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DEVELOPMENT IN FOOD TECHNOLOGY
FOOD TECHNOLOGY - GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS
Bio-technology centres around the microbes and cells taken from plants and animals and their ability to synthesize wide range of valuable substances.
The important area of bio-technology application is the qualitative improvement in foods.
The principle governing genetic engineering is that genetic material which is also known as DNA can be transferred from a cell of one species to another unrelated species to express itself in the recipient cells. This is also known as recombinant DNA technology.
Foods modified through the transfer of genes are known as Genetically Modified Foods (GM Foods).
Advantages of GM Technology :
1. It is much faster and cheaper and allows a greater precision in selecting desirable characteristics when compared to traditional breeding techniques.
2. It gives rise to pest and virus resistant crops.
3. Nutritional improvement-Genes that control desired micro nutrients can be transferred to obtain new crops with increased vitamin and mineral content.
4. The introduction of genetically modified crops with increased vitamin and mineral content is of great importance owing to the prevalence of nutrient deficiencies around the world. Iron - rich rice, quality protein-maize, high carotene-sweet potato and micro nutrient rich seeds are some of the outcomes of research in food bio-technology.
5. In our country genetically modified rice, potatoes and tomatoes are under experimentation. The golden rice with enhancement of vitamin A is an example.
6. Adaptive to harsh conditions - Genetic modification enables crops to grow in harsh conditions like drought and temperature extremes.
The word neutraceuticals originates from the word `nutrition' and `pharmaceuticals' . It implies the usage of food as protective drugs or as food supplements.
Food stuffs contain disease preventing phytonutrients. These include terpenes, phytosterols, phenols and theols.
Terpenes are found in green foods, soya products and grains. Carotenoids and limonoids are the subclass of terpenes. Carrot, tomato, parsley and spinach are rich sources of carotenoids. They are a precursor of vitamin A and also prevent eye diseases.
Limonoids is present mainly in citrus peels and it is an anti-oxidant. It helps in protecting the lung tissue.
Yellow vegetables, yam and the seeds of pumpkin are a rich source of phytosterols. They help in the excretion of cholesterol and prevent tumors in the prostrate gland and breast.
They play an important role in preventive medicine. They prevent the damage of tissues and inflammation. Berries, grapes and brinjals are good sources of phenols. Flavonids, anthocyanidines and isoflavones are important sub classes of phenols.
Flavonoids enhance the effectiveness of vitamin C, prevent allergies, tumors, platelet aggregation and reduce chance of oestrogen induced cancers.
Anthocyanidines help in the synthesis of protein collagen while isoflavones present in bean, legumes and soyabeans prevent tumors, breast and prostrate cancer.
They are the sulphur containing class of phytonutrients. Garlic, onion, cabbage and turnip contain theols. Garlic and onion contain allyl sulphides which are anti-carcinogenic agents.
They protect against tumors and prevent cardio-vascular disorders. Cabbage and turnip are known to reduce tumors.
ALGAE AS FOOD
Blue green algae, Spirulina fusiformis is used as nutrient dense food. The major protein in spirulina is phycocyanin which is a deep blue colour pigment and about 150 mgs. It is present in 1 gm of spirulina.
Spray dried spirulina is rich in protein, vitamins particularly -carotene and gamma linolenic acid. One gram spirulina contains carotenoids equivalent to 1 kg of vegetables and yellow fruits.
Gamma linolenic acid of spirulina help in heart disease, premenstrual stress, obesity and arthritis. The composition of spirulina is given in the following table
Composition of spray dried spirulina per 100g
Energy Kcal 346
Carbohydrate g 16
Protein g 65 - 71
Fat g 6.7
Calcium mg 658
Iron mg 47.7
B - Carotene µg 3,20,000
Tocopherol IU 0.73
Folic acid µg 176
The quality of protein of spirulina is better than cereals and soya proteins. One serving of spirulina is better than one serving of egg or milk in nutritive value.
Spirulina apart from being rich in nutrients contains phytonutrients like gamma linolenic acid, sulpholipids, phycocyanin and antioxidant vitamins.
The pigments present in Spirulina can raise the activity of lymphocytes, increase immunity and prevent certain type of cancers.
Organic foods are environment friendly foods. These are foods produced without artificial fertilizers or pesticides. Animal manure and compost are used as natural fertiliser and the system of crop rotation further enriches the soil.
Pesticides disturb ecological balance. In the place of pesticides, particular insects and fungi are used to control specific pests.
A functional food is any food that has a positive effect on health, physical performance or state of mind beyond the benefit of nutrition.
Foods rich in antioxidants (b - Carotene, Vitamin C and E) protect the body from the detrimental effect of free radicals that cause coronary heart diseases and cancer. b - Carotene is present in green leafy vegetables and yellow-orange coloured fruits and vegetables.
Vegetable oils, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts and whole grains are a good source of vitamin E and help to maintain the integrity of cells and reduce thrombus formation. Citrus fruits, guava and vegetables such as cabbage and drumstick leaves are a good source of Vitamin C.
Hypocholesterolemic agents such as garlic, fenugreek soya protein, guargum in cluster beans and phytochemicals (pigments and flavouring substances in fruits and vegetables) are functional foods as they protect from heart diseases and cancer.
.Herbs and spices such as black pepper, thyme, turmeric have shown to possess anti-oxidant property and are therefore known as functional foods.
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