Volume 19. Number 4. 2014

New research links bad diet to loss of smell

A new study from Florida State University neuroscientists led by Nicolas Thiebaud and published in The Journal of Neuroscience, says so, and it has researchers taking a closer look at how our diets could impact a whole range of human functions that were not traditionally considered when examining the impact of obesity.
They studied the effect of a high-fat diet on the olfactory system in mice. During a 24-week period they fed male mice either a) high fat diet (60% kcal intake came from fat) b) control diet (13.5 % kcal from fat) or c) moderately high fat diet (31.8% kcal from fat) and investigated the differences in olfaction between the groups.
The study suggests that amongst other well-known consequences of a high-fat diet, it could result in long-lasting structural and functional changes in the olfactory system. As smell drives behavioural decision about food choice and consumption, bad olfaction could contribute to poor eating behaviour. RSSL Foode-news. Edition 590

Building Better Fruits and Veggies without GMOs

Making modern supermarket produce so big and hardy drained a lot of its flavor. Scientists now have the technology to bring it back-without genetic engineering.
The modern supermarket produce aisle is full of visual illusions. The strawberries are plump and glistening; the tomatoes smooth-skinned and lustrous; the melons firm and brightly colored-yet all too often devoid of flavor. We have no one to blame for these bland beauties but ourselves. By selectively breeding crops to be as prodigious as possible and to survive weeks of shipping and storage in dark, cool conditions, we have sapped flavor, aroma and nutrition from our food.
Instead of improving such crops with genetic engineering, which would add controversial GMOs to the produce isle, scientists are turning to the technique of marker-assisted breeding, which combines traditional breeding with DNA analysis.
To improve a single crop, plant breeders usually have to play botanical matchmaker for many years, laboriously weeding out unwanted traits without losing desirable ones. Identifying genes underlying those traits opens up the possibility of a much more efficient and precise process known as marker-assisted breeding. DNA extracted from the leaves of young plants can reveal ideal candidates for breeding experiments long before harvest time.
Scientific American July 2014. pg 42-47

U.S. FDA issues guidance to support the development of nanotechnology products

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued three final guidances and one draft guidance providing greater regulatory clarity for industry on the use of nanotechnology in FDA-regulated products. One final guidance addresses the agency's overall approach for all products that it regulates, while the two additional final guidances and the new draft guidance provide specific guidance for the areas of foods, cosmetics, and food for animals, respectively.
The guidances impacting the food industry are:
  • Considering Whether an FDA-Regulated Product Involves the Application of Nanotechnology:
  • Assessing the Effects of Significant Manufacturing Process Changes, Including Emerging Technologies, on the Safety and Regulatory Status of Food Ingredients and Food Contact Substances, Including Food Ingredients that are Color Additives:
  • Use of Nanomaterials in Food for Animals (draft guidance):

Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials Ingested via Food

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and ANSES, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety, along with other partners have begun a three and a half year research project, titled 'SolNanoTox', which will examine "... whether the solubility of nanomaterials has an influence on uptake and accumulation [and potential toxic properties] in certain organs, such as liver and intestine ..." - In the project, "... two fundamentally different types of nanoparticles are examined as representatives for others of their type: titanium dioxide as representative of water insoluble nanoparticles and aluminium as an example of nanomaterials which show a certain degree of water solubility after oxidation. It is examined whether the degree of solubility influences the distribution of the nanomaterials in the body and whether soluble materials may possibly accumulate more in other organs than insoluble ones. The object is to establish whether there is a direct toxic effect of insoluble nanomaterials in general after oral uptake due to their small size ... The goal is to group nanomaterials on the basis of specific properties and to allocate the corresponding toxicological properties to these groups ..."
Document Title: The title of the June 13, 2014 German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) Press Release is "What mode of action do Nanomaterials have in Liver and Intestine?; BfR involved in Franco-German research project"
Organization: German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR)
Source: June 13, 2014 BfR Press Release

Snippets - contributions are welcome. Edited and produced by Dr. B Cole. - / Fax 011 660 6444 with the help of the Northern Branch Committee.