Academy Professor Kaisa Poutanen and Research Scientist Juhani Sibakov gave presentations at the Food Chemistry session of the ChemBio Finland Day at the Helsinki Exhibition Centre on the 20th of March 2013. The titles of these were: "How the dietary fibres affect in our body – why do we need more of them?" and "Chemical and enzymatic modification of dietary fibres".
Prof. Poutanen gave an overview of population studies related to the intake of dietary fibre (DF) and the reduced risk of certain cancers, stroke and mortality in general. The physiological responses to DF are in an essential role: starting from chewing, along the entire gastrointestinal tract down to fermentation. However, there are a lot of different types of DF on the market, with variable functionalities. The minimum request of "man-made" DFs is that they should increase faecal bulk and/or transit time and be partly fermentative. Some DFs show cholesterol-lowering capacity and/or retard glycemic responses. Many, more physiological functionalities are being investigated, such as anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.
Juhani Sibakov spoke about the chemical and enzymatic modification methods for DFs. Besides the synthetic and purified fibres, he showed how lignin-rich DF components can be isolated from brewers' spent grains, how enzymatic modification of wheat bran works at low water content, and how oat beta-glucan needs to be depolymerised to obtain stable dispersions for beverage applications.
Two other presentations of the session were given by Dr. Kommer Brunt (Carbohydrate Competence Centre, Eurofins Food Testing, the Netherlands) and by Dr. Tuula Sontag-Strohm (the University of Helsinki, Department of Food and Environmental Sciences). Dr. Brunt talked about the evolution of analytical methods of DF, and how different methods take into account especially the small molecular weight DF components. Dr. Sontag-Strohm explained some essential principles of thermodynamics and their role on the functional properties of dietary fibres.
More information about the session:
Poutanen 2013: How the dietary fibres affect in our body – why do we need more of them?
Sibakov 2013: Chemical and enzymatic modification of dietary fibres