Longevity and Quality of Life. Conference Report
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Functional and Medical Foods, Bioactive Compounds and Biomarkers: Longevity and Quality of Life

19th International Conference of FFC - 7th International Symposium of ASFFBC 
November 17-18, 2015, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan


Dear  Reader

The 19th International Conference of Functional Food Center (FFC) and 7th International Symposium of Academic Society for Functional Food and Bioactive Components (ASFFBC) was held on November 17-18, 2015 at Kobe University, Kobe Japan. The conference was titled “Functional and Medical Foods, Bioactive Compounds and Biomarkers: Longevity and Quality of Life”.

The ASFFBC worked jointly with Functional Food Center and the Kobe University to gather experts in medicine, biology, and the food industry to discuss the impact of functional and medical foods and bioactive compounds in the management of chronic diseases and improvement of quality of life. There were a plethora of well-known and established food and medical industry professionals attending this conference. It was an excellent venue for professionals to expand their network, discuss novel ideas, and learn about current functional food and health regulations. Furthermore this conference was successful in assembling scientists, medical doctors, and industry experts from about forty countries. This conference was an excellent platform for scientific discussions on a variety of topics concerning functional foods, bioactive compounds, chronic disease management strategies, and health regulations around the world. 

19th Conference Book
By and large, the 19th International Conference of Functional Food Center was a noteworthy opportunity for experts and professionals to meet and discuss the promotion and development of research for functional foods and bioactive compounds as strategic interventions for chronic diseases and enhancers of the quality of life. Furthermore, the conference program included 30 oral presentations with thought-provoking discussions and 68 poster presentations. The abstract book for this conference consisted of 125 accepted abstracts from conference lecturers and attendees. If you are interested in reading all of the abstracts and presentations at this conference, the abstract book is for sale at amazon.com or for a discounted price (25% discount) through the Functional Food Center (Email:  ffc@functionalfoodcenter.com).

Paperback: 350 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1518730382
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches

We would like to give a special thank you to the members of the organizing committee who helped us pull together support in our efforts to make this an outstanding conference: Yasuhito Shirai, PhD, Professor, co-chairman; Hitoshi Ashida, PhD, Professor; Masashi Mizuno, PhD, Professor; Ro Osawa, PhD, Professor; Ken-ichi Yoshida, PhD, Professor; Kanekanian Ara, Hiroshi Yoshida, MD, PhD, Professor; Francesco Marotta, MD, PhD, Professor; Kamon  Chaiyasit, PhD. We would also like to thank the Kobe University students who helped with the event planning and the presentations during the conference. Functional Food Center would like to thank these people and institutions for their help and contribution to make this year’s conference at Kobe University a success. Also, we would like to thank our sponsors: Functional Food Center (www.functionalfoodscenter.net), Kobe University (www.kobe-u.ac.jp/en/), Nestle (www.nestle.co.jp) Itoen Ltd (www.itoen.co.jp), House Wellness Foods Co. Ltd.(www.house-wf.co.jp), Kingjozo Co. Ltd. (www.hinode-mirin.co.jp), Suntory (www.suntory.co.jp), and Kiku-Masamune Sake (www.kikumasamune.com).     

Danik M. Martirosyan, PhD, President of Functional Food Center/Functional Food Institute opened the conference with a welcome speech. Dr. Martirosyan welcomed attendees and discussed the intended purpose and significance of this conference at Kobe University. He described the reasons to explore functional food interventions for chronic diseases to improve quality of life and longevity as well as the importance of understanding the mechanisms and physiological effects of bioactive compounds. Additionally, Dr. Martirosyan talked about the "Functional Food Definition" according to the FFC, which highlights bioactive compounds as the backbone for functional food.

Lastly, Dr. Martirosyan was pleased to announce a new service Functional Food Center has been working on the past few months. Functional Food Center has designed an evaluation and certification process for functional food products, to ensure the effectiveness, safety, and quality of functional food products. Functional Food Center will endorse functional claims approved by selected peer-reviewers. This will help functional food producers gain consumer trust for their product and help the product meet standards for the new definition of Functional Foods by FFC. Moreover, this service by the FFC will promote well-documented and researched functional foods to inform consumers of quality food products in a variety of markets.  

The conference program involved 8 exciting sessions including 6 sessions of oral presentations and 2 sessions of poster presentations. The following report lists many of the distinguished and outstanding speakers at the 19th International Conference of Functional Food Center.

Pamela Starke-Reed, PhD, Deputy Administrator, Nutrition, Food Safety and Quality, USDA; gave an oral presentation on “Advances in the Functional Foods Research at the USDA Agricultural Research Service”. Dr. Pamela Starke-Reed discussed the research programs and current studies conducted by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in the United States. The agency conducts vast research in agriculture, nutrition, and food safety, among other important topics. In the areas of functional and medical foods research, ARS has conducted research to examine the efficacy of grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt, cereals, and juices, enriched products, and fortified products as functional foods. The ARS has studied medical foods and foods for special dietary uses such as infant formula and hypo allergic foods. She also indicated in her talk that more research studies on specific bioactive compounds and phytonutrients in functional and medical foods for the management of chronic diseases needs to be done in the future.

Fukue Seino, PhD, Deputy Director of the Food Labeling Division, Consumer Affairs Agency, Government of Japan, Tokyo, Japan, presented “Japanese system to regulate functional foods”. Fukue Seino described a newly established system in Japan for the regulation of functional products called “Food with Function Claims”, which was launched this year in April. This approach allows manufacturers to label their functional food product with a function claim that shows the product helps promote the health of people without any disease. The Secretary General of the Consumer Affairs Agency approves this claim, which must be based on current scientific literature. Dr. Seino explained how this system was designed to help inform consumers about product choices and functions.

Danik M. Martirosyan, PhD, President, Functional Food Center/Functional Food Institute, Dallas, TX, USA, gave a talk on “A new definition for functional food by FFC: Creating functional food products using new definition”. Dr. Danik Martirosyan first described the "Functional Food Definition" according to the FFC in his presentation. Dr. Martirosyan explained that the FFC defines functional foods as “natural or processed foods that contain known or unknown biologically-active compounds; which, in defined amounts, provide a clinically proven and documented health benefit for the prevention, management, or treatment of chronic disease”. This definition is unique to other definitions by emphasizing bioactive compounds as the backbone of functional food research. Dr. Martirosyan further discussed the importance of this definition for the development of new functional food products and the new evaluation and certification process of functional food products by the FFC.

Doman Kim, PhD, Professor, Seoul National University, Republic of Korea, presented “Enzymatic production of a natural sweetener rubusoside using a thermostable lactase and its uses”. Dr. Kim discussed his research on Rubusoside (Ru), a sweetener component in herbal tea, which has been shown to enhance the solubility of many pharmaceutically and medicinally important compounds involving anticancer compounds. In his presented study, 31 different commercial hydrolyzing enzymes were tested for the conversion of stevioside (Ste) to Ru. The researchers found that teniposide, used in oral chemotherapy, which is not soluble in water or ether, demonstrated solubility at 3.42 ± 0.11 mg.mL-1 in the presence of 10% (w/v) of Ru.

Santad Wichienchot, PhD, Assistant Professor, Director of Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Nutraceutical and Functional Food (IGS-NFF) and head of post-graduate curriculum in Functional Food and Nutrition at the Prince of Songkla University (PSU), Thailand, presented “Production and evaluation of prebiotics by fecal fermentation in simulated colon system, rat and clinical study”. Dr. Santad Wichienchot summarized the research done by him self and other researchers in Thailand on gut health and prebiotics. His team studies sources of prebiotics from fruits, vegetables and agricultural by-products, production by enzymatic synthesis of prebiotics, purification by microbial fermentation and membrane technology and applications of the prebiotics in nutraceuticals and functional foods. Their research has found that among many bioavailable and consumable fruits and vegetables in Thailand, dragon fruit, palm flesh, palm embryo, jackfruit flesh, jackfruit seed, and okra pod had the highest amount of indigestible oligosaccharides.

Dr. Carsten Gründemann, Principal Investigator at the Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in the Center for Complementary Medicine at the University Medical Center Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Germany, presented “Quality aspects of Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) preparations: Biological and chemical analysis of a functional food mushroom”. In this lecture, Dr. Carsten Gründemann discussed the quality of preparations for Shiitake mushrooms in commercial and experimental Shiitake products. His study investigated in vitro bioactivity, safety and content of ß-glucans and endotoxins in Shiitake extracts. Endotoxin contamination was found, which was to be expected in in vitro testing; however, no signs of cytotoxicity were found in the 7 examined Shiitake extracts. From the results, he recommended at least one defined standardized in vitro test system to be use in order to determine the quality control of the preparation of such Shiitake extracts.

Mikio Nishizawa, MD, PhD, Professor at the Ritsumeikan University (Japan), gave an oral presentation on "The anti-inflammatory effects of the enzyme-treated asparagus extract and its constituents in hepatocytes”. Since moving to Ritsumeikan University in 2007, Professor Nishizawa has been studying an antisense transcript-mediated mechanism to post-transcriptionally regulate the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase, and other genes related to inflammation. In this lecture, Dr. Mikio Nishizawa presented his study that investigated the anti-inflammatory properties of ETAS, the enzyme-treated asparagus extract, in rat hepatocytes. His research team analyzed the effect of ETAS and its constituents on the expression of genes involved in inflammation, including the iNOS gene. According to Dr. Nishizawa’s findings, ETAS and its constituents suppressed NO production and the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Functional foods that affect the expression of these genes are other important targets of his research.

Ara Kanekanian, PhD, Programme Director of the Cardiff Metropolitan University (UK) presented “Bioactive peptides from enzymatic hydrolysis of casein by trypsin and probiotic bacteria”. In this presentation, Dr. Ara Kanekanian discussed the potential health benefits and physiological functions of certain bioactive peptides as a result of protein hydrolysis found in milk and proteolytic enzymes in other fermented dairy products. His study measured the amount of casein hydrolysates in milk and fermented dairy products as well as the physiological effect of casein hydrolysis in providing protection from cardiovascular diseases. His results found an in-vitro crude casein tryptic hydrolysate with molecular weight of <1 kDa (tri and up to hexapeptide) showed a 50% ACE inhibitory activity, 65% cholesterol reduction capability, and 18% oxygen scavenging activity.

Hoyoku Nishino, MD, PhD, Professor of the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine and Ritsumeikan University, lectured on, “Multi-functional aspects of fucoxanthin, a natural carotenoid”. In Dr. Nishino’s presentation, he reviewed the multi-functional aspects of fucoxanthin and its health promoting effects based on the scientific literature. Current data reveals that Fucoxanthin has anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-obesity properties. Mechanisms of fucoxanthin have also been studied. Dr. Nishino furthermore introduced a new academic society to the conference audience called the “fucoxanthin Institute”, which will be created to promote fucoxanthin science.

Francesco Marotta, PhD, MD, Professor, ReGenera Research Group for Aging, Intervention and Montenapoleone Medical Center, Milano, Italy, presented “A fermented papaya preparation: novel avenues in cardiovascular and brain nutritional support strategies”. Dr. Francesco Marotta first discussed the latest successes of Fermented Papaya Preparation (FPP). In recent years Osato Research Institute and his group have shown that FPP can significantly and beneficially affect a number of redox signaling abnormalities in many chronic diseases and in aging. Dr. Marotta also presented a current study with preliminary data that shows FPP may have potential neuroprotective effects for patients with Parkinson’s disease. The preliminary data suggests that FPP could be a part of a comprehensive preventive strategy plan for patients with a higher risk of metabolic diseases and related neurodegenerative disease. He further suggested that more research needs to done on the identification and application of biomarkers and bioactive compounds in nutritional interventional plans that may advance longevity and prevent chronic diseases.

Julius Oben, PhD, Professor, Head of Laboratory of Nutrition and Nutritional Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroon, presented “The effect of a novel dietary supplement ResArgin™ on various age related conditions in rats”. In this lecture, Dr. Julius Oben discussed the effect of ResArgin compared to the effect of Resveratrol on aging biomarkers such as glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, age-related pathologies, and hair regrowth. Previous scientific literature has reported Resveratrol health benefits; however, its cost and limited bioavailability have posed a problem as a functional food. ResArgin, a conjugate of resveratrol and arginine is more bioavailable. In Dr. Oben’s study, glucose tolerance and hair regrowth rates were significantly improved in the ResArgin and Resveratrol groups, compared to the control. A significant reduction of subcutaneous fat was also observed in the ResArgin group. These findings suggest that ResArgin and Resveratrol are both significant options to improve certain age related conditions.

Yasuhito Shirai, PhD, Professor, Department of Agrobioscience, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, Kobe, Japan, presented “Diacylglycerol kinase as a target of functional food to prevent and improve diabetic renal dysfunctions”. In this presentation, Dr. Shirai discussed his current research investigating Diacylglycerol kinase a (DGK), which his results showed is involved in the ViE-induced improvement of Diabetic nephropathy (DN). He suggested that DGKa may potentially be a target of functional foods to prevent and improve diabetic renal dysfunctions in future studies. Furthermore, EGCG is one of the possible functional foods targeting DGKa to prevent and improve diabetic renal dysfunctions. EGCG therefore may confer renal function protection, and with blood glucose uptake confers a second health benefit to individuals with chronic hyperglycemia.

Hiroshi Maeda, PhD, Professor, Sojo University, Japan, presented “Preparation of function-enhanced vegetable oils”. In this lecture, Dr. Maeda discussed how he and his team enriched conventional low functional edible oils to function enriched edible oils, using dried residues of tomato juice and other vegetable residues. The study results indicated that a simple procedure of extracting the antioxidant component in dried tomato juice residues into normal low-grade rapeseed oil not only prevents oxidation of oils, but also is also beneficial in providing various functional components such as flavonoids, carotenoid, or ricopene.

Takuma Hayashi, PhD, Professor, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Japan presented “Preventive effect of ascorbic acid against Tat-dependent HIV-1 replication.” Dr. Hayashi discussed his study, in which he investigated the inhibition mechanism of ascorbic acid against HIV-1, using in vitro and in vivo experiments.  The study described the effects of ascorbic acid on tat- dependent transcription activity through enhancer/promoter of HIV-1-LTR. The study’s results demonstrated that ascorbic acid specifically inhibits tat- dependent HIV-1 RNA elongation system in HIV-1 infected cells.

After the sessions on the last day of the conference, there was a panel discussion on the efficacy and safety of bioactive food compounds. The panelists included: Ken-ichi Yoshida, PhD, Ro Osawa, PhD, Francesco Marotta, MD, Pamela Starke-Reed, PhD, Danik Martirosyan PhD, Hiroshi Maeda, PhD.

The conference was closed with the distribution of awards and membership certificates of the Academic Society for Functional Foods and Bioactive Compounds. Kobe University awarded Motoki Murata, student, from Kyushu University with the best poster presentation with a certificate and watch. Functional Food Society is pleased to announce that Hiroshi Maeda, PhD, Professor, from Sojo University were awarded the Introduction to Functional Food Science, third edition textbook, for the excellent performance in the conference.                   

 Gordon-HallPreviously, FFC has organized conferences in cooperation with major universities such as the University of California (Los Angeles, California), Texas Women’s University (Denton, Texas), Kyoto Prefectural University (Kyoto, Japan), University of California (Santa Barbara, California), Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas), Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), University of San Diego (San Diego, California), and the University of Nevada (Las Vegas, Nevada). Functional Food Center believes that it is imperative to continue such conferences in order to be progressive in the scientific field of functional foods. We would like to take this opportunity to mention that Functional Food Center is at work organizing its next conference, the 20th International Conference of FFC, at Harvard Medical School, Boston Massachusetts, USA, September 22-23, 2016.

Functional Food Center4659 Texas St., Unit 15, San Diego, CA 92116, USA. Phone:  1-866-202-0487 (toll free), 469-441-8272;  ffc_usa@sbcglobal.net;  www.functionalfoodscenter.net



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