Riddet Review

Riddet Review
December 2011 Issue 07
Riddet Institute
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North
New Zealand
Amino acid study
reaches ne
new frontiers
Page 3
How to feel full
Page 6
Flavour work
aided by
the ‘Aro-mouth’
Page 7
ur involvement
in EU science
Page 9
From rice
to almonds –
processed food
vvs raw food
Page 10
The scope of the Riddet Institute’s activities has been broad over the past six months. Both within New Zealand and internationally,
the Institute is heavily involved in activities that will improve our understanding of food and digestion and in promoting the vital
role that science plays in making our lives healthier.
In addition to the CoRE (Centre of Research
Excellence) programme, we have now
embarked on a multi-million dollar Primary
Growth Partnership (PGP) programme
for Fonterra, with the appointment of two
further Chairs expected next year. The
subcontracting to partners of the various
statements of work has been complex and
more time consuming than anticipated.
However, this process has led to better
mutual understanding.
Symposium held in conjunction with
FAO in Auckland earlier in the year has
produced a commitment to overseeing
the publication of the proceedings in the
British Journal of Nutrition early next
year. The FAO Expert Consultation Report
is still under preparation and should
also be released next year. Co-director
Professor Paul Moughan, who was the
Chair of the Expert Consultation, has
played a leading role in co-ordinating this
report, which will have implications for
the way traded protein is described
around the world.
Our technology innovation arm has
focused on marketing two pieces of
Intellectual property: ProBioLife™, which
is shelf-stable probiotic technology; and the
POSIFoods technology, which allows pointof-sale customised beverage vending. Both
technologies have been exhibited around
the world and the ProBioLife™ technology
was accepted at the IFT showcase in Chicago
in June this year.
In March next year, the Institute is
holding an international conference, “Food
Structures, Digestion & Health,” to showcase
our areas of focus. We are privileged to have
some of the finest scientists in the area of
food structures as keynote speakers at this
event in Palmerston North.
Ongoing are our international partnerships.
Foremost among these is the joint PROTEOS
project with Wageningen University in the
Netherlands. The aim of PROTEOS is to
develop ways of alleviating the projected
world shortfall in available animal protein
for human consumption.
More of our activities are covered in
this newsletter, which we hope you will
enjoy reading.
As we move towards the close of another
year, we wish everyone a relaxing holiday
Paula McCool
Communications Officer
ProBioLife™ attracts interest in Auckland
The Riddet Institute took part in the Food Innovation Showcase held in Auckland during the Rugby World Cup. Product
Development Manager Dr Shantanu Das led the three day promotion of the Institute’s ProBioLife™ technology, which allows
probiotic strains to be incorporated into a range of shelf-stable foods. Delivery of probiotics is currently restricted to the chilled
supply chain because probiotic bacteria do not survive at ambient temperatures for long periods. ProBioLife™ patented technology
enables the probiotic bacteria to be stable at ambient temperatures for at least nine months.
Dr Das took part in the public seminar programme at the showcase.
Riddet Institute students Tim Angeli and Davide Mercadante, both
enrolled at the University of Auckland, assisted with setting up the
stand and hosting visitors.
Amino acid study tests the
frontiers of protein knowledge
There have been many studies on whey proteins, beta-lactoglobulin and alphalactalbumin, which are naturally present in milk and are renowned for their
satiating effect compared with carbohydrate and other protein sources. But little
has been done to find out which component of the dairy whey protein plays a
role in this satiating effect, and indeed, whether these components on their own
are more effective than the intact proteins.
Sylvia Chungchunlam, a PhD scholar at the
Riddet Institute, is isolating the amino acids
in whey proteins to examine their effect on
satiety (the suppression of hunger). She said,
“When trying to lose weight by reducing food
intake, people usually feel hungry after a
meal and may eat more in subsequent meals.
It is widely accepted that protein enhances
satiety, which may help compliance on energy
restricted diets. We have just assumed that
intact whey proteins will do the job – now
we want to know whether the amino acids
alone are responsible and what this means
for dietary composition.”
The study will assess the effects of
carbohydrate and protein on satiety after
ingesting a “preload” drink, and will
investigate which components of whey
protein have an effect on food intake and
satiety in normal healthy weight women
by comparing the effects of carbohydrate,
whey protein, whey protein components and
crystalline amino acids.
Interest in the study, due to commence
in February next year, is high. German
company, Evonik, has donated $6,000
dollars worth of purified crystalline amino
acids, which are now in storage at the
Riddet Institute headquarters in Palmerston
North. Twenty volunteers (healthy women
between 18 and 40) for the study have also
been approved.
The study will be completed at the end of 2012,
and is the final step in Mrs Chungchunlam’s
PhD research.
Riddet Institute Board member elected
as Chairman of Science New Zealand
Dr Tom Richardson, CEO of AgResearch, and a member of the Riddet
Institute Board, will chair Science New Zealand for a two-year term.
He succeeds John Morgan, CEO of NIWA. Peter Landon-Lane, CEO
of Plant & Food Research, also a Riddet Institute Board member, is
deputy chairman-elect.
Science New Zealand promotes the value of science and technology for New
Zealand. Its Board comprises the CEOs of the eight Crown research institutes,
which employ 4,200 staff or two-thirds of New Zealand’s publicly funded
science researchers.
Dr Tom Richardson
Peter Landon-Lane
Spanish scientist keen observer
of interaction with industry
Dr Jose Francisco Perez, an Assistant Professor/Lecturer at the Veterinary Faculty, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain,
came out to the Riddet Institute earlier this year to learn how animal models can inform human nutrition studies and thereby help
the food industry.
Dr Perez’s work concerns digestibility and
metabolic efficiency in farm animals. “In
Europe my work is divided between teaching
at the Veterinary School and research, and the
research focus is on animal feed efficiency,
which translates into quality meat products
for humans,” he said. “But in Europe farm
production has very likely reached a near
maximum – so it is not going to grow as it did
last century, and therefore we are looking for
new fields of research. One huge opportunity,
of course, is how our expertise in animal
digestive physiology can be extrapolated to
provide insights into human nutrition.
“The Riddet Institute has been extremely
useful by showing me its approach to the food
industry and how a research organisation
and a food company can interact,” he said.
During his time in Palmerston North Dr Perez
has found the opportunity to coordinate a
major European project bid (FP7 programme)
that involves 14 organisations across Europe,
and which also includes Massey University as
a full partner. The bid is for €6 million and
covers the development of innovative tools
and a holistic value-chain approach within
the European pork and poultry industry,
which will lead to increased profitability,
improved animal welfare and meat quality,
and care for the environment.
done, but the approach to life shows how free
you are from the stress of the big European
cities,” says Perez.
When his year as a visiting scientist at the
Riddet Institute is up at the end of February,
Dr Perez, his wife and three young daughters
will head back to Barcelona. But not before
they have had a good look around the country
that they say is so very different from Europe.
“It is so relaxed here. You still get the job
Riddet Institute
Professor Gerald Tannock FRSNZ was made
a Fellow of Royal Society of New Zealand
at the beginning of November. Based at the
University of Otago, he is a world-leading
authority on gastrointestinal microbes and
their role in health and disease, and pioneered
the amalgamation of traditional methods with
DNA-based technologies.
Below are five recent papers from
Riddet Institute researchers.
Copies of these papers can be
obtained from Ansley Te Hiwi,
[email protected]
Loveday, S.M., Su, J., Rao,
M.A., Anema, S.G., and Singh,
H. (2011). Effect of calcium on
the morphology and functionality
of whey protein nanofibrils.
Biomacromolecules, 12(10), 37803788.
Ferrua, M.J., Kong, F., and
Singh, R.P. (2011). Computational
modelling of gastric digestion and
the role of food material properties.
Trends in Food Science and
Technology, 22(9), 480-491.
Co-director leads
New Zealand delegation
to Korea
Co-director of the Riddet Institute Professor Harjinder Singh is
the Focal Point Coordinator appointed by the Ministry of Science
and Innovation to lead the Korea-NZ science relationship in the
area of Innovative Foods. In early June he led the delegation
to the New Zealand 2nd Focal Point Programme workshop on
Innovative Foods, in Seoul, Korea.
The delegation comprised Professor Margot Skinner (Plant &
Food Research), Dr Don Otter (AgResearch), Dr David Everett
(University of Otago) and Dr Kyoung-Sik Han (Riddet Institute).
The visit focused on food innovation workshops, seminars and
meetings which took place at Korea Food Research Institute
(KFRI), Korea University, Kookmin University, Maeil Dairy
Industry Ltd., and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.
Two joint research projects between Riddet Institute and KFRI are currently
being carried out on bioactive compounds derived from native New Zealand
Meas, P., Paterson, A.H.J., Cleland,
D.J., Bronlund, J.E., Mawson,
A.J., Hardacre, A., and Rickman,
J.F. (2011). Effects of different solar
drying methods on drying time and
rice grain quality. International
Journal of Food Engineering, 7(5),
and Korean plants.
Rutherfurd, S.M., Singh, H.,
and Moughan, P.J. (2011).
attenuates acute effects on growth,
organ weights, gut morphology
and intestinal mucin production
in the growing rat challenged with
Salmonella enteritidis. Animal,
5(10), 1570-78 .
Coppell, K.J., Lee, J., Williams, S.M.
and Mann, J.I. (2011). Progression
of glycaemia and cardiovascular
risk factors in patients of different
age groups with new type 2
diabetes over 5 years of follow-up
in a diabetes quality improvement
initiative. Diabetes Research and
Clinical Practice, 93(3), 357-362.
From left: Dr Don Otter, Dr David Everett, Professor Harjinder Singh, Professor Margot Skinner
and Dr Kyoung-Sik Han enjoy traditional Korean hospitality.
It’s what happens after
eating that counts
How is food broken down in our stomachs and converted
to digesta, which are then emptied into our duodenum and
passed through our small and large intestine? And why do
we need to know? Researchers at the Riddet Institute believe
an understanding of this process will enable the design
of nutritionally enhanced foods tailored to our digestive
processes. Not only will these foods help those of us suffering
from digestive problems, but they will also offer targeted
nutrient delivery; make micronutrients accessible; reduce
allergenicity or food intolerance; and control satiation and
energy intake – in all of us.
Generally, we are able to extract every
last little drop of value from what we
eat. Both the mastication and digestive
processes in the stomach and small
intestine turn food into a molecular
broth that can readily be absorbed into
our bodies. But it is difficult to fool the
body into making different digestive
responses to conventionally produced
and manufactured foods.
Designing foods for tailored digestion
presents many puzzles as food
systems are complex and so are the
biomechanics of the gastrointestinal
tract. There is already a lot of research
around the world on food structure
and digestive physiology and other
researchers have constructed static
and dynamic artificial digestive models
that replicate human gastrointestinal
biochemistry and biomechanics. These
models offer relatively straightforward
characterisation and comparison of food
materials but human trials are needed to
validate the findings.
A technique developed by the Riddet
Institute is providing further valuable
understanding of the dynamics of
food digestion that goes much further
than artificial models. Riddet Institute
Associate Investigator Professor Roger
Lentle and his team within the Institute
of Food, Nutrition and Human Health
at Massey University are introducing
biomaterials into living organ tissue
taken from animals – stomachs, small
intestines and colons, and are using high
definition video capture to investigate
the dynamic changes in digesta flows
that result from gastrointestinal motion.
The team is trying to produce a specific
rate of digesta flow that will control
satiety. They have already examined
this in the flow behaviour of guar gum
solution, and are now extending it to
simple starch-based artificial solid foods,
and will ultimately study more complex
food systems. We hope they will be able
to identify how the body responds to any
pre-determined material and how that
material is altered by gastrointestinal
The microscopic techniques they are
using to understand how nutrients are
transported into the bloodstream after
digestion may also prove useful. For
example, it may be possible to construct
food components that are impervious
to transit (for example, because of their
size) and so could be used to regulate
calorie intake by preventing entry of
fatty acids into the bloodstream.
Professor Lentle’s studies are novel
and have the potential to accelerate the
progress towards getting the ‘new and
better’ foods the world is waiting for.
Exploring differences in
flavour perception
Why do people perceive flavour differently when eating the same food? Is the tongue responsible for an individual volatile
release pattern during the oral process? Ofir Benjamin, a Riddet scholar and PhD candidate at the food science department at the
University of Otago, is looking for answers using the ‘Aro-Mouth’.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which
are released during oral processing of food,
play a crucial part in the perception of food
flavour. During food consumption, the tongue
acts as a co-ordinating muscle that positions
the bolus for mastication and lubricates it
with saliva. Previous studies have found
that the tongue is capable of generating
both positive and negative pressures against
the hard palate. The bolus is then pushed
and pulled toward the pharynx. Variations
in pressure were found between different
parts of the tongue, depending on the bolus
properties, and tongue movements showed
personal consistent patterns that varied
significantly between individuals.
Ofir Benjamin
Many studies have examined the oral process
compressible, but also inert with the
between in-mouth VOC release and tongue
VOCs. This was not a straightforward
pressure has not been covered in the same
task, and required intensive research to
depth. Mr Benjamin and others from the
come up with the proper material with
food science department, dental school and
minimum absorption rates of VOCs.
elsewhere have developed a novel model
mouth called “Aro-Mouth”, which mimics
Another trial explored the maximum
the mouth swallowing process using an
force range generated by 38 young males
artificial rubber tongue that presses the food
and females pressing their tongues
sample in up-down movements controlled
against the load cell sensor. The force
by computer. The model includes mouth
range will help determine an upper safety
conditions such as temperature, saliva
limit to avoid damaging the model.
insertion flow and exhaled air flow. During
the model operation the tongue pressure,
force and position are measured, as is the
properties such as viscosity, volume and
temperature of the sample. At the same time,
composition may alter the release as well
the volatile compounds are detected using an
as the mouth conditions, and it is possible
on-line recording instrument called PTR-MS
that control of flavour release could be
and the data is transferred to a screen using
used in the fight against obesity and the
modelling software.
consumption of food with low nutritional
The model’s unique
feature is its ability to follow previously
recorded actual human tongue pressures
in order to create a more realistic profile of
Mr Benjamin is supervised by Riddet
volatile release.
Institute Associate Investigator Dr David
Everett and Pat Silcock at the food science
In evaluation trials of the model, Mr
department, and Jules Keiser, Dental
Benjamin tried to find a suitable material
School, at the University of Otago.
for the tongue, so it was not only elastic and
Riddet Institute researchers
receive NZAS medals
Professor Harjinder Singh, 2011 Shorland Medal
Professor Geoffrey Jameson, 2011 Marsden Medal
Riddet Institute co-director Professor Harjinder Singh and Principal Investigator Professor Geoff
Jameson were presented with New Zealand Association of Scientists’ medals in early November.
Professor Singh received the Shorland Medal, which is awarded in recognition of major and continued
contribution to applied research, while Professor Jameson received the Marsden Medal, which is
awarded for a lifetime of outstanding service to science.
Professor Singh holds a Fonterra Chair in Dairy
Science at Massey University and is considered a world
authority on milk proteins and their relationship to
dairy technology and processing. He has been a major
figure in the development of dairy science research at
Massey University and his research has had a major
international impact, both in the dairy industry and
academic community.
Professor Jameson is Director of the Centre for
Structural Biology at Massey University, and is one
of the leading crystallographers in the world. Under
his leadership, the Centre has thrived with new x-ray
equipment and high-field NMR spectrometers being
added to the suite of techniques available in-house.
Riddet Institute scholar
graduates PhD
Prabhu Balan graduated at the end of November with a PhD from Massey University. He was
supervised by Professor Paul Moughan. His citation reads:
Immunoglobulins (Igs), proteins synthesised by animals, are the first line
of defence against invading pathogens. They can be extracted from animal
blood and used prophylactically and therapeutically. Dr Balan, using
physiological, immunological, molecular and microbiological techniques,
has shown that feeding an ovine Ig fraction enhances growth performance,
modulates various indices of immune function, increases the numbers of
beneficial lactobacilli in the gut and also influences gut mucin content in
the normal and Salmonella Enteritidis - challenged rat. He has also found
that intact ovine Ig can be detected in the luminal contents of the digestive
tract of growing rats given an ovine Ig fraction orally. The results contribute
to knowledge of how ovine Igs can modulate and enhance key indicators of
gut function, immunity and overall growth performance in mammals.
Dr Prabhu Balan
Riddet Institute part of European
Science activities
The Riddet Institute is involved in the EU COST (Committee on Science and Technology)
Infogest action, which aims at building an international network of institutions working on
the digestion of dietary proteins and the physiological validity in the field of food digestion.
The first meeting was held in March 2010, in Brussels
currently comprises 144 scientists from 45 research
attended by Dr Mike Boland, and at the second meeting
institutions spread across 24 countries. Of these, 22
in France in October this year, the Institute was
COST supported EU nationalities are represented,
represented by Associate Professor Matt Golding.
and two non-COST organisations are confirmed as
participants: Canada (Laval and Guelph University) and
The Action has been set up to run until April 2015 and
New Zealand (the Riddet Institute).
EU and
initiative, as of
19th October
The objectives of the INFOGEST COST action are as
human health and well being. The Riddet Institute
considered participation in the INFOGEST action to be
Spread and improve current basic knowledge on
advantageous, recognising the particular importance of
food digestion
rationalising and consolidating digestive models as a
Identify beneficial components released in the gut
during digestion
Support the effect of beneficial food components
on human health
key requirement in developing improved physiological
validity to the field of food digestion. It also recognised
the benefits of access to potential collaborative partners
in the EU (and with non-EU participants), with specific
expertise not necessarily available within New Zealand.
digestion models.
Finally, it also recognised the INFOGEST initiative
is an excellent opportunity to showcase New Zealand
capability and expertise in the field of food digestion,
The objectives are in alignment with the scientific
and can provide a mechanism by which international
mission of the Riddet Institute, with its particular
researchers can undertake secondments or fellowships
focus on the relationship between food, digestion and
within the Riddet Institute.
Almonds are now the
focus of attention
The University of California, Davis and the Riddet Institute are engaged in a joint project analysing how food processing affects
digestion rates. The foods under study are brown and white rice; and raw and roasted almonds.
Food is broken down in the stomach through
Almonds are a big crop in Ms Bornhorst’ss home state
mechanical and enzymatic processes, and the rate
of California and the almonds for the study were
that it has been broken down determines how quickly
ornia, which
donated by the Almond Board in California,
the broken-down material leaves the stomach and
he study will
also paid for shipping to New Zealand. The
moves into the intestine for further breakdown and
be completed at the end of this year.
absorption. The process is called gastric emptying
and is strongly related to the sensation of satiety.
orking with
Ms Bornhorst said, “I have been working
Professor Paul Singh, who is a Principal Investigator
Riddet Institute researchers are trying to quantify the
ew Zealand
at the Riddet Institute. Coming to New
effects of processing on food breakdown and whether
ith a crossgave me a great opportunity to work with
that affects the mixing process in the stomach, using
functional team. As a food engineer in the United
in vivo models. Knowledge of the effect of processing
States, it is not as easy to team up with nutritional
on digesta properties can inform the future design of
scientists and biochemists.”
foods to optimise their digestive properties.
aper on the
Ms Bornhorst will be presenting a paper
UC Davis doctoral scholar Gail Bornhorst, Riddet
gestion and
rice study at the Food Structures, Digestion
Institute PhD scholar Natascha Stroebinger and
Heatlh conference hosted by the Riddet Institute in
Senior Research Officer Dr Shane Rutherfurd, have
Palmerston North in March next year.
completed the rice study. Their objective was to
determine the effect of rice processing on the physical
(rheological properties and moisture content) and
How the stomach works
chemical (starch, fibre, protein, pH) properties of
gastric digesta over an eight-hour time period in
different regions of the stomach.
Results showed the rheological properties of brown
and white rice over an eight-hour postprandial
period were shown to be affected by both rice type
and digestion time, indicating that the type of rice
consumed affects the food breakdown. The pH and
moisture content of gastric chyme showed differences
depending on whether the digesta was taken from
the proximal or distal stomach. This supports the
hypothesis that the stomach contents are not evenly
mixed and that the proximal and distal regions of the
stomach play unique roles in the digestion process.
In the second study, Ms Bornhorst and UC, Davis
Master’s scholar Maxine Roman are studying the
digestion of almonds. Almonds are high in fat and
protein and have completely different properties
from rice, which is high in starch, and they therefore
represent a food at the other end of the range in
determine if roasting influences the rate of mixing in
The proximal stomach, composed of the
ch exerts
fundus and upper part of the stomach
he small
constant even pressure down into the
posed of
intestine. The distal stomach, composed
the lower body and antrum, exhibitss strong
the stomach.
waves of contraction that grind food.
terms of physical and chemical properties. The aim
of this study is to quantify the mixing that occurs
during gastric digestion of almond particles and to
ood into
The stomach crushes and liquefies food
he small
“chyme” and forces it down into the
intestine, (gastric emptying).
Approximately 650
million tons of rice
are grown annually
worldwide, and it is
a staple food for a
large percentage
of the world’s
MacDiarmid Institute, Riddet Institute
and Biomolecular Interaction Centre
engage in joint project
Three of New Zealand’s most prestigious scientific institutes will work together to change the way in which soft materials and
biopolymer engineering is done, using world-class physical sciences to build an understanding of how structures affect functions.
The project will employ an interdisciplinary
team to examine opportunities in soft
biomaterials engineering. Project leader
Associate Professor Bill Williams, who is an
Associate Investigator at the Riddet Institute
said, “Biomaterials have the propensity to
exhibit hierarchical structures organised on
multiple length-scales, which emerge from
molecular and supra-molecular self-assembly.
While in order to progress structurefunction understanding, information at a
number of scales is required, the mechanical
characterisation of mesoscale structureelements has been particularly challenging.”
Two postdoctoral and two postgraduate
researchers are being sought to be part of
the project team: one postdoctoral fellow will
be based in Christchurch at the University
of Canterbury, and will be responsible for
the development of an array of techniques
and protocols for the controlled growth
of functionalised protein fibrils; a second
postdoctoral fellow will be based at Massey
University in Palmerston North, and will use
a suite of state-of-the-art biophysical tools,
including holographic optical tweezers, to
apply and measure forces on systems ranging
from single molecules to assembled fibrils.
A postgraduate researcher will also be based
at Massey University in Palmerston North,
and will work towards a PhD degree pursuing
methodologies for the computational modeling
of biopolymeric networks; being informed
by the measured mesoscale parameters and
predicting the bulk properties of assembled
soft materials. The second postgraduate
researcher will be based at Victoria University
in Wellington and will work towards a
PhD degree developing experimental tools
appropriate for the measurement of the
emergent bulk mechanical properties of
assembled networks, providing tests of the
predictions generated by the project.
Associate Professor Bill Williams
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