Bioactive compounds in agricultural and food products: opportunities and challenges

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Dario Donno
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali e Alimentari, Università degli Studi di Torino

Maria Gabriella Mellano
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali e Alimentari, Università degli Studi di Torino


The interest in bioactive compounds, phytochemicals and functional foods continues to grow, powered by progressive research efforts to identify properties and potential applications of nutraceutical substances, and coupled with public interest and consumer demand. The principal reasons for the growth of the functional food market are current population and health trends. A “nutraceutical” is any substance that may be considered a food or part of a food and provides medical or health benefits, encompassing, prevention and treatment of diseases: in many cases there are only indications suggesting potential health-impacting activities, while in other cases results are only based on in-vitro observations. The aim of this special issue would be to separate myth from truth. This issue will be directed at reviewing what has been proven and approved as real health benefit, what has been legally approved for labelling, what is only based on indications for potential health benefits and what is myth.

In recent years, agricultural products, food products, plant-derived extracts, by-products have become very attractive to the food industry, prompting their use as replacements for synthetic chemicals and botanicals, but neglected and underutilized natural food resources are suffering from less attention and research, and their nutritional, economic and socio-cultural potentials are not fully exploited: data on chemical composition and health-promoting properties of several plants, particularly those that are not used in nutrition and medicine, still lack. For this reason, the identification and quantification of bioactive compounds in foods and the evaluation of their biological activities are important to gauge their efficacy as dietary interventions and healthy application.

Topics covered in this special issue include but are not limited to:

• non-traditional foods and their health-promoting properties;
• plant species agrobiodiversity and human nutrition;
• agricultural and derived-products;
• plant-derived bioactive substances and phytocomplexes;
• analytical strategies for bioactive compound identification and quantification;
• delivery systems for phytochemicals in foods;
• traditional and advanced extraction methods;
in vivo and in vitro bioactivity of extracted nutraceuticals.


plant foods, healthy properties, phytochemicals, agrobiodiversity, analytical strategies, bioactivity, functional foods, biological activity tests, natural antioxidants

Instructions for authors:
Submission due date:31/01/2018

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