Publications by authors named "Owen Jones"

149 Publications

Limited hydrolysis and conjugation of zein with chitosan oligosaccharide by enzymatic reaction to improve functional properties.

Food Chem 2021 Jun 12;348:129035. Epub 2021 Jan 12.

Purdue University, Department of Food Science, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States; Purdue University, Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States. Electronic address:

In order to improve its aqueous solubility and emulsifying function, zein was partially hydrolyzed by trypsin and conjugated to chitosan oligosaccharide lactate by transglutaminase. Hydrolysis and covalent linkage to chitosan oligosaccharide was confirmed by free amine content, gel electrophoresis, and infrared spectroscopy. Enzymatic glycosylation was optimized at pH 6, 44 °C, and 4 h to bind approximately 95% of the free amines in the hydrolysates to chitosan oligosaccharide. Hydrolysis and conjugation increased solubility of zein by 47.60% and 72.93%. Hydrolysis and conjugation also decreased surface hydrophobicity by more than 20% and more than doubled emulsifying activity index, emulsion stability index, and foaming capacity. This enzymatic modification has potential to be applied to improve functional properties of other prolamins.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2021.129035DOI Listing
June 2021

Polyphenols Weaken Pea Protein Gel by Formation of Large Aggregates with Diminished Noncovalent Interactions.

Biomacromolecules 2021 Feb 26;22(2):1001-1014. Epub 2021 Jan 26.

Department of Food Science and Technology, The Ohio State University, 2015 Fyffe Rd, Columbus, Ohio 43210, United States.

Polyphenols are well-known native cross-linkers and gel strengthening agents for many animal proteins. However, their role in modifying plant protein gels remains unclear. In this study, multiple techniques were applied to unravel the influence of green tea polyphenols (GTP) on pea protein gels and the underlying mechanisms. We found that the elasticity and viscosity of pea protein gels decreased with increased GTP. The protein backbone became less rigid when GTP was present based on shortened T in relaxation solid-state NMR measurements. Electron microscopy and small-angle X-ray scattering showed that gels weakened by GTP possessed disrupted networks with the presence of large protein aggregates. Solvent extraction and molecular dynamic simulation revealed a reduction in hydrophobic interactions and hydrogen bonds among proteins in gels containing GTP. The current findings may be applicable to other plant proteins for greater control of gel structures in the presence of polyphenols, expanding their utilization in food and biomedical applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.0c01753DOI Listing
February 2021

Exploring groundwater and soil water storage changes across the CONUS at 12.5 km resolution by a Bayesian integration of GRACE data into W3RA.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Mar 19;758:143579. Epub 2020 Nov 19.

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University, CF103AT Cardiff, UK; Geodesy and Earth Observation Group, Institute of Planning, Aalborg University, Rendburggade 14, 9000 Aalborg, Denmark.

Climate variability and change along with anthropogenic water use have affected the (re)distribution of water storage and fluxes across the Contiguous United States (CONUS). Available hydrological models, however, do not represent recent changes in the water cycle. Therefore, in this study, a novel Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo-based Data Assimilation (MCMC-DA) approach is formulated to integrate Terrestrial Water Storage changes (TWSC) from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission into the W3RA water balance model. The benefit of this integration is its dynamic solution that uses GRACE TWSC to update W3RA's individual water storage estimates while rigorously accounting for uncertainties. It also down-scales GRACE data and provides groundwater and soil water storage changes at ~12.5 km resolution across the CONUS covering 2003-2017. Independent validations are performed against in-situ groundwater data (from USGS) and Climate Change Initiative (CCI) soil moisture products from the European Space Agency (ESA). Our results indicate that MCMC-DA introduces trends, which exist in GRACE TWSC, mostly to the groundwater storage and to a lesser extent to the soil water storage. Higher similarity is found between groundwater estimation of MCMC-DA and those of USGS in the southeastern CONUS. We also show a stronger linear trend in MCMC-DA soil water storage across the CONUS, compared to W3RA (changing from ±0.5 mm/yr to ±2 mm/yr), which is closer to independent estimates from the ESA CCI. MCMC-DA also improves the estimation of soil water storage in regions with high forest intensity, where ESA CCI and hydrological models have difficulties in capturing the soil-vegetation-atmosphere continuum. The representation of El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-related variability in groundwater and soil water storage are found to be considerably improved after integrating GRACE TWSC with W3RA. This new hybrid approach shows promise for understanding the links between climate and the water balance over broad regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143579DOI Listing
March 2021

Incorporation of Plasticizers and Co-proteins in Zein Electrospun Fibers.

J Agric Food Chem 2020 Dec 24;68(49):14610-14619. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

Department of Food Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, United States.

As a means to alter the physical properties of electrospun zein fibers, plasticizers (glycerol, lactic acid, and oleic acid) or co-proteins (casein, whey protein, rice protein) were mixed with zein using the solvents acetic acid or aqueous ethanol with or without sodium hydroxide. Incorporating plasticizers or co-proteins had a negligible impact on solution viscosity, solution surface tension, and fiber formation, although electron microscopy of fiber mats showed an increase in bead formation with added co-proteins. Gel electrophoresis identified casein and whey protein in spun mats. Infrared spectra demonstrated the inclusion of plasticizers in fiber mats. Glycerol, lactic acid, and oleic acid reduced the glass transition temperature of bulk fibers. Nanoindentation tests of individual fibers found reduced Young's moduli with added lactic or oleic acids but increased moduli with added casein. Thus, electrospinning zein with food-grade plasticizers or proteins physically modifies fibers, yet incorporating significant protein quantities remains a challenge.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.0c03532DOI Listing
December 2020

Bridging gaps in demographic analysis with phylogenetic imputation.

Conserv Biol 2020 Oct 17. Epub 2020 Oct 17.

Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, U.K.

Phylogenetically informed imputation methods have rarely been applied to estimate missing values in demographic data but may be a powerful tool for reconstructing vital rates of survival, maturation, and fecundity for species of conservation concern. Imputed vital rates could be used to parameterize demographic models to explore how populations respond when vital rates are perturbed. We used standardized vital rate estimates for 50 bird species to assess the use of phylogenetic imputation to fill gaps in demographic data. We calculated imputation accuracy for vital rates of focal species excluded from the data set either singly or in combination and with and without phylogeny, body mass, and life-history trait data. We used imputed vital rates to calculate demographic metrics, including generation time, to validate the use of imputation in demographic analyses. Covariance among vital rates and other trait data provided a strong basis to guide imputation of missing vital rates in birds, even in the absence of phylogenetic information. Mean NRMSE for null and phylogenetic models differed by <0.01 except when no vital rates were available or for vital rates with high phylogenetic signal (Pagel's λ > 0.8). In these cases, including body mass and life-history trait data compensated for lack of phylogenetic information: mean normalized root mean square error (NRMSE) for null and phylogenetic models differed by <0.01 for adult survival and <0.04 for maturation rate. Estimates of demographic metrics were sensitive to the accuracy of imputed vital rates. For example, mean error in generation time doubled in response to inaccurate estimates of maturation time. Accurate demographic data and metrics, such as generation time, are needed to inform conservation planning processes, for example through International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List assessments and population viability analysis. Imputed vital rates could be useful in this context but, as for any estimated model parameters, awareness of the sensitivities of demographic model outputs to the imputed vital rates is essential.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cobi.13658DOI Listing
October 2020

Contributions of protein and milled chitin extracted from domestic cricket powder to emulsion stabilization.

Curr Res Food Sci 2019 Nov 28;1:17-23. Epub 2019 Sep 28.

Purdue University, Department of Food Science, West Lafayette, IN, USA.

Interfacial and emulsifying properties of fractionated cricket powder were assessed to identify whether emulsification properties originate from protein or chitin particles. Fractions extracted in alkaline water, containing high protein and mineral contents, increased the surface pressure of heptane-water interfaces with near-saturation equilibrium surface pressure of 31 mN/m. Dynamic surface pressure profiles indicated adsorption of protein clusters to the interface. Emulsification capacity of protein fraction was 50% greater than that of the source cricket flour, although oil-in-water emulsions prepared with 1-2% (w/w) protein fraction formed a cream layer within one day of storage. Emulsified layers persisted for up to 20 days, and light scattering measurements described a stable population with surface-volume-mean diameter of approximately 3 μm. Chitin-rich fractions milled to a particle size of 0.5-200 μm contributed negligible surface pressure, and its emulsification capacity was 5% of the value for the source cricket flour. Emulsions prepared with chitin-rich fractions coexisted with an unstable precipitate layer comprising 60% of the added solid, which was attributed to larger particles with poor emulsifying capability. Stable chitin-stabilized emulsion phases were resistant to creaming, yet volume-mean droplet diameter surpassed 50 μm within 24 h of storage. Both protein and chitin fractions have emulsifying capabilities but would require further processing or secondary additives to achieve desirable storage stability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crfs.2019.09.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473374PMC
November 2019

The diel pattern in harbour porpoise clicking behaviour is not a response to prey activity.

Sci Rep 2020 09 10;10(1):14876. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

Marine Biological Research Centre, Department of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Hindsholmvej 11, 5300, Kerteminde, Denmark.

Wild harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) mainly forage during the night and, because they rely on echolocation to detect their prey, this is also when they are most acoustically active. It has been hypothesised that this activity pattern is a response to the diel behaviour of their major prey species. To test this hypothesis, we monitored the acoustic activity of two captive harbour porpoises held in a net pen continuously during a full year and fed by their human keepers during daylight hours, thus removing the influence of prey activity. The porpoises were exposed to similar temperature and ambient light conditions as free-ranging animals living in the same region. Throughout the year, there was a pronounced diel pattern in acoustic activity of the porpoises, with significantly greater activity at night, and a clear peak around sunrise and sunset throughout the year. Clicking activity was not dependent on lunar illumination or water level. Because the porpoises in the pen are fed and trained during daylight hours, the results indicate that factors other than fish behaviour are strongly influencing the diel clicking behaviour pattern of the species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-71957-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7483526PMC
September 2020

Census data aggregation decisions can affect population-level inference in heterogeneous populations.

Ecol Evol 2020 Jul 25;10(14):7487-7496. Epub 2020 Jun 25.

Department of Biology University of Southern Denmark Odense Denmark.

Conservation and population management decisions often rely on population models parameterized using census data. However, the sampling regime, precision, sample size, and methods used to collect census data are usually heterogeneous in time and space. Decisions about how to derive population-wide estimates from this patchwork of data are complicated and may bias estimated population dynamics, with important implications for subsequent management decisions.Here, we explore the impact of site selection and data aggregation decisions on pup survival estimates, and downstream estimates derived from parameterized matrix population models (MPMs), using a long-term dataset on grey seal () pup survival from southwestern Wales. The spatiotemporal and methodological heterogeneity of the data are fairly typical for ecological census data and it is, therefore, a good model to address this topic.Data were collected from 46 sampling locations (sites) over 25 years, and we explore the impact of data handling decisions by varying how years and sampling locations are combined to parameterize pup survival in population-level MPMs. We focus on pup survival because abundant high-quality data are available on this developmental stage.We found that survival probability was highly variable with most variation being at the site level, and poorly correlated among sampling sites. This variation could generate marked differences in predicted population dynamics depending on sampling strategy. The sample size required for a confident survival estimate also varied markedly geographically.We conclude that for populations with highly variable vital rates among sub-populations, site selection and data aggregation methods are important. In particular, including peripheral or less frequently used areas can introduce substantial variation into population estimates. This is likely to be context-dependent, but these choices, including the use of appropriate weights when summarizing across sampling areas, should be explored to ensure that management actions are successful.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6475DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7391327PMC
July 2020

Evolution of Muscular Oxygenation during a Walking Test in Preterm Children.

J Pediatr 2020 12 1;227:142-148.e1. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

ILFOMER, Institut Limousin de Formation aux Métiers de la Réadaptation, Limoges, France; Laboratoire HAVAE, EA6310, Université de Limoges, Limoges, France. Electronic address:

Objective: To explore measures of peripheral muscular oxygenation, coupled to gait characteristics, between preterm and full-term children during a 6-minute walking test (6MWT).

Study Design: Prepubescent children performed a 6MWT. During the test, changes in muscular oxyhemoglobin, deoxyhemoglobin, and total hemoglobin were measured with Near-infrared spectroscopy technology, positioned on subjects' calves. Gait variables were monitored with the OptoGait system.

Results: Forty-five children (33 full-term children and 12 preterm children, mean age, 4.9 ± 0.7 and 4.6 ± 0.9 years, respectively) participated in this study. Statistical analysis highlighted a decreased walking performance for preterm children, with significantly lower walking distance (P < .05) than children born full-term (405.1 ± 91.8 m vs 461.0 ± 73.3 m respectively; -9%). A concomitant increase of oxygen extraction (over the time course of Variation of desoxyhemoglobin) was observed from the third minute of the test (P < .05). No statistically significant difference was found for other near-infrared spectroscopy measures. Finally, the analysis of gait variables highlighted a group effect for walking speed (P < .05) and stride length (P < .01).

Conclusions: Premature children showed decreased walking performance and greater change in peripheral muscular oxygen extraction, associated with slower walking speed and stride length. This may point to a muscular maladjustment and reduced functional capacities for children born preterm. These phenomena could be responsible for greater muscular fatigue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.07.082DOI Listing
December 2020

Effect of Probiotic Use on Antibiotic Administration Among Care Home Residents: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

JAMA 2020 07;324(1):47-56

Primary Care and Population Sciences Unit, University of Southampton, Aldermoor Health Centre, Aldermoor Close, Southampton, United Kingdom.

Importance: Probiotics are frequently used by residents in care homes (residential homes or nursing homes that provide residents with 24-hour support for personal care or nursing care), although the evidence on whether probiotics prevent infections and reduce antibiotic use in these settings is limited.

Objective: To determine whether a daily oral probiotic combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis BB-12 compared with placebo reduces antibiotic administration in care home residents.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial of 310 care home residents, aged 65 years and older, recruited from 23 care homes in the United Kingdom between December 2016 and May 2018, with last follow-up on October 31, 2018.

Interventions: Study participants were randomized to receive a daily capsule containing a probiotic combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis BB-12 (total cell count per capsule, 1.3 × 1010 to 1.6 × 1010) (n = 155), or daily matched placebo (n = 155), for up to 1 year.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The primary outcome was cumulative antibiotic administration days for all-cause infections measured from randomization for up to 1 year.

Results: Among 310 randomized care home residents (mean age, 85.3 years; 66.8% women), 195 (62.9%) remained alive and completed the trial. Participant diary data (daily data including study product use, antibiotic administration, and signs of infection) were available for 98.7% randomized to the probiotic group and 97.4% randomized to placebo. Care home residents randomized to the probiotic group had a mean of 12.9 cumulative systemic antibiotic administration days (95% CI, 0 to 18.05), and residents randomized to placebo had a mean of 12.0 days (95% CI, 0 to 16.95) (absolute difference, 0.9 days [95% CI, -3.25 to 5.05]; adjusted incidence rate ratio, 1.13 [95% CI, 0.79 to 1.63]; P = .50). A total of 120 care home residents experienced 283 adverse events (150 adverse events in the probiotic group and 133 in the placebo group). Hospitalizations accounted for 94 of the events in probiotic group and 78 events in the placebo group, and deaths accounted for 33 of the events in the probiotic group and 32 of the events in the placebo group.

Conclusions And Relevance: Among care home residents in the United Kingdom, a daily dose of a probiotic combination of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp lactis BB-12 did not significantly reduce antibiotic administration for all-cause infections. These findings do not support the use of probiotics in this setting.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN Identifier:16392920.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.8556DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7341173PMC
July 2020

Electrospinning Induced Orientation of Protein Fibrils.

Biomacromolecules 2020 07 8;21(7):2772-2785. Epub 2020 Jun 8.

Department of Food Science and Technology, The Ohio State University, 2015 Fyffe Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43210, United States.

Amyloid-like fibrils are prepared from protein in the lab by controlled heat treatments, yet these must be further assembled to match the desirable mechanical and structural properties of biological fibers. Here, β-lactoglobulin fibrils were incorporated into poly(ethylene oxide) fibers of 40-180 nm diameter by electrospinning. Protein fibrils presented as short segments dispersed within electrospun fibers, with no change in fibril diameter after electrospinning. Imaging analysis revealed fibrils were aligned within 20° relative to the fiber long axis, and alignment was further confirmed by polarized FTIR and anisotropic SAXS/WAXS scattering patterns. The elastic modulus of fibers increased with protein fibril content from 0.8 to 2 GPa, which is superior to reported values of silk, collagen, and gelatin. The present setup allows for manufacture of large quantities of polymeric fibers containing protein fibrils with varied diameter and mechanical strength, endowing great potential for a variety of applications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.biomac.0c00500DOI Listing
July 2020

Rheology, microstructure and phase behavior of potato starch-protein fibril mixed gel.

Carbohydr Polym 2020 Jul 9;239:116247. Epub 2020 Apr 9.

Purdue University, Department of Food Science, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States; Purdue University, Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, 745 Agriculture Mall Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47907, United States. Electronic address:

Effects of adding whey protein fibrils to gels of potato starch with 8 % solids content were determined by rheology, microscopy, and calorimetry. Adding fibrils to starch at 50 % content (w/w) increased starch gelatinization temperature by 1.5 °C but decreased associated enthalpy. Fibril addition consistently reduced gel viscosity. Storage modulus (G') of gels increased with fibril content when prepared at pH3.5 but not at pH6.8. Fibrils were dispersed within imaged gels at pH3.5 for contents below 50 %, while separated phases were observed within pH3.5 gels for 50 % fibril content and within pH6.8 gels for all fibril contents. Dilution of gels led to sedimentation of predominantly starch, and both starch and protein content of sediment increased with overall fibril content. Results indicated that associative interactions between fibrils and starch contributed to synergistic increases in gel elasticity at low pH but not at neutral pH conditions under which starch and protein were poorly compatible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2020.116247DOI Listing
July 2020

Harnessing Fiber Diameter-Dependent Effects of Myoblasts Toward Biomimetic Scaffold-Based Skeletal Muscle Regeneration.

Front Bioeng Biotechnol 2020 24;8:203. Epub 2020 Mar 24.

Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States.

Regeneration of skeletal muscles is limited in cases of volumetric muscle loss and muscle degenerative diseases. Therefore, there is a critical need for developing strategies that provide cellular and structural support for skeletal muscle regeneration. In the present work, a bioengineered cell niche composed of mechanically competent aligned polyester fiber scaffolds is developed to mimic the oriented muscle fiber microenvironment by electrospinning poly(lactide--glycolide) (PLGA) using a custom-designed rotating collector with interspaced parallel blades. Aligned fiber scaffolds with fiber diameters ranging from 335 ± 154 nm to 3013 ± 531 nm are characterized for their bioactivities in supporting growth and differentiation of myoblasts. During culture, polymeric scaffolds with larger fiber diameter support enhanced alignment, growth, and differentiation of myoblasts associated with phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and upregulated expression of myogenin and myosin heavy chain. studies using a dystrophin-deficient mdx mouse model show that optimized fiber scaffolds seeded with primary myoblasts result in formation of dystrophin-positive myofibers network in tibialis anterior muscles. Collectively, these experiments provide critical insights on harnessing interactions between muscle cells and engineered fiber matrices to develop effective biomaterials for accelerated muscle regeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fbioe.2020.00203DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7105569PMC
March 2020

Genetic structure of the European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) in Denmark.

PLoS One 2020 17;15(1):e0227205. Epub 2020 Jan 17.

Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, Section of Biotechnology, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark.

Objectives: Low genetic diversity can lead to reduced average fitness in a population or even extinction. Preserving genetic connectivity across fragmented landscapes is therefore vital to counteract the negative consequences of genetic drift and inbreeding. This study aimed to assess the genetic composition and consequently the conservation status of a nationwide sample of European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) in Denmark.

Methods: We applied an adaptation of the genotyping by sequencing (GBS) technique to 178 individuals from six geographically distinct populations. We used a Bayesian clustering method to subdivide individuals into genetically distinct populations. We estimated individual observed (iHO), observed (HO), and unbiased expected (uHE) heterozygosity, inbreeding coefficient (FIS), percentage of polymorphic loci (P%) and tested for deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE). We used linear models to test for potential anthropogenic effects on the genetic variability of hedgehogs with iHO, uHE, P% and FIS as response variables, and assessed the demographic history of the population.

Results: The Danish hedgehog population is composed of three genetic clusters. We found a mean P% of 54.44-94.71, a mean uHE of 0.126-0.318 and a mean HO of 0.124-0.293 in the six populations. The FIS was found to be significantly positive for three of the six populations. We detected a large heterogeneity of iHO values within populations, which can be due to inbreeding and/or fragmentation. FIS values decreased with increasing farmland density, but there was no significant association with human population or road density.

Conclusions: We found a low level of genetic variability and evidence for genetic substructure and low effective population size, which are all consequences of habitat fragmentation. We failed to detect signs of a recent population bottleneck or population increase or decline. However, because the test only identifies recent changes in population size, we cannot reject the possibility of a longer-term decline in the Danish hedgehog population.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0227205PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6968871PMC
April 2020

The ecology of suburban juvenile European hedgehogs () in Denmark.

Ecol Evol 2019 Dec 31;9(23):13174-13187. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Department of Biology University of Southern Denmark Odense M Denmark.

European hedgehog () populations are widespread across diverse habitats but are declining in Western Europe. Drastic declines have been described in the UK, with the most severe declines occurring in rural areas. Hedgehogs are widely distributed in Denmark, but their status remains unknown.Fieldwork on hedgehogs has tended to focus on rural areas, leaving their ecology in suburban habitats largely unexplored, with clear implications for conservation initiatives. Here, we study the ecology of 35 juvenile hedgehogs using radio tracking during their first year of life in the suburbs of western Copenhagen.We use radio-tracking data to estimate (a) home range sizes in autumn and spring/summer, (b) survival during their first year of life, (c) the body mass changes before, during, and after hibernation, and (d) the hibernation behavior of the juvenile hedgehogs.We show that males and females have small home ranges compared with previous studies. The 95% MCP home range sizes in autumn were 1.33 ha (95% CI = 0.88-2.00) for males and 1.40 ha (95% CI = 0.84-2.32) for females; for spring/summer they were 6.54 ha (95% CI = 3.76-11.38) for males and 1.51 ha (95% CI = 0.63-3.63) for females. The juvenile survival probabilities during the study period from September 2014 to July 2015 were .56 for females and .79 for males. All healthy individuals gained body mass during the autumn and survived hibernation with little body mass loss thus demonstrating that the juveniles in the study were capable of gaining sufficient weight in the wild to survive their first hibernation.The climate is changing, but there is a lack of knowledge on how this affects mammal ecology. The exceptionally mild autumn of 2014 caused the juvenile hedgehogs to delay hibernation for up to a month compared with previous studies in Denmark.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.5764DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6912878PMC
December 2019

Differential improvement of negative-symptom subfactors after cognitive remediation in low-functioning individuals with schizophrenia.

Schizophr Res Cogn 2020 Mar 17;19:100145. Epub 2019 Apr 17.

Manhattan Psychiatric Center, 600 East 125 Street Wards Island, New York, NY 10035, USA.

Background: Negative symptoms and cognitive deficits have a substantial predictive value for functional deficits and recovery in schizophrenia. However, the relationship between negative symptoms and cognitive abnormalities is unclear possibly due to the heterogeneity of negative symptoms. This study used the model of expressive and experiential negative symptoms subfactors to decrease this heterogeneity. It examined these subfactors and cognition before and after treatment with computerized cognitive remediation training (CRT) in chronically-hospitalized individuals with psychosis and predominant negative symptoms.

Methods: Seventy-eight adult participants with a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder were enrolled in a 12-week CRT program. Assessments of demographic and illness variables, baseline and endpoint assessments of psychopathology (Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale) and cognition (MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery - MCCB) were conducted.

Results: The baseline expressive negative subfactor was associated with Processing Speed (r = -0.352,  ≤ 0.001) and Reasoning/Problem Solving (r = -0.338,  ≤ 0.001). Following CRT, there was a significant decrease in the experiential negative subfactor ( < 0.01) but not of the expressive negative subfactor. Change in MCCB domains after CRT accounted for 51.1% and 50.2% of the variance of change in expressive and experiential negative subfactor scores, respectively. For both subfactors, Visual Learning was a significant predictor of change ( < 0.05).

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that CRT has benefits for negative symptoms in very low-functioning patients and that this change may be in part mediated by change in cognitive functions after CRT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scog.2019.100145DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6889361PMC
March 2020

Demographic amplification is a predictor of invasiveness among plants.

Nat Commun 2019 12 6;10(1):5602. Epub 2019 Dec 6.

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, UK, TR10 9FE.

Invasive plant species threaten native biodiversity, ecosystems, agriculture, industry and human health worldwide, lending urgency to the search for predictors of plant invasiveness outside native ranges. There is much conflicting evidence about which plant characteristics best predict invasiveness. Here we use a global demographic survey for over 500 plant species to show that populations of invasive plants have better potential to recover from disturbance than non-invasives, even when measured in the native range. Invasives have high stable population growth rates in their invaded ranges, but this metric cannot be predicted based on measurements in the native ranges. Recovery from demographic disturbance is a measure of transient population amplification, linked to high levels of reproduction, and shows phylogenetic signal. Our results demonstrate that transient population dynamics and reproductive capacity can help to predict invasiveness across the plant kingdom, and should guide international policy on trade and movement of plants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13556-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6897985PMC
December 2019

Tumor Necrosis Factor-α-Mediated Metaplastic Inhibition of LTP Is Constitutively Engaged in an Alzheimer's Disease Model.

J Neurosci 2019 11 30;39(46):9083-9097. Epub 2019 Sep 30.

Department of Psychology, Brain Health Research Centre, Brain Research New Zealand, University of Otago, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand

LTP, a fundamental mechanism of learning and memory, is a highly regulated process. One form of regulation is metaplasticity (i.e., the activity-dependent and long-lasting changes in neuronal state that orchestrate the direction, magnitude, and persistence of future synaptic plasticity). We have previously described a heterodendritic metaplasticity effect, whereby strong high-frequency priming stimulation in stratum oriens inhibits subsequent LTP in the stratum radiatum of hippocampal area CA1, potentially by engagement of the enmeshed astrocytic network. This effect may occur due to neuron-glia interactions in response to priming stimulation that leads to the release of gliotransmitters. Here we found in male rats that TNFα and associated signal transduction enzymes, but not interleukin-1β (IL-1β), were responsible for mediating the metaplasticity effect. Replacing priming stimulation with TNFα incubation reproduced these effects. As TNFα levels are elevated in Alzheimer's disease, we examined whether heterodendritic metaplasticity is dysregulated in a transgenic mouse model of the disease, either before or after amyloid plaque formation. We showed that TNFα and IL-1β levels were significantly increased in aged but not young transgenic mice. Although control LTP was impaired in the young transgenic mice, it was not TNFα-dependent. In the older transgenic mice, however, LTP was impaired in a way that occluded further reduction by heterosynaptic metaplasticity, whereas LTP was entirely rescued by incubation with a TNFα antibody, but not an IL-1β antibody. Thus, TNFα mediates a heterodendritic metaplasticity in healthy rodents that becomes constitutively and selectively engaged in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. The proinflammatory cytokine TNFα is known to be capable of inhibiting LTP and is upregulated several-fold in brain tissue, serum, and CSF of Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. However, the mechanistic roles played by TNFα in plasticity and AD remain poorly understood. Here we show that TNFα and its downstream signaling molecules p38 MAPK, ERK, and JNK contribute fundamentally to a long-range metaplastic inhibition of LTP in rats. Moreover, the impaired LTP in aged mice is rescued by incubation with a TNFα antibody. Thus, there is an endogenous engagement of the metaplasticity mechanism in this mouse model of AD, supporting the idea that blocking TNFα might be of therapeutic benefit in the disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1492-19.2019DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6855674PMC
November 2019

European hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus) as a natural reservoir of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus carrying mecC in Denmark.

PLoS One 2019 6;14(9):e0222031. Epub 2019 Sep 6.

Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Objectives: A recent study from Sweden showed that European hedgehogs may constitute a reservoir for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), but this host-parasite relationship remains to be investigated in other countries. In this study, we therefore sought to: 1) determine the dissemination of MRSA in European hedgehogs throughout Denmark; 2) investigate determinants of MRSA carriage in hedgehogs; 3) determine the potential for zoonotic transmission of MRSA from hedgehogs to humans; and 4) characterise the detected MRSA on both a phenotypic and molecular level.

Methods: Nasal swabs were taken from 188 dead hedgehogs collected by volunteers throughout Denmark to determine the occurrence of MRSA. Additionally, 16 hedgehog rehabilitators were tested for potential zoonotic transmission of MRSA from hedgehogs to humans. The swabs were incubated in tryptic soy broth supplemented with 6.5% NaCl, followed by spread of 10 μl on Brilliance MRSA 2 agar. One presumptive MRSA colony from each plate was subcultured on 5% blood agar. All S. aureus subcultures were verified by a PCR assay detecting mecA, mecC, lukF-PV, scn, and spa, followed by spa typing.

Results: A total of 114 (61%) hedgehogs carried mecC-MRSA, whereas none carried mecA-MRSA. The detected mecC-MRSA belonged to two genetic lineages CC130 (spa-types: t528, t843, t1048, t3256, t3570, t6220, t17133) and CC1943 (spa-types: t978, t2345, t3391, t8835, t16868), 52% of which were spa-type t843 (CC130).The detection rate of mecC-MRSA in the hedgehogs was similar regardless of cause of death, sex, region and habitat type. None of the hedgehog rehabilitators carried MRSA.

Conclusions: This nationwide study confirms a high occurrence of mecC-MRSA in hedgehogs, which could serve as a natural reservoir for this specific type of MRSA. Furthermore, our study did not find signs of zoonotic transmission of mecC-MRSA to hedgehog rehabilitators.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0222031PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6730924PMC
March 2020

Is plasticity of synapses the mechanism of long-term memory storage?

NPJ Sci Learn 2019 2;4. Epub 2019 Jul 2.

2Departments of Integrative Biology and Physiology, and Neurobiology, and the Brain Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095 USA.

It has been 70 years since Donald Hebb published his formalized theory of synaptic adaptation during learning. Hebb's seminal work foreshadowed some of the great neuroscientific discoveries of the following decades, including the discovery of long-term potentiation and other lasting forms of synaptic plasticity, and more recently the residence of memories in synaptically connected neuronal assemblies. Our understanding of the processes underlying learning and memory has been dominated by the view that synapses are the principal site of information storage in the brain. This view has received substantial support from research in several model systems, with the vast majority of studies on the topic corroborating a role for synapses in memory storage. Yet, despite the neuroscience community's best efforts, we are still without conclusive proof that memories reside at synapses. Furthermore, an increasing number of non-synaptic mechanisms have emerged that are also capable of acting as memory substrates. In this review, we address the key findings from the synaptic plasticity literature that make these phenomena such attractive memory mechanisms. We then turn our attention to evidence that questions the reliance of memory exclusively on changes at the synapse and attempt to integrate these opposing views.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41539-019-0048-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6606636PMC
July 2019

Animal life history is shaped by the pace of life and the distribution of age-specific mortality and reproduction.

Nat Ecol Evol 2019 08 8;3(8):1217-1224. Epub 2019 Jul 8.

School of Natural Sciences, Zoology, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.

Animals exhibit an extraordinary diversity of life history strategies. These realized combinations of survival, development and reproduction are predicted to be constrained by physiological limitations and by trade-offs in resource allocation. However, our understanding of these patterns is restricted to a few taxonomic groups. Using demographic data from 121 species, ranging from humans to sponges, we test whether such trade-offs universally shape animal life history strategies. We show that, after accounting for body mass and phylogenetic relatedness, 71% of the variation in animal life history strategies can be explained by life history traits associated with the fast-slow continuum (pace of life) and with a second axis defined by the distribution of age-specific mortality hazards and the spread of reproduction. While we found that life history strategies are associated with metabolic rate and ecological modes of life, surprisingly similar life history strategies can be found across the phylogenetic and physiological diversity of animals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0938-7DOI Listing
August 2019

Protocol for a double-blind placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of probiotics in reducing antibiotics for infection in care home residents: the Probiotics to Reduce Infections iN CarE home reSidentS (PRINCESS) trial.

BMJ Open 2019 06 20;9(6):e027513. Epub 2019 Jun 20.

Clinical Trials Unit, Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

Introduction: Care home residents are at increased risk of infections and antibiotic prescription. Reduced antibiotic use from fewer infections would improve quality of life. The robiotics to educe nfections iar home reident (PRINCESS) trial aims to determine the efficacy and investigate mechanisms of daily probiotics on antibiotic use and incidence of infections in care home residents.

Methods And Analysis: PRINCESS is a double-blind, individually randomised, placebo-controlled trial that will assess the effect of a daily oral probiotic combination of GG (LGG) and subsp. , BB-12 (BB-12) on cumulative antibiotic administration days (CAADs) (primary outcome) for infection in up to 330 care home residents aged ≥65 years over up to 12 months. Secondary outcomes include: Total number of days of antibiotic administration for each infection type (respiratory tract infection, urinary tract infection, gastrointestinal infection, unexplained fever and other); number, site, duration of infection; estimation of incidence and duration of diarrhoea and antibiotic-associated diarrhoea; : infection; Gram-negative Enterobacteriaceae and vancomycin-resistant enterococci; LGG and BB-12. spp. Self and/or proxy health-related quality of life EQ5D (5 L); self-and/or proxy-reported ICEpop CAPability measure for older people. number and duration of all-cause hospital stays. deaths. influenza vaccine efficacy (haemagglutination inhibition assay and antibody titres); full blood count and immune cell phenotypes, plasma cytokines and chemokines; cytokine and chemokine response in whole blood stimulated by toll-like receptor 2 and 4 agonists; monocyte and neutrophil phagocytosis of ; serum vitamin D.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethics approval is from the Wales Research Ethics Committee 3. Findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals and conferences; results will be of interest to patient and policy stakeholders.

Trial Registration Number: ISRCTN16392920; Pre-results.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027513DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6596947PMC
June 2019

Assembled protein nanoparticles in food or nutrition applications.

Adv Food Nutr Res 2019 15;88:47-84. Epub 2019 Feb 15.

Department of Food Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States. Electronic address:

Proteins are one of the essential components of nutritional food materials and an excellent source for food-grade nanomaterials. This review focuses on select examples of nanoparticles assembled naturally, found in food-relevant materials, major approaches in assembling nanoscale structure from proteins, and general applications of protein nanoparticles in food or nutrition. Animal-sourced casein and non-animal grain storage proteins and legume storage proteins are discussed in terms of their structural assemblies. Protein solubility is a key factor in assembling protein nanoparticles with desired functional properties. Desolvation is the most common technique to prepare protein nanoparticles for insoluble proteins. Well-hydrated protein assemblies have been extensively studied through electrostatic complexes, assembled with fatty acid and starch, reassembled protein structure, and nanogels. These protein-based nanoparticles have been utilized for filler materials of films, encapsulation of bioactive molecules, and stabilization of emulsions. Most studies exploiting protein-based nanoparticles have focused on developing technologies in extraction of proteins from sources and assembly of nanoparticles in different environmental conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.afnr.2019.01.002DOI Listing
December 2019

Data gaps and opportunities for comparative and conservation biology.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2019 05 19;116(19):9658-9664. Epub 2019 Apr 19.

Interdisciplinary Center on Population Dynamics, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense M, Denmark;

Biodiversity loss is a major challenge. Over the past century, the average rate of vertebrate extinction has been about 100-fold higher than the estimated background rate and population declines continue to increase globally. Birth and death rates determine the pace of population increase or decline, thus driving the expansion or extinction of a species. Design of species conservation policies hence depends on demographic data (e.g., for extinction risk assessments or estimation of harvesting quotas). However, an overview of the accessible data, even for better known taxa, is lacking. Here, we present the Demographic Species Knowledge Index, which classifies the available information for 32,144 (97%) of extant described mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. We show that only 1.3% of the tetrapod species have comprehensive information on birth and death rates. We found no demographic measures, not even crude ones such as maximum life span or typical litter/clutch size, for 65% of threatened tetrapods. More field studies are needed; however, some progress can be made by digitalizing existing knowledge, by imputing data from related species with similar life histories, and by using information from captive populations. We show that data from zoos and aquariums in the Species360 network can significantly improve knowledge for an almost eightfold gain. Assessing the landscape of limited demographic knowledge is essential to prioritize ways to fill data gaps. Such information is urgently needed to implement management strategies to conserve at-risk taxa and to discover new unifying concepts and evolutionary relationships across thousands of tetrapod species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1816367116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6511006PMC
May 2019

Impacts of Size and Deformability of β-Lactoglobulin Microgels on the Colloidal Stability and Volatile Flavor Release of Microgel-Stabilized Emulsions.

Gels 2018 Sep 15;4(3). Epub 2018 Sep 15.

Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2009, USA.

Emulsions can be prepared from protein microgel particles as an alternative to traditional emulsifiers. Prior experiments have indicated that smaller and more deformable microgels would decrease both the physical destabilization of emulsions and the diffusion-based losses of entrapped volatile molecules. The microgels were prepared from β-lactoglobulin with an average diameter of 150 nm, 231 nm, or 266 nm; large microgels were cross-linked to decrease their deformability. Dilute emulsions of 15⁻50 μm diameter were prepared with microgels by high shear mixing. Light scattering and microscopy showed that the emulsions prepared with larger, untreated microgels possessed a larger initial droplet size, but were resistant to droplet growth during storage or after acidification, increased ionic strength, and exposure to surfactants. The emulsions prepared with cross-linked microgels emulsions were the least resistant to flocculation, creaming, and shrinkage. All emulsion droplets shrank as limonene was lost during storage, and the inability of microgels to desorb caused droplets to become non-spherical. The microgels were not displaced by Tween 20 but were displaced by excess sodium dodecyl sulfate. Hexanol diffusion and associated shrinkage of pendant droplets was not prevented by any of the microgels, yet the rate of shrinkage was reduced with the largest microgels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/gels4030079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6209270PMC
September 2018

The diversity of population responses to environmental change.

Ecol Lett 2019 Feb 9;22(2):342-353. Epub 2018 Dec 9.

Université Lyon 1, CNRS, UMR 5558, Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, F-69622, Villeurbanne, France.

The current extinction and climate change crises pressure us to predict population dynamics with ever-greater accuracy. Although predictions rest on the well-advanced theory of age-structured populations, two key issues remain poorly explored. Specifically, how the age-dependency in demographic rates and the year-to-year interactions between survival and fecundity affect stochastic population growth rates. We use inference, simulations and mathematical derivations to explore how environmental perturbations determine population growth rates for populations with different age-specific demographic rates and when ages are reduced to stages. We find that stage- vs. age-based models can produce markedly divergent stochastic population growth rates. The differences are most pronounced when there are survival-fecundity-trade-offs, which reduce the variance in the population growth rate. Finally, the expected value and variance of the stochastic growth rates of populations with different age-specific demographic rates can diverge to the extent that, while some populations may thrive, others will inevitably go extinct.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6378614PMC
February 2019

Towards global data products of Essential Biodiversity Variables on species traits.

Nat Ecol Evol 2018 10 17;2(10):1531-1540. Epub 2018 Sep 17.

Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs) allow observation and reporting of global biodiversity change, but a detailed framework for the empirical derivation of specific EBVs has yet to be developed. Here, we re-examine and refine the previous candidate set of species traits EBVs and show how traits related to phenology, morphology, reproduction, physiology and movement can contribute to EBV operationalization. The selected EBVs express intra-specific trait variation and allow monitoring of how organisms respond to global change. We evaluate the societal relevance of species traits EBVs for policy targets and demonstrate how open, interoperable and machine-readable trait data enable the building of EBV data products. We outline collection methods, meta(data) standardization, reproducible workflows, semantic tools and licence requirements for producing species traits EBVs. An operationalization is critical for assessing progress towards biodiversity conservation and sustainable development goals and has wide implications for data-intensive science in ecology, biogeography, conservation and Earth observation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0667-3DOI Listing
October 2018

Routine use of HbA1c amongst inpatients hospitalised with decompensated heart failure and the association of dysglycaemia with outcomes.

Sci Rep 2018 09 10;8(1):13564. Epub 2018 Sep 10.

Department of Endocrinology, Austin Health, Heidelberg, 3084, Victoria, Australia.

Diabetes is an independent risk factor for development of heart failure and has been associated with poor outcomes in these patients. The prevalence of diabetes continues to rise. Using routine HbA1c measurements on inpatients at a tertiary hospital, we aimed to investigate the prevalence of diabetes amongst patients hospitalised with decompensated heart failure and the association of dysglycaemia with hospital outcomes and mortality. 1191 heart failure admissions were identified and of these, 49% had diabetes (HbA1c ≥ 6.5%) and 34% had pre-diabetes (HbA1c 5.7-6.4%). Using a multivariable analysis adjusting for age, Charlson comorbidity score (excluding diabetes and age) and estimated glomerular filtration rate, diabetes was not associated with length of stay (LOS), Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission or 28-day readmission. However, diabetes was associated with a lower risk of 6-month mortality. This finding was also supported using HbA1c as a continuous variable. The diabetes group were more likely to have diastolic dysfunction and to be on evidence-based cardiac medications. These observational data are hypothesis generating and possible explanations include that more diabetic patients were on medications that have proven mortality benefit or prevent cardiac remodelling, such as renin-angiotensin system antagonists, which may modulate the severity of heart failure and its consequences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-31473-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6131544PMC
September 2018

Interactions Between Flavonoid-Rich Extracts and Sodium Caseinate Modulate Protein Functionality and Flavonoid Bioaccessibility in Model Food Systems.

J Food Sci 2018 May 27;83(5):1229-1236. Epub 2018 Apr 27.

Dept. of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science, North Carolina State Univ. - Plants for Human Health Inst., 600 Laureate Way, Kannapolis, NC 28081, U.S.A.

With growing interest in formulating new food products with added protein and flavonoid-rich ingredients for health benefits, direct interactions between these ingredient classes becomes critical in so much as they may impact protein functionality, product quality, and flavonoids bioavailability. In this study, sodium caseinate (SCN)-based model products (foams and emulsions) were formulated with grape seed extract (GSE, rich in galloylated flavonoids) and green tea extract (GTE, rich in nongalloylated flavonoids), respectively, to assess changes in functional properties of SCN and impacts on flavonoid bioaccessibility. Experiments with pure flavonoids suggested that galloylated flavonoids reduced air-water interfacial tension of 0.01% SCN dispersions more significantly than nongalloylated flavonoids at high concentrations (>50 μg/mL). This observation was supported by changes in stability of 5% SCN foam, which showed that foam stability was increased at high levels of GSE (≥50 μg/mL, P < 0.05) but was not affected by GTE. However, flavonoid extracts had modest effects on SCN emulsion. In addition, galloylated flavonoids had higher bioaccessibility in both SCN foam and emulsion. These results suggest that SCN-flavonoid binding interactions can modulate protein functionality leading to difference in performance and flavonoid bioaccessibility of protein-based products.

Practical Application: As information on the beneficial health effects of flavonoids expands, it is likely that usage of these ingredients in consumer foods will increase. However, the necessary levels to provide such benefits may exceed those that begin to impact functionality of the macronutrients such as proteins. Flavonoid inclusion within protein matrices may modulate protein functionality in a food system and modify critical consumer traits or delivery of these beneficial plant-derived components. The product matrices utilized in this study offer relevant model systems to evaluate how fortification with flavonoid-rich extracts allows for differing effects on formability and stability of the protein-based systems, and on bioaccessibility of fortified flavonoid extracts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1750-3841.14132DOI Listing
May 2018