Research into procyanidins
“Procyanidins – from a better understanding of their effects to the development of functional food”
This project involves the systematic investigation of procyanidins, a complex group of phenolic secondary plant substances. Their described health benefits make them potentially valuable food components. The overall objective of the project is to understand the physiological effect of procyanidins and then implement this knowledge to develop functional food with an optimised procyanidin content. The project comprises both basic and applied research. It’s being carried out by the University of Potsdam, the University of Braunschweig, the German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke, the Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food in Karlsruhe, the Walther press house in Arnsdorf, and Breko GmbH in Bremen.
The aim of the basic research sub-projects is to investigate the biological effects of defined procyanidins that have been synthesised or isolated from food using preparative techniques, and then to use these findings to create structure-activity relationships. Systematic investigations on the metabolism and bioavailability of these compounds in people – with particular consideration given to the role of the gut and intestinal microbiota – will lay the foundations for a better understanding of the health benefits of this class of compounds. The applied research part is closely interlinked with these issues with the objective of producing functional food prototypes through an innovative combination of processing operations. The focus of all investigations is the aronia berry and grape products, which are rich in procyanidins.
Dr Sabine E. Kulling (Project Coordinator)
Professor of Food Chemistry at the Institute of Human Nutrition, University of Potsdam