This proposal's main objective is to improve the nutritional value of food raw materials and fermented food products. This will be accomplished by increasing the level of nutraceuticals in food products of dairy and soy origin. The targeted nutraceuticals are low-calory-sugars, digestion-stimulating oligosaccharides and essential B-vitamins. These components will all be produced by food-grade microorganisms. In addition, some undesirable sugars such as lactose, galactose and raffinose will be selectively removed from either dairy or soy-containing food products. The involvement of industrial partners in the area of dairy, nutritional foods and starter production ensures dissemination of the scientific results in a broad range of Food (and Pharma) applications.
The objectives are to improve the nutritional value of foods by either fermentation with nutraceutical-producing food-grade microorganisms, by addition of nutraceuticals produced as ingredients by the bacterial cells or by direct (oral) delivery of the nutraceutical-producing microorganism to stimulate food digestion.
The health-promoting foods or food components ("Nutraceuticals") targeted in this proposal can be categorised into five groups;
- No- or low-calory sugars such as mannitol and trehalose.
- Dairy products or dairy components with low lactose and/or galactose content and bacterial (starter) cultures with high lactose/galactose utilising activities.
- Soy products with low raffinose content and bacterial (starter) cultures with high raffinose-converting activity.
- Oligosaccharides as stimulants for the digestive system.
- B-vitamins such as folic acid (B11) and riboflavin (B2).
These five groups of food components will be enhanced in different foods through production or converting-activity of specific food-grade microorganisms. The nutraceutical-producing microorganisms will either be directly selected from natural sources, or induced for high production by specific fermentation conditions, or modified by food-grade genetic engineering techniques. The resulting strains and production processes will be implemented in food fermentation by the technological involvement of industrial experts.
R & D via line A will yield scientific results within one or two years and development of new or improved foods will be possible within three years. These potential products can be launched on the Food Market on short term basis since only natural strains are involved.
The scientific results obtained via r & d line B will become available after two to three years and the subsequent food products after three to four years. The results obtained will be more spectacular in the sense of bigger improvements in health status of the foods and food ingredients, but introduction on the Food (or Pharma) Market will be on a long term basis since genetically modified microorganism are involved.