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Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2012;3:79-104. doi: 10.1146/annurev-food-022811-101127. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Biochemical basis for functional ingredient design from fruits.

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Department of Food Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada.


Functional food ingredients (nutraceuticals) in fruits range from small molecular components, such as the secondary plant products, to macromolecular entities, e.g., pectin and cellulose, that provide several health benefits. In fruits, the most visible functional ingredients are the color components anthocyanins and carotenoids. In addition, several other secondary plant products, including terpenes, show health beneficial activities. A common feature of several functional ingredients is their antioxidant function. For example, reactive oxygen species (ROS) can be oxidized and stabilized by flavonoid components, and the flavonoid radical can undergo electron rearrangement stabilizing the flavonoid radical. Compounds that possess an orthodihydroxy or quinone structure can interact with cellular proteins in the Keap1/Nrf2/ARE pathway to activate the gene transcription of antioxidant enzymes. Carotenoids and flavonoids can also exert their action by modulating the signal transduction and gene expression within the cell. Recent results suggest that these activities are primarily responsible for the health benefits associated with the consumption of fruits and vegetables.

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