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Journal: Annual review of food science and technology


Mycotoxins are toxic and carcinogenic metabolites produced by fungi that colonize food crops. The most agriculturally important mycotoxins known today are aflatoxins, which cause liver cancer and have also been implicated in child growth impairment and acute toxicoses; fumonisins, which have been associated with esophageal cancer (EC) and neural tube defects (NTDs); deoxynivalenol (DON) and other trichothecenes, which are immunotoxic and cause gastroenteritis; and ochratoxin A (OTA), which has been associated with renal diseases. This review describes the adverse human health impacts associated with these major groups of mycotoxins. First, we provide background on the fungi that produce these different mycotoxins and on the food crops commonly infected. Then, we describe each group of mycotoxins in greater detail, as well as the adverse effects associated with each mycotoxin and the populations worldwide at risk. We conclude with a brief discussion on estimations of global burden of disease caused by dietary mycotoxin exposure. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology Volume 5 is February 28, 2014. Please see for revised estimates.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Nutrition, Fungus, Aflatoxin, Mycotoxin, Ochratoxin, Mycotoxins


Consumers rely heavily on fresh meat color as an indicator of wholesomeness at the point of sale, whereas cooked color is exploited as an indicator of doneness at the point of consumption. Deviations from the bright cherry-red color of fresh meat lead to product rejection and revenue loss. Myoglobin is the sarcoplasmic heme protein primarily responsible for the meat color, and the chemistry of myoglobin is species specific. The mechanistic interactions between myoglobin and multiple extrinsic and intrinsic factors govern the color of raw as well as cooked meats. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of the current research in meat color and how the findings are applied in the meat industry. Characterizing the fundamental basis of myoglobin’s interactions with biomolecules in postmortem skeletal muscles is necessary to interpret the chemistry of meat color phenomena and to engineer innovative processing strategies to minimize meat discoloration-induced revenue loss to the agricultural economy. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology Volume 4 is February 28, 2013. Please see for revised estimates.

Concepts: Agriculture, Nutrition, Thermodynamics, Meat, Motivation, Specific properties, Livestock, Intrinsic and extrinsic properties


This article reviews the current knowledge of the health effects of dietary fiber and prebiotics and establishes the position of prebiotics within the broader context of dietary fiber. Although the positive health effects of specific fibers on defecation, reduction of postprandial glycemic response, and maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels are generally accepted, other presumed health benefits of dietary fibers are still debated. There is evidence that specific dietary fibers improve the integrity of the epithelial layer of the intestines, increase the resistance against pathogenic colonization, reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer, increase mineral absorption, and have a positive impact on the immune system, but these effects are neither generally acknowledged nor completely understood. Many of the latter effects are thought to be particularly elicited by prebiotics. Although the prebiotic concept evolved significantly during the past two decades, the line between prebiotics and nonprebiotic dietary fiber remains vague. Nevertheless, scientific evidence demonstrating the health-promoting potential of prebiotics continues to accumulate and suggests that prebiotic fibers have their rightful place in a healthy diet. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology Volume 7 is February 28, 2016. Please see for revised estimates.

Concepts: Immune system, Nutrition, Ulcerative colitis, Colon, Constipation, Dietary fiber, Defecation, Prebiotic


Improved life expectancy worldwide has resulted in a significant increase in age-related diseases. Dementia is one of the fastest growing age-related diseases, with 75 million adults globally projected to develop the condition by 2030. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and represents the most significant stage of cognitive decline. With no cure identified to date for AD, focus is being placed on preventative strategies to slow progression, minimize the burden of neurological disease, and promote healthy aging. Accumulating evidence suggests that nutrition (e.g., via fruit, vegetables, fish) is important for optimizing cognition and reducing risk of AD. This review examines the role of nutrition on cognition and AD, with specific emphasis on the Mediterranean diet (MeDi) and key nutritional components of the MeDi, namely xanthophyll carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids. Given their selective presence in the brain and their ability to attenuate proposed mechanisms involved in AD pathogenesis (namely oxidative damage and inflammation), these nutritional compounds offer potential for optimizing cognition and reducing the risk of AD.


Non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs) provide sweetness to foods and beverages without adding calories. They have thus been found useful in minimizing the dietary sugar content of diabetics and the dietary energy content of individuals attempting to lose or maintain body weight. Their usefulness in weight reduction has recently been questioned, however, based on the notion that they can actually increase hunger and food intake and thereby promote weight gain. The evidence offered in support of this idea comes principally from the fields of taste physiology, metabolic endocrinology, human behavior, and epidemiology. This review evaluates this evidence and does not find it compelling. Indeed, the most straightforward findings to the contrary derive from several intervention studies in both children and adults showing that the chronic, covert replacement of dietary sugar with NNSs does not increase, and can in fact reduce, energy intake and body weight. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology Volume 6 is February 28, 2015. Please see for revised estimates.

Concepts: Nutrition, Energy, Obesity, Mass, Food, Sugar, Food energy, Food and drink


Intake of whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, may confer health benefits to the host. The beneficial effects of fruits and vegetables were mainly attributed to their richness in polyphenols and microbiota-accessible carbohydrates (MACs). Components in fruits and vegetables modulate composition and associated functions of the gut microbiota, whereas gut microbiota can transform components in fruits and vegetables to produce metabolites that are bioactive and important for health. The progression of multiple diseases, such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease, is associated with diet and gut microbiota. Although the exact causality between these diseases and specific members of gut microbiota has not been well characterized, accumulating evidence supported the role of fruits and vegetables in modulating gut microbiota and decreasing the risks of microbiota-associated diseases. This review summarized the latest findings on the effects of whole fruits and vegetables on gut microbiota and associated diseases. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, Volume 11 is March 25, 2020. Please see for revised estimates.


The legal sale of cannabis-enriched foods and beverages for medical or recreational purposes is increasing in many states and countries, especially in North America and Europe. These food-based cannabis delivery systems vary considerably in their compositions and structures, ranging from low-viscosity watery beverages to solid fatty chocolates. The rate and extent of release of the bioactive components in cannabis within the human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) affect their health and psychoactive effects. Studies with other types of hydrophobic bioactives, such as nutraceuticals and vitamins, have shown that food composition and structure have a major impact on their bioaccessibility, transformation, and absorption within the GIT, thereby influencing their bioavailability and bioactivity. This review outlines how insights on the bioavailability of other lipophilic bioactives can be used to facilitate the design of more efficacious and consistent cannabis-enriched products intended for oral consumption. In particular, the importance of food-matrix composition (such as fat type and level) and structural organization (such as fat domain dimensions) are discussed. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, Volume 11 is March 25, 2020. Please see for revised estimates.


Human milk is a unique and complex fluid that provides infant nutrition and delivers an array of bioactive molecules that serve various functions. Glycans, abundant in milk, can be found as free oligosaccharides or as glycoconjugates. Milk glycans are increasingly linked to beneficial outcomes in neonates through protection from pathogens and modulation of the immune system. Indeed, these glycans influence the development of the infant and the infant-gut microbiota. Bifidobacterium species commonly are enriched in breastfed infants and are among a limited group of bacteria that readily consume human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) and milk glycoconjugates. Given the importance of bifidobacteria in infant health, numerous studies have examined the molecular mechanisms they employ to consume HMOs and milk glycans, thus providing insight into this unique enrichment and shedding light on a range of translational opportunities to benefit at-risk infants.

Concepts: Immune system, Infant, Bacteria, Gut flora, Milk, Breastfeeding, Pathogen, Breast milk


Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has drawn significant attention since the 1980s for its various biological activities. CLA consists mainly of two isomers, cis-9,trans-11 and trans-10,cis-12, and the mixture of these two (CLA mix or 50:50) has been approved for food as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) in the United States since 2008. Along with its original discovery as an anticancer component, CLA has been shown to prevent the development of atherosclerosis, reduce body fat while improving lean body mass, and modulate immune and/or inflammatory responses. This review summarizes the clinical trials involving CLA since 2012; additional uses of CLA for age-associated health issues are discussed; and CLA’s potential health concerns, including glucose homeostasis, oxidative stress, hepatic steatosis, and milk-fat depression, are examined. With ongoing applications to food products, CLA consumption is expected to rise and close monitoring of not only its efficacy but also its known and unknown consequences are required to ensure proper applications of CLA. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Food Science and Technology Volume 7 is February 28, 2016. Please see for revised estimates.

Concepts: Inflammation, Health care, Nutrition, Fatty acids, Obesity, United States, Linoleic acid, Conjugated linoleic acid


Human milk contains a plethora of nutrients and bioactive components to help nourish the developing neonate and is considered the “gold standard” for early life nutrition-as befits the only food “designed” by evolution to feed human infants. Over the past decade, there is considerable evidence that highlights the “intelligence” contained in milk components that contribute to infant health beyond basic nutrition-in areas such as programming the developing microbiome and immune system and protecting against infection. Such discoveries have led to new opportunities for infant milk formula (IMF) manufacturers to refine nutritional content in order to simulate the functionality of breast milk. These include the addition of specialized protein fractions as well as fatty acid and complex carbohydrate components-all of which have mechanistic supporting evidence in terms of improving the health and nutrition of the infant. Moreover, IMF is the single most important dietary intervention whereby the human microbiome can be influenced at a crucial early stage of development. In this respect, it is expected that the complexity of IMF will continue to increase as we get a greater understanding of how it can modulate microbiota development (including the development of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics) and influence long-term health. This review provides a scientific evaluation of key features of importance to infant nutrition, including differences in milk composition and emerging “humanized” ingredients.