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Molecular Approaches to Improving Food Quality and Safety.

Usually one associates food safety and quality with the complete food product or with the organisms that are associated with the plant or animal from the product comes. However, it looks as though conventional research methods are no longer sufficient to bring about the improvements in safety and quality that are being demanded.

One might have thought that improving quality meant the eradication of blemishes and the desired functionality of protein, carbohydrates, fat, etc. Now, it is being taken to mean the all-year-round availability of nutritious choices of all food groups to promote optimum nutrition, especially in the elderly and the very young. It also allows consumers to match their calorie intake with their individual demands. Safety is now meaning the measurement of ever smaller quantities of compounds or the presence of certain microbes. This, in turn, is being interpreted as the freedom from pathogenic micro-organisms, disease and pest resistance in plants to ensure the absence of residues, freedom from toxic heavy metals and mycotoxins, and varieties of plants and grains containing the least possible amounts of deleterious natural constituents, and rapid on-line assay methods that require minimum skill.

This volume is intended to provide a catalyst for rapid expansion in the development of new, higher quality and safer products through the use of biotechnology. What is described in each chapter provides examples of how particular changes or improvements in food quality or safety can be brought about using recently acquired knowledge of the biochemistry and molecular biology of microbes and higher organisms. Examples include the alteration of quality and quantity of proteins by plant genetic engineering. This can lead to new crop lines that are resistant to pests or are improved with regard to their nutritional value or ripening characteristics. Examples are also given of biotechnological methods for improving muscle foods.

The various contributors have created the following chapters: Enhancing the nutritional quality of crop plants - design, construction and expression of an artificial plant storage protein gene; De-amidation and phosphorylation to improve protein functionality in foods; Natural enzyme and biocontrol methods for improving fruits and fruit quality; Safety evaluation of food enzymes from genetically engineered organisms; Toward the genetic engineering of disease resistance in plants - the transfer of pea genes to potatoes; Automated system for microbial screening/breeding; DNA probes for the identification of pathogenic foodborne bacteria and viruses; Rapid methods for the detection of Listeria; Molecular strategies for reducing aflatoxin levels in crops before harvest; and Molecular strategies for improving the quality of muscle food products.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Food Trade Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1993
Words:418
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