DEVELOPMENT IN FOOD TECHNOLOGY
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
Foods modified through the transfer of genes are known as
Genetically Modified Foods (GM Foods).
Advantages of GM Technology :
It is much faster and cheaper and
allows a greater precision in selecting desirable characteristics when compared
to traditional breeding techniques.
It gives rise to pest and virus
Nutritional improvement-Genes that
control desired micro nutrients can be transferred to obtain new crops with
increased vitamin and mineral content.
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
In our country genetically modified
rice, potatoes and tomatoes are under experimentation. The golden rice with
enhancement of vitamin A is an example.
Adaptive to harsh conditions -
Genetic modification enables crops to grow in harsh conditions like drought and
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
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.
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.
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
Gamma linolenic acid of spirulina
help in heart disease, premenstrual stress, obesity and arthritis. The
composition of spirulina is given in the following table
of spray dried spirulina per 100g
g 65 - 71
- Carotene µg 3,20,000
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
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.
and spices such as black pepper, thyme, turmeric have shown to possess
anti-oxidant property and are therefore known as functional foods.