Norihisa Kato has completed his PhD (1980) from Nagoya University, Japan. Currently, he is a professor in Laboratory of Molecular Nutrition, Graduate School of Biosphere Science, Hiroshima University. His research interests are in elucidation of anti-disease food factors and the molecular mechanisms. He is a expert editor of Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, and has published more than 200 papers. He was given the Award for Excellence in Research Japan Society of Nutrition and Food Science (2012).
Traditionally, Aspergillus species have been widely used for the production of Japanese fermentation foods such as miso, soy sourse, sake, etc. However, there is limitted study on the application of Aspergillus for the functional foods production. Previously, we found the marked elevation in colon Bifidobacterium by feeding of Aspergillus fermented burdock when compared with durdock powder. Recent our study has found a marked elevation in colon Bifidobacterium of rats fed a high-fat (HF) diet supplemented with an Amano protease preparation (Protease A “Amano” SD, derived from Aspergillus oryzae, Amano Enzyme Inc.). The current study was conducted to examine if dietary supplementation with an acid protease (AcP) purified from A. oryzae also leads to the elevation of Bifidobacterium levels in the colon. Rats were fed a HF diet containing the AcP purified from the Amano protease preparation for 2 weeks. The abundance of Bifidobacterium in the cecum and feces of rats fed a HF diet with the addition of the 0.1% Amano protease preparation was markedly elevated by the addition of 0.1% Amano protease. However, the Bifidobacterium levels were unaffected by the addition of the purified AcP (0.0096%) at a level equivalent to the amount of AcP found in the 0.1% Amano protease. In contrast, the Bifidobacterium levels were significantly elevated (P < 0.05) when rats were fed a HF diet containing 0.0384% AcP (a four-fold higher content of AcP in the diet containing 0.1% Amano protease). The effect on cecum Bifidobacterium was not observed in the inactivated 0.0384% AcP group. These results suggest that the consumption of the Aspergillus-derived active AcP elevates the Bifidobacterium levels in the colon.
Prof. Franc isco García-Carmona is head of the group Enzyme Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Murcia (Spain). Main interests are enzymology of oxidases, production of metabolites and drugs and biotechnological applications of enzymes. He has coordinated tens of research projects and published more than 250 papers in reputed journals .
It is estimated that 25% of medicines, cosmetics, aromatic essences, flavorings and colorings used in developed countries come from secondary metabolites. This is the case of betalains, plant pigments of hydrophilic nature with demonstrated chemopreventive potential in cancer cell lines and animal models, which also have antioxidant, antiinflammatory and neuroprotective activity. Considered as nutraceuticals at very low concentrations it is also feasible their use as bioactive natural pigments in the food industry. Celosia argentea var. plumosa betalains were biosynthesized in vitro in this work. For the first time it is described the establishment of in vitro cell lines, generating callus and suspension of this plant of the Amaranthaceae from hypocotyls by using Murashige and Skoog medium supplemented with 6.66 µM BAP and 2,4-D 6.79 µM. Two stable and differentially colored callus cell lines, yellow and red were obtained. Aqueous extracts of these calli were encapsulated with maltodextrins achieving stable pink and yellow powders. Derived suspension cultures showed high contents of betalains with the compounds being accumulated and excreted to the medium with a maximum production after 8 days of culture. In addition, precursor molecules as betalamic acid and dopamine were produced, with dopamine levels as high as 42.08 mg/g dry weight. The production of bioactive betalains with dopamine and betalamic acid precursors show the capacity of C. argentea cell cultures to be a stable source for valuable phytochemicals with application as functional natural colorant in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. This work was supported by “Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad” (MEC, FEDER, Spain) (Project AGL2014-57431) and by “Programa de Ayudas a Grupos de Excelencia de la Región de Murcia, Fundación Séneca, Agencia de Ciencia y Tecnología de la Región de Murcia” (Project 19893/GERM/15).