About this Research Topic
Food processing is ubiquitous and plays an important role in our daily diet. It includes a wide variety of treatments on food materials such as mechanical treatment, heating, cooling, drying, high pressure, acid and alkaline treatments, fermentation and more. These processes can significantly influence the composition and structures (chemical structures and multiple-scale structures) of food components and their interactions with one another, thereby significantly affecting their impact on health. Herein, the processing could involve in each treatment procedure from harvest to the final food we take in.
During processing, new compounds can be produced that may have different health functions (beneficial or harmful). For example, changes triggered by heat treatments can produce changes in composition affecting palatability, digestibility and absorption. In addition to the vast array of harmful compounds (e.g. acrylamide, HMF, heterocyclic amines) or beneficial compounds (AGE inhibitors, antioxidant melanoidins) that can be produced depending on food formulation and processing conditions. Nutrients and bioactive compounds can also be modified in a way which impacts their effect on nutritional status and health: for instance, during the drying of citrus fruits polymethoxyflavones (PMFs) can be transformed to hydroxylated PMFs with can have more potent health promoting effects (e.g. antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor), enhancing the health value of citrus products.
It is therefore of special significance to further explore the effects of food processing, including types of processing, on food components and the subsequent impact on their health functions. Although this topic is gaining increasing attention, some areas are still poorly investigated such as the impact of chemical and structural changes on individual nutrient bioavailability, their interaction with the gastrointestinal tract and the gut microbiota. This type of information would provide scientific guidance for establishing optimal processing methods and techniques beneficial to health and is critically important for the production of the next generation of innovative healthy foods.
In this Research Topic, we therefore welcome Original Research, Mini Reviews, Full Reviews, Commentaries and Perspectives, on themes including but not limit to the following sub-topics:
1. Characterization of the chemical changes on food components and food structures during food processing.
2. The impact of chemical structural modification induced by food processing on the human health effects of foods and food components utilizing both in vitro and in vivo models.
3. Technology advancements or skill developments in an emerging convergent science area to provide better understanding on the relationship of food processing to health and disease risks.
Keywords: Food Processing, Nutrients, Health Functions
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