Volume 22. Number 2. 2017

IUFoST NEWS BRIEF - #3, 2017

can be read at:

ILSI News | April/May 2017 | ILSI Global

There are a number of articles that could be of general interest to Food Scientists, amongst others for example:

Major New Review of Caffeine Health Effects

Since the last major literature review, conducted and published by Health Canada in 2003, many new, caffeinated food and beverage products have come to market and more than 10,000 papers have been published on caffeine's health effects. ILSI North America's systematic review, published in April 2017 in Food and Chemical Toxicology, represents a significant update to what we know about the health effects of caffeine consumption.

The review examines five health outcomes and over two dozen specific endpoints related to acute and reproductive/development toxicity, cardiovascular effects; bone and calcium status; and behaviour.

You can read the paper itself, which was featured in The Atlantic, USA Today, and Food and Wine and on, or get highlights of findings online: Caffeine Systematic Review

Evidence-Based Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment or Assessment of Risk? Developing an Evidence-Based Approach for Primary Producers of Leafy Vegetables to Assess and Manage Microbial Risks

ILSI Europe Journal of Food Protection

This article proposes risk assessment approach based on a structured qualitative assessment requiring decisions to be based on evidence and a framework for describing the decision process that can be challenged and defended within the supply chain.

This article is open access: Risk Assessment

Microbiota Functions

Gut microbiota functions: metabolism of nutrients and other food components

ILSI Europe European Journal of Nutrition

Authors discuss bacteria and microbial pathways associated with the metabolism of dietary carbohydrates; proteins; plant polyphenols; bile acids; and vitamins, and also review existing and novel methods for exploring gut microbial pathways of metabolism.

The article is available for download: Gut Microbiota


In the 1950s, scientists found a wild tomato relative in the Galapagos Island that does not have a swollen part of the stem referred to as joint. Joints are the weak parts of the stem that make the fruit fall easily from the plant. Breeders then developed jointless tomatoes to prolong the stay of the fruits in the plants. However, when the jointless tomato was bred with the existing tomato varieties, the resulting plants had flower-bearing branches that produced many extra branches and looked like a broom, terminating in a host of flowers. This led to reduced number of fruits.

Years after, geneticist Zachary Lippman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and other researchers tracked down the gene responsible for the jointless trait and another gene that promotes the formation of a large green cap of leaf-like structures on top of the fruit. Then they used CRISPR-Cas9 to correct the conflict of the traits, leading to tomato plants with different plant architectures,including those with long, spindly flower-bearing branches to bushy, cauliflower-like bunches of flowers, and some with better yields. Crop Biotech Update. 24 May 2017.

Read more from Nature.

A Review of Targeted Genome Editing Techniques in Horticultural Crops

Targeted genome editing (TGE) technology using engineered nucleases, including meganucleases, zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR) has been used to improve the traits of economically important plants.

These TGE techniques have emerged as novel plant-breeding tools that are alternative approaches to conventional breeding, but with higher efficiency.

Saminathan Subburaj of the Chungnam National University in South Korea, together with researchers from various academic institutions, described the basic principles of TGE as well as their advantages and disadvantages. Their study also discussed TGEs' potential use to improve the traits of horticultural crops. Crop Biotech Update 15 February, 2017.

For more information, read the article: Hortic. Environ. Biotechnol. 57(6):531-543. 2016.

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