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Research Call

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DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2015 15F737 UCD (WIT, Teagasc) €599,950

Project Title:

Innovative food structures to enhance the sensory experience, the nutrient profile and nutrient bioavailability for older people. (NutriPlus)

Project Coordinator:

Dr Graham O' Neill

Project Abstract

Nutriplus will grow Irish dairy capabilities to develop innovative products to target the global elderly population by developing foam and emulsion structures that are easy to chew, digest and promote nutrient bioavailability. Consumer intelligence underpinning the research will be supplied by the partner food companies.

One of the key functions of the gastrointestinal tract is the ingestion, digestion and absorption of nutrients. As people age several conditions develop that limit this capability, causing poor health. In the mouth weakened teeth/gums and muscle dysmotility make chewing unpleasant and unsuccessful. In the stomach/intestine decreased secretions (acid,pepsin) reduce digestive capability leading to immunocompromisation. The national adult nutrition survey (2011) highlighted that over 65’s were below the estimated daily requirement by 85% for vitamin D, 37% for magnesium while the HSE (2008) reported that diseases of the digestive system cost the HSE 333,716 hospital bed-days.

This project focuses on food structure, developing microgel stabilised foams (enriched with vitamins) and nanoemulsion/microemulsions that are easily digested providing a readily available source of vitamin D. Foam/emulsion digestion will be examined in detail, facilitating manipulation of the digestion process to favour the formation of substructures that resolubilise vitamin D improving bioavailability. Sensory science will play an integral role; firstly a pilot study will be conducted to identify the attributes most desired by the older cohort in foams and emulsions. A technique called temporal dominance of sensations will be used to record the sequence of perception of several emulsion attributes by participants. Scale-up studies will ensure processing parameters (temperature, sheer) do not degrade the emulsions functionality/sensory appeal. Human intervention studies will determine the effectiveness of the optimised foam and emulsion structures on improving vitamin D bioavailability. The emulsions will improve general health among over 65’s, the foams will target a much later lifestage who suffer from oral processing difficulties.

Final Report:

Not available yet.