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Foods. 2018 Apr 12;7(4). pii: E59. doi: 10.3390/foods7040059.

Phytochemical Properties and Nutrigenomic Implications of Yacon as a Potential Source of Prebiotic: Current Evidence and Future Directions.

Author information

1
Department of Health Promotion, Pudong Maternal and Child Health Care Institution, Shanghai 201399, China. evacaoyang@163.com.
2
Department of Public Health, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou 215123, China. Zhengfeei.Ma@xjtlu.edu.cn.
3
School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kota Bharu 15200, Kelantan, Malaysia. Zhengfeei.Ma@xjtlu.edu.cn.
4
Department of Food Science, University of Otago, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand. zhanghongxia326@hotmail.com.
5
Department of Public Health, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou 215123, China. Yifan.Jin14@student.xjtlu.edu.cn.
6
Division of Medicine, School of Life and Medical Sciences, University College London, London WC1E6BT, UK. yihe.zhang.16@ucl.ac.uk.
7
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Accra P.O. Box LG 25, Ghana. feahayford220580@gmail.com.

Abstract

The human gut is densely populated with diverse microbial communities that are essential to health. Prebiotics and fiber have been shown to possess the ability to modulate the gut microbiota. One of the plants being considered as a potential source of prebiotic is yacon. Yacon is an underutilized plant consumed as a traditional root-based fruit in South America. Yacon mainly contains fructooligosaccharides (FOS) and inulin. Therefore, it has bifidogenic benefits for gut health, because FOS are not easily broken down by digestive enzymes. Bioactive chemical compounds and extracts isolated from yacon have been studied for their various nutrigenomic properties, including as a prebiotic for intestinal health and their antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. This article reviewed scientific studies regarding the bioactive chemical compounds and nutrigenomic properties of extracts and isolated compounds from yacon. These findings may help in further research to investigate yacon-based nutritional products. Yacon can be considered a potential prebiotic source and a novel functional food. However, more detailed epidemiological, animal, and human clinical studies, particularly mechanism-based and phytopharmacological studies, are lacking for the development of evidence-based functional food products.

KEYWORDS:

Smallanthus sonchifolius; fructooligosaccharides; prebiotic; underutilized; yacon

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