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Agricultural biotechnology and food biotechnology
Functional foods are nutriments consumed to cover the nutritional needs that cannot be met by a normal diet alone. Consumption of functional foods has proven to have physiological benefits such as reduced risk of certain chronic diseases, thus differentiating them from conventional foods. Several health benefits have been reported to be associated with the consumption of nutraceuticals and functional foods. Many natural sources have been successfully implemented in imparting additional health benefits and preventing the onset of chronic diseases related to aging, faulty genetics, or lifestyle. Functional foods can basically be categorised into different groups based on their nature and source of origin. The functional food industry utilises enzymes in large scale for synthesis of new and better products. Enzymes play different roles in the production of nutraceuticals and functional foods as well as the fortification of food. Enzymes are used over conventional methods due to cost effectiveness and higher yield in addition to being a cleaner and greener alternative. Nutraceutical and functional food products developed by the application of enzymes include non-digestible oligosaccharides, cereal and dairy based ingredients, prebiotic products, phytochemicals, nutraceutical lipids, bioactive peptides, special protein hydrolysates, and anti-oxidant peptides. However, there are certain limitations pertaining to the use of enzymes. Enzymes are proteins and therefore extremely sensitive to ambient conditions. Furthermore, they cannot be reused adding up the production cost. Nevertheless, this problem can be resolved by immobilising enzymes to compatible nanoparticles. Studies have shown that immobilised enzymes exhibit higher activities compared to their native counterparts in aqueous phase.
Ravindran, R., Sharma, S. & Jaiswal, A. K. (2016). Enzymes in processing of functional foods ingredients and nutraceuticals. In: Martirosyan D. M. (Ed.). Functional Foods for Chronic Diseases (Vol 1). Dallas, TX, USA, D&A Inc. (pp. 360-385). ISBN-13: 978-1536919431.