Functional food research between New Zealand and Japan

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Functional food research between Japan and New Zealand, looks at onions
Functional food research between Japan and New Zealand, looks at onions

Related tags New zealand

A collaborative project investigating the health-related compounds in onions is being conducted by Japan and New Zealand as part of a broader research partnership into functional food.

The research is led by New Zealand-based Plant & Food Research, in collaboration with three Japanese science organisations; Yamaguchi University, the National Institute for Vegetable and Tea Science and RIKEN.

The scientific study has received funding of NZ$0.5m ($360,000) from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) and New Zealand’s Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI).

Craig Holmes, senior sector manager at MSI, told FoodNavigator-Asia said that the research is particularly relevant to New Zealand as onions are the country’s largest vegetable export, with a market value of over NZ$85m for the 2010/11 production season.

He explained that the research will “screen members of the onion family, known to have positive effects on cardiovascular and gut health, for health-related compounds.”

The research will identify specific compounds in onions and spring onions that may have health properties and then measure the variation of these compounds across a wide range of different onion varieties, he added.

Functional foods

The goal of the research is to end up with an extensive reference database documenting the health-related compound properties in onions that can eventually be used for fortified, functional foods.

Holmes said: “This research will underpin New Zealand-based breeding and production programmes aimed at maximising functionality… supporting the development of products with high levels of these added-value health compounds.”

The project addresses a target research area defined by the Horticultural Vegetable Research and Innovation Board to develop ‘innovative vegetable products based on nutritionally superior produce’ he explained.

Strengthening collaborative research

A second project is also taking place between the two countries looking into developing a functional food with specific health enhancing effects for menopausal New Zealand women.

This project is headed up by the Massey University of New Zealand and has received the same amount of funding from the collaborative countries.

Wayne Mapp, New Zealand’s minister of science and innovation said: “The government is committed to building and strengthening research relationships with other countries that will achieve world-class scientific results and lead to new innovative technologies.”

The information developed will be made available to the industry through published papers and presentations at international conferences and through a web-based database.

Related topics Research

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1 comment

Topoloveni Plum Jam - functional food indicated for women postmenopausal

Posted by Adina Sava,

Professor Doctor Gheorghe Mencinicopschi (director of Institute of Food Research Bucharest) recommends Topoloveni Plum Jam Magiun de prune Topoloveni) as a ”healthy sweet” that has good effects on human health as it follows:
*on bones health, being indicated to the use of children, teenagers, pre and postmenopausal women, men, old people because of its content of boron (3,5mg/100g) that prevents osteoporosis, it helps the human body to assimilate calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, that are very important for the health of the human bone system;
*on the immune system by growing the resistance of our body to the viral and bacteriological infections;
*on the nervous and muscular system because of the high content of potassium, magnesium, natural carbohydrates and antioxidants;
*it stimulates the natural detoxification process, it prevents the precocious aging, antiaging effect, giving that glow and younger aspect to our skin;
*it also prevents stress through the strengthening of the natural mechanisms of stress adaptation, it also prevents the appearance of chronic fatigue;
*it is a general energizer for the human body because it gives our body the fuel ready to use by our brain, muscles and other vital organs;
*it prevents the appearance of diabetes type 2 (because of its low glycemic index, 39/100 g), atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, brain vascular diseases, of some types of cancer, especially of colon cancer, of Parkinson and Alzheimer disease.

Description: Topoloveni plum jam is a concentrated (5:1) and homogeneous paste, viscous, easy to spread; this product can be consumed by people of all ages (starting with the 6 months-old babies), and also by those who suffer from diabetes (because of its low glycemic index 39/100 g); it can be consumed as breakfast, desert or filling in pastry products.
Composition: (entirely natural) ONLY ONE INGREDIENT, 100% NATURAL! 100% very ripe fresh plums (it contains 4 varieties of Romanian plums, at least). 100g of plum jam is made of at least 500g fresh plums.
Content (per 100g), production october 2011: 825.5mg potassium, 3.5mg boron, 38.3mg calcium, 22.83mg magnesium, 6.09mg iron, natural sugar such as fructose (14.42%) and glucose (17.68%).
Energy value: 214 kcal / 100 gr
Antioxidant capacity: 275 (ORAC Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity)

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