Assessing availability of grain components using rapid techniques
R. G. Fulcher
University of Manitoba, Department of Food Science, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Cereal Foods World 54:A13
Cereal grains contain an extraordinary range of bioactive substances, from soluble and insoluble fiber, through low molecular weight antioxidants, phenolic compounds and high levels of vitamins and minerals, to potential antibiotic and anti-inflammatory compounds. The complexities associated with these numerous compounds relative to bioavailability, potential activities in mammalian systems, and effects of processing on their activities are difficult to assess, and often demand major financial investment in time, personnel, equipment. In addition, much of the expenditure is targeted to feeding studies (in both small mammals and humans), which are themselves prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. Such studies often are limited in the breadth of experimentation (i.e. number and frequency of feeding trials) that can be used economically, and this in turn often limits the utility and applicability of the results. Perhaps more critical is the fact that many important grain constituents are esterified and/or otherwise bound in mature grains such that they resist digestion. In order to assess the potential of these many compounds to act as bioactives, we therefore must first ask whether they can, in fact, be made available by simple digestive processes. To this end, we have begun to develop simple procedures to determine the level(s) of their release during digestion, and of the effects of manufacturing on the process.