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Food-derived carbohydrates--structural complexity and functional diversity.

Tharanathan, R. N. (2002) Food-derived carbohydrates--structural complexity and functional diversity. Critical reviews in biotechnology, 22 (1). pp. 65-84. ISSN 0738-8551

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Abstract

Carbohydrates are biomolecules abundantly available in nature. They are found in bewildering types ranging from simple sugars through oligo- and polysaccharides to glycoconjugates and saccharide complexes, each exhibiting characteristic bio-physiological and/or nutritional functions both in in vivo and in vitro systems. For example, their presence or inclusion in food dictates the texture (body) and gives desirable customer appeal (satisfaction), or their inclusion in the diet offers beneficial effects of great therapeutic value. Thus, carbohydrates are integrally involved in a multitude of biological functions such as regulation of the immune system, cellular signaling (communication), cell malignancy, antiinfection responses, host-pathogen interactions, etc. If starch is considered the major energy storage carbohydrate, the gums/mucilages and other non-starch carbohydrates are of structural significance. The most investigated properties of starch are its gelatinization and melting behavior, especially during food processing. This has led to the development of the food polymer science approach, which has enabled a new interpretive and experimental frame work for the study of the plasticizing influence of simple molecules such as water, sugars, etc. on food systems that are kinetically constrained. Starch, although considered fully digestible, has been challenged, and starch is found to be partly indigestible in the GI tract of humans. This fraction of starch-resisting digestion in vivo is known as resistant starch (RS). The latter, due to its excellent fermentative capacity in the gut, especially yielding butyric acid is considered a new tool for the creation of fiber-rich foods, which are of nutraceutical importance. By a careful control of the processing conditions the content of RS, a man-made fiber, can be increased to as high as 30%. Arabinoxylans are the major endospermic cell wall polysaccharides of cereals. In wheat they are found complexed with ferulic acid esters, which after oxidative coupling in vivo mediated by H2O2 and peroxidases or even by photochemical means give cross linked diferuloyl derivatives. The latter confer strength and extensibility to the cell wall and offer resistance for digestibility by ruminants. They also help blocking of the ingress of pathogens. The ester bound ferulic acid after oxidation in vivo generates reactive oxygen species that contribute to the fragmentation of non-starch polysaccharides (hemicelluloses), and thereby reduces the product viscosity, a property seen during long-term storage of rice. In plant tissues, the arabinogalactans are implicated in such diverse functions as cell-cell adhesion, nutrition of growing pollen tubes, response to microbial infections, and also as markers of identity expressed in the terminal sequences of saccharide chains.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Carbohydrates Food derived
Subjects: 600 Technology > 08 Food technology > 16 Nutritive value > 01 Carbohydrates
Divisions: Dept. of Biochemistry
Depositing User: Food Sci. & Technol. Information Services
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2010 09:59
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2011 09:38
URI: http://ir.cftri.com/id/eprint/2110

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