Formulation of a probiotic product using Almond gum

Background: The application of probiotics in food has expanded significantly, yet its viability remains a challenge. In response to this issue, this study explores a unique approach. Almond gum, a natural extract from Prunus dulcis, is utilized as the primary carrier matrix for a novel probiotic product featuring Saccharomyces boulardii, a probiotic yeast. Methods: This study involves the entrapment of S. boulardii in almond gum through centrifugation (5 min at 1300 × g) and subsequent 24 h drying at 50 °C. Sensory evaluation and other investigations were conducted at different pH levels to assess viability and performance. Results: Post-drying entrapment efficiency was 83.85%, underscoring the benefits of choosing almond gum as a carrier matrix. Promising results were observed from viability testing conducted in gastric juice (pH 1.2) and in simulated intestinal fluid (pH 6.8). Matrix stability was assessed by measuring cfu ml-1 following 7 days' storage at different temperatures, complemented by sensory analysis. Conclusion: Almond gum is a promising carrier matrix for probiotic products. Its high entrapment efficiency and its viability under challenging pH conditions demonstrate its efficacy. It is rich in carbohydrates and serves a dual purpose by acting as a prebiotic source, as confirmed through ultraviolet-visible (UV-visible) analysis. The study underscores the potential of this novel approach, providing insights into responses to viability challenges in probiotic food products. © 2024 Society of Chemical Industry.

Macadamia oil-based oleogels as cocoa butter alternatives: Physical properties, oxidative stability, lipolysis, and application

In this study, macadamia oil-based oleogels were prepared using monoglyceride stearate (MG) as a gelator with a low critical gelation concentration (3.0 wt%). The physical properties of the oleogels were evaluated by polarized light microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, X-ray diffraction, texture and rheological analysis. And the lipid digestion and oxidative stability of the macadamia oil were determined by pH titration and accelerated oxidation test, respectively. The results showed that the hardness, oil binding capacity, and thermal stability of the oleogels increased with increasing MG concentration, which was attributed to the formation of a network of MG crystals held together by van der Waals interactions and hydrogen bonds. Rheological analysis indicated that all the oleogels exhibited a thermally reversible solid-to-liquid transition and viscoelastic behavior at ambient temperatures. Moreover, the formation of oleogels increased fatty acid release during in vitro lipid digestion and improved the oxidative stability of the macadamia oil. In addition, the potential application of these oleogels as replacements for saturated fats in foods was demonstrated by creating a chocolate product where the cocoa butter was replaced with macadamia oil-based oleogels with a high degree of unsaturation. These results can provide guidance for the preparation of macadamia oil-based oleogels, which may increase their application in foods.


A review to frame the utilization of Eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) cultivars in alley cropping systems

Agroforestry adoptition is gaining considerable traction in the temperate US with growing popularity and government incentives (e.g., the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Project) for systems with greenhouse gas mitigation potential. The identification of complementary species combinations will accelerate the expansion of temperate agroforestry. Since the mid-19th century, European timber plantations have taken advantage of the late-leafing habit of walnut (Juglans spp.) to grow a spring grain crop between the tree rows. Such alley cropping systems increase land-use efficiency and provide extensive environmental benefits. A parallel but underutilized opportunity in North American involves incorporating eastern black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) cultivars into alley cropping systems (ACS). Eastern black walnut, henceforth referred to as black walnut, is native to North America and exhibits architectural and phenological characters for reduced competition with winter cereal crops grown in alleys. Black walnut also produces nutritious nuts, and cultivars with improved kernel percentage and mass offer potential to cultivate the species as a domesticated orchard crop, as opposed to just the high-quality timber for which it is well-known. However, field observations suggest significant variation in tree architecture and phenology amongst cultivars, which is likely to influence complementarity with winter grains. Comprehensive characterization of trait genetic diversity is needed to best leverage germplasm into productive systems. Here, we review literature related to implementing ACS with consideration of cultivar-dependent traits that may reduce interspecific competition. While the focus is directed toward black walnut, broad characterization of other underutilized fruit/nut species will allow for robust diversification of ACS.

Large-scale assessment of date palm plantations based on UAV remote sensing and multiscale vision transformer

Timely and efficient mapping of date palm plantations through unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing is critical for continuous observation, health and risk evaluation, pest management, resource optimization, and ensuring the long-term sustainability of the dates industry. This study presents an efficient and cost-effective transformer-based approach to identify, countify, monitor, and evaluate the overall well-being of palm trees using extensive UAV imagery. The suggested approach integrates an improved multiscale vision transformer, feature pyramid network, Mask R–CNN, and improved slicing-aided hyper inference for practical large-scale assessments. This combination enabled the extraction of multiscale features, capturing long-range dependencies in the data and boosting the model's generalizability. The proposed architecture outperformed several CNN-based architectures (including Mask R–CNN, Cascade Mask R–CNN, Point-based Rendering, and You Only Look At CoefficientTs), achieving F-scores of 94.33% and 94.2% for date palm tree detection and segmentation, respectively. The transformer-based architecture was optimized using transfer learning to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy date palm trees, particularly those with severe infestations. The potential generic condition of date palm trees was predicted with an F-score of 88.4%. Further advancements in this field could pave the way for a proactive strategy, enabling timely detection, which would aid in pest management and support the sustainable growth of the dates sector.

Alternative fertilization practices lead to improvements in yield-scaled global warming potential in almond orchards

This study investigates the impact of alternative fertilization practices on the yield-scaled global warming potential (YS-GWP) in almond orchards. Almond production is a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, primarily due to nitrogen-based mineral fertilizers. This research aims to identify strategies that reduce the environmental footprint of almond cultivation while maintaining yield. Field experiments were conducted in an almond orchard using three alternative fertigation practices: Advance Grower Practice (AGP), Pump and Fertilize (P&F), and High Frequency Low Concentration (HFLC). AGP is the current practice used by producers to meet annual N demand for almond tree growth; P&F is a reduction in applied N rate in response to measured N concentrations in the groundwater so that the added N and groundwater N reach the same total N applied; HFLC is a practice of applying smaller N rates per individual event. HFLC uses a greater number of fertigation events to reach similar total annual N load as other treatments. Cumulative N2O and CH4 emissions were used to determine GWP by converting the emissions to carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) within a 100-year horizon. Nitrous oxide emissions were multiplied by a radiative forcing potential CO2eq of 298 and CH4 by 25 (UNFCCC, 2007). The results revealed that both P&F and HFLC reduced the YS-GWP compared to AGP. HFLC demonstrated 52–78% decrease in GWP per unit of almond yield compared to AGP, while P&F showed 48–58% decrease over AGP. These reductions were attributed to the reduced nitrous oxide emissions associated with P&F and HFLC. Further, P&F and HFLC tended to have higher N use efficiency than AGP. We demonstrate that adopting alternative fertilization practices can effectively mitigate the environmental footprint of almond orchards while maintaining crop yields. These practices offer viable options for almond growers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance sustainability, and contribute to climate change mitigation.

17th Food Exhibition for China Nuts & Dried Fruits

Come visit us in Hall 2, stand B-10

From April 16-20 the INC will be exhibiting at the 17th Food Exhibition for China Nuts & Dried Fruits. The exhibition will attract over 100,000 visitors both national and international and 2,000 exhibitors. Promoting key INC activities in this core market for growth, the INC stand will be located at Hall 2, Global Nuts and Dried Fruit Food, stand no. B10. For those attending, we invite you to visit us there.

Design of the Intervention to Reduce Early Peanut Allergy in Children (iREACH): A practice-based clinical trial

Background: Introducing peanut products early can prevent peanut allergy (PA). The "Addendum guidelines for the prevention of PA in the United States" (PPA guidelines) recommend early introduction of peanut products to low and moderate risk infants and evaluation prior to starting peanut products for infants at high risk for PA (those with severe eczema and/or egg allergy). Rapid adoption of guidelines could aid in lowering the prevalence of PA. The Intervention to Reduce Early (Peanut) Allergy in Children (iREACH) trial was designed to promote PPA guideline adherence by pediatric clinicians. Methods: A two-arm, cluster-randomized, controlled clinical trial was designed to measure the effectiveness of an intervention that included clinician education and accompanying clinical decision support tools integrated in electronic health records (EHR) versus standard care. Randomization was at the practice level (n = 30). Primary aims evaluated over an 18-month trial period assess adherence to the PPA guidelines using EHR documentation at 4- and 6-month well-child care visits aided by natural language processing. A secondary aim will evaluate the effectiveness in decreasing the incidence of PA by age 2.5 years using EHR documentation and caregiver surveys. The unit of observation for evaluations are individual children with clustering at the practice level. Conclusion: Application of this intervention has the potential to inform the development of strategies to speed implementation of PPA guidelines.


Validation of the NUT CRACKER diagnostic algorithm and prediction for cashew and pistachio co-allergy

Background: Due to the high cross sensitization among tree nuts, the NUT CRACKER study proposed a diagnostic algorithm to minimize the number of required oral food challenges (OFC). Objective: The objective of this study was to validate the algorithm for cashew and pistachio allergy and determine markers for allergic severity. Methods: Patients (n=125) aged 7.9 (5.9-11.2) years (median (IQR)) with suspected tree nut allergy were evaluated prospectively with decision tree points based on skin prick test (SPT), basophil activation test (BAT) and knowledge of the coincidence of allergies. Validation of allergic status was determined by OFC. Markers of clinical severity were evaluated using the combined original and prospective cohort (n=187) in relationship to SPT, BAT and Ana o 3-sIgE. Results: Reactivity to cashew in SPT, BAT and Ana o 3-sIgE and the incidence of abdominal pain upon challenge were significantly higher in dual-allergic cashew/pistachio patients (n=82) vs single cashew allergy (n=18) (p=0.001). All three diagnostic tests showed significant inverse correlation with log10 reaction doses for positive cashew OFC. The algorithm reduced overall the total number of OFCs by 72.0% with a PPV and NPV of 93.0% and 99.0%, respectively. Cashew false positives were observed primarily in hazelnut allergic patients (p=0.026). In this population, Ana o 3-sIgE could diagnose cashew allergy with a sensitivity over 90%, and a specificity over 95%. Conclusion: The NUT CRACKER diagnostic algorithm was validated and reduced the number of diagnostic OFCs required. Markers for severity phenotypes may guide oral immunotherapy protocols, improving the risk/benefit ratio for patients.


Long-term Safety Results of Epicutaneous Immunotherapy (EPIT) with Viaskin Peanut in Peanut-Allergic Children Aged 4-11 Years in the Phase 3 PEOPLE Study

Rationale: Previously reported interim results from PEOPLE (PEPITES Open-Label Extension) demonstrated Viaskin Peanut 250 μg (VP250) led to continued treatment response and was well-tolerated out to 3 years. Here we report PEOPLE end-of-study safety results. Methods: In PEPITES, 356 peanut-allergic participants (aged 4-11 years) were randomized to placebo or VP250. In PEOPLE, 298 participants were treated with open-label VP250 for up to 48 (placebo+VP250) or 60 (VP250+VP250) months. Safety outcomes included duration and severity of treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) and serious TEAEs. Results: 87/298 (29.2%) participants continued treatment in the PEOPLE extension period (Years 4 and 5); mean (range) age was 11.1 (8-16) years. During the Extension Period, there were no discontinuations due to TEAEs, or treatment-related serious TEAEs; 1 (1.1%) participant experienced a treatment-related severe TEAE. Treatment-related TEAEs decreased over time: 63/87 (72.4%) in Year 1 to 9/59 (15.3%) in Year 5. Subjects reporting TEAEs leading to systemic or inhaled corticosteroid use decreased from 20/87 (23.0%) in Year 1 to 1/59 (1.7%) in Year 5. Treatment-related anaphylaxis occurred in 2/87 (2.3%) (Years 1 and 2 only). Treatment-related TEAEs leading to epinephrine use occurred in 1/87 (1.1%) participants (Year 1 only). Overall mean treatment compliance remained high out to 5 years (93%). Conclusions: VP250 treatment over 5 years in PEOPLE showed decreasing frequency and severity of TEAEs, no new safety signals, and high treatment compliance. These data suggest long-term VP250 treatment in peanut-allergic children may have a favorable safety and tolerability profile, which may facilitate its use over multiple years of treatment.


An Unintentional Randomized Trial of Early Environmental Exposure to Peanut: The Younger Siblings of LEAP Participants

Rationale: The Dual Allergen Exposure Hypothesis proposes that food allergy develops due to cutaneous exposure in the absence of oral consumption. Evaluation of the younger siblings of the Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) participants provides an opportunity to understand the impact of environmental exposure to peanut during infancy and early childhood on the development of peanut sensitization and allergy through a prospective randomized trial of high environmental versus low environmental peanut exposure. Methods: LEAP-Trio evaluated the allergic status of younger siblings who resided in the home of LEAP participants at any time during the LEAP intervention. The primary endpoint was sensitization (defined as skin prick test ≥ 3 mm, peanut specific-IgE ≥ 0.35 kU/L, or Ara h2 ≥ 0.1 kU/L). Results: 144 younger siblings of LEAP avoiders and 154 younger siblings of LEAP consumers participated. Younger siblings of consumers had a higher rate of sensitization than younger siblings of avoiders, 30.4% (41/135) versus 20.0% (26/130) P=0.055, and a higher rate of allergy, 10.0% (15/150) versus 5.0% (7/140) P=0.116. Among younger siblings of LEAP consumers, younger siblings that introduced peanut in the first year of life had a significantly lower rate of sensitization than younger siblings that did not introduce peanut, 18.3% (13/71) versus 44.4% (28/63) (P=0.002). No differences were found in egg or milk sensitization between groups. Conclusions: There was a trend toward increased sensitization and allergy in younger siblings of LEAP consumers, an effect that was greatly reduced if the younger sibling introduced peanut early.