concentration on four responses: yield (%), protein content (%), reactive lysine (g/16 g N) and iron content (mg/100 g). A second-order polynomial model was used for predicting the responses. Regression analysis indicated that more than 81.7% of the variation was explained by the fitted models. The results showed that under optimum conditions (pH and NaCl concentration of 8.99 and 0.17 M, respectively) the yield was ≥28%, protein content ≥71.25%, reactive lysine ≥1.77 g/16 g N and iron content ≥18 mg/100 g. The suitability of the model employed was confirmed by the agreement between the experimental and predicted values for yield, protein content and reactive lysine. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Mune Mune M.A.,University of Maroua | Minka S.R.,University of Yaounde I | Mbome I.L.,Food and Nutrition Research Center
Food Chemistry | Year: 2014

Response surface methodology (RSM) was used for modelisation and optimisation of protein extraction parameters in order to obtain a protein concentrate with high functional properties. A central composite rotatable design of experiments was used to investigate the effects of two factors, namely pH and NaCl concentration, on six responses: water solubility index (WSI), water absorption capacity (WAC), oil holding capacity (OHC), emulsifying activity (EA), emulsifying stability (ES) and foam ability (FA). The results of analysis of variance (ANOVA) and correlation showed that the second-order polynomial model was appropriate to fit experimental data. The optimum condition was: pH 8.43 and NaCl concentration 0.25 M, and under this condition WSI was ≥17.20%, WAC ≥ 383.62%, OHC ≥ 1.75 g/g, EA ≥ 0.15, ES ≥ 19.76 min and FA ≥ 66.30%. The suitability of the model employed was confirmed by the agreement between the experimental and predicted values for functional properties. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Becker G.F.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Passos E.P.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Passos E.P.,Clinical Hospital of Porto Alegre | Moulin C.C.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Moulin C.C.,Food and Nutrition Research Center
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition | Year: 2015

Background: Obesity is related to hormonal disorders that affect the reproductive system. Low-glycemic index (LGI) diets seem to exert a positive effect on weight loss and on metabolic changes that result from obesity. Objective: We investigated the effects of a hypocaloric diet with an LGI and low glycemic load on anthropometric and metabolic variables, ghrelin and leptin concentrations, and the pregnancy rate in overweight and obese infertile women who were undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Design: The study was a randomized block-design controlled trial in which we analyzed 26 overweight or obese infertile women. Patients were assigned to a hypocaloric LGI-diet group or a control group and followed the protocol for 12 wk. Body weight, body mass index (BMI), percentage of body fat, glucose, insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, serum lipids, reproductive hormones, leptin, acylated ghrelin, number of oocytes retrieved in the IVF cycle, and pregnancy rate were determined. Results: There were greater reductions in body mass, BMI, percentage of body fat, waist:hip ratio, and leptin in the LGI-diet group than in the control group (P , 0.05). Despite a change of 18% in mean values, there was no significant increase in acylated ghrelin concentrations in the LGI group compared with the control group (P = 0.215). The LGIdiet group had 85.4% more oocytes retrieved than did the control group (7.75 6 1.44 and 4.18 6 0.87, respectively; P = 0.039) in the IVF cycle. Three patients (21.4%) in the LGI group experienced a spontaneous pregnancy during the follow-up, which generated 3 live births. Conclusions: The hypocaloric LGI diet promoted a decrease in BMI, percentage of body fat, and leptin concentrations, which improved oocyte development and pregnancy rate. These results support the clinical recommendation to advise overweight and obese women to lose weight through a balanced diet before being submitted for treatment with assisted reproduction technologies. A hypocaloric diet combined with LGI foods seems to be beneficial for these patients, but additional studies are required before this treatment is recommended. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT02416960. © 2015 American Society for Nutrition.


Ciolfi A.,National Research Council Italy | Sessa G.,National Research Council Italy | Sassi M.,National Research Council Italy | Sassi M.,CNRS Laboratory of Plant Reproduction and Development | And 5 more authors.
Plant Physiology | Year: 2013

Shade-intolerant plants perceive the reduction in the ratio of red light (R) to far-red light (FR) as a warning of competition with neighboring vegetation and display a suite of developmental responses known as shade avoidance. In recent years, major progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying shade avoidance. Despite this, little is known about the dynamics of this response and the cascade of molecular events leading to plant adaptation to a low-R/FR environment. By combining genome-wide expression profiling and computational analyses, we show highly significant overlap between shade avoidance and deetiolation transcript profiles in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). The direction of the response was dissimilar at the early stages of shade avoidance and congruent at the late ones. This latter regulation requires LONG HYPOCOTYL IN FAR RED1/SLENDER IN CANOPY SHADE1 and phytochrome A, which function largely independently to negatively control shade avoidance. Gene network analysis highlights a subnetwork containing ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL5 (HY5), a master regulator of deetiolation, in the wild type and not in phytochrome A mutant upon prolonged low R/FR. Network analysis also highlights a direct connection between HY5 and HY5 HOMOLOG (HYH), a gene functionally implicated in the inhibition of hypocotyl elongation and known to be a direct target of the HY5 transcription factor. Kinetics analysis show that the HYH gene is indeed late induced by low R/FR and that its up-regulation depends on the action of HY5, since it does not occur in hy5 mutant. Therefore, we propose that one way plants adapt to a low-R/FR environment is by enhancing HY5 function. © 2013 American Society of Plant Biologists. All Rights Reserved.


Baima S.,Food and Nutrition Research Center | Forte V.,Food and Nutrition Research Center | Possenti M.,Food and Nutrition Research Center | Penalosa A.,Food and Nutrition Research Center | And 7 more authors.
Molecular Plant | Year: 2014

The role of auxin as main regulator of vascular differentiation is well established, and a direct correlation between the rate of xylem differentiation and the amount of auxin reaching the (pro)cambial cells has been proposed. It has been suggested that thermospermine produced by ACAULIS5 (ACL5) and BUSHY AND DWARF2 (BUD2) is one of the factors downstream to auxin contributing to the regulation of this process in Arabidopsis. Here, we provide an in-depth characterization of the mechanism through which ACL5 modulates xylem differentiation. We show that an increased level of ACL5 slows down xylem differentiation by negatively affecting the expression of homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD- ZIP) III and key auxin signaling genes. This mechanism involves the positive regulation of thermospermine biosynthesis by the HD-ZIP III protein ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA HOMEOBOX8 tightly controlling the expression of ACL5 and BUD2. In addition, we show that the HD-ZIP III protein REVOLUTA contributes to the increased leaf vascularization and long hypocotyl phenotype of acl5 likely by a direct regulation of auxin signaling genes such as LIKE AUXIN RESISTANT2 (LAX2) and LAX3. We propose that proper formation and differentiation of xylem depend on a balance between positive and negative feedback loops operating through HD-ZIP III genes. © The Author 2014.


PubMed | Food and Nutrition Research Center
Type: | Journal: Food microbiology | Year: 2017

Tableolives are widely consumed worldwide but, due to the presence of NaCl in fermenting brines, they contain high levels of sodium. A promising strategy to lower sodium content is the reduction or substitution of NaCl in brines with other chlorides. However, these procedures may impact safety, spoilage, as well as quality and technological properties, including the evolution and final composition of the fermenting microbiota. In the present work the effects of partially replacing NaCl with KCl in fermenting brines on the microbiological quality of Nocellara del Belice olives produced by Spanish style (Sivigliano) or Castelvetrano methods have been analyzed. In both cases, the fermentation steps were performed in parallel, in brines containing either NaCl alone, or partially replaced with different proportions of KCl (25, 50 and 75%), while maintaining a final saline concentration of 9% (Sivigliano method) or 7% (Castelvetrano). To compare microbial dynamics in the experimental brines, changes in bacterial ecology were monitored during fermentation with a polyphasic approach, including both microbiological methods and culture-independent techniques based on DGGE and NGS analysis. The main microbial groups detected in the olive microbiota from both production procedures were LAB and yeasts. Overall, the data demonstrate that partial replacement of NaCl with KCl does not increase the risk of contamination, nor the overgrowth of pathogens or spoiler microbes.

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