Functional food: Rare herbs, seeds and vegetable oils as sources of flavors and phytosterols

Department of Food Technology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade, Belgrade-Zemun (1,2,3)


Two plant species of the genus Anthriscus (A. sylvestris and A. cerefolium) and Laserpitium latifolium L. are described as a good source of new aroma constituents and phytosterols. These plants are the herbs widely distributed in Serbia and possess significant medicinal value. They are widely applied in traditional medicine, but they are not used as functional food or in food technology. Two well-known domestic aromatic plant species: Mentha piperita L. and Thymus vulgaris L. and the lesser known Alliaria officinalis Andrz. are described as a good sources of highly prized essential oils in several wild-growing herbs. They are traditionally used in cooking. Quinoa seeds considered as multipurpose agro-industrial crop and the seeds may be utilized for human food and in flour products and in animal feed stocks because of its high nutritive value. Furthermore, watermelon meal possesses good nutritional quality, which may be commercially used as a new feed in the human or in the cattle nutrition. Seed oils, from Rubus ideaus, Ribes nigrum and walnut are also presented. The chemical composition on the sterols and essential fatty acids content, of these seed oils are shown that some of them can be successfully used in human nutrition, under specific conditions. Finally, developing new cholesterol-reducing products, such as phytosterols and their esters, which are marked as cholesterol-reducing food ingredient as well as the information on its incorporation into foods, are also included.

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