The food matrix of spinach is a limiting factor in determining the bioavailability of beta-carotene and to a lesser extent of lutein in humans. (1/1384)

Carotenoid bioavailability depends, amongst other factors, on the food matrix and on the type and extent of processing. To examine the effect of variously processed spinach products and of dietary fiber on serum carotenoid concentrations, subjects received, over a 3-wk period, a control diet (n = 10) or a control diet supplemented with carotenoids or one of four spinach products (n = 12 per group): whole leaf spinach with an almost intact food matrix, minced spinach with the matrix partially disrupted, enzymatically liquefied spinach in which the matrix was further disrupted and the liquefied spinach to which dietary fiber (10 g/kg wet weight) was added. Consumption of spinach significantly increased serum concentrations of all-trans-beta-carotene, cis-beta-carotene, (and consequently total beta-carotene), lutein, alpha-carotene and retinol and decreased the serum concentration of lycopene. Serum total beta-carotene responses (changes in serum concentrations from the start to the end of the intervention period) differed significantly between the whole leaf and liquefied spinach groups and between the minced and liquefied spinach groups. The lutein response did not differ among spinach groups. Addition of dietary fiber to the liquefied spinach had no effect on serum carotenoid responses. The relative bioavailability as compared to bioavailability of the carotenoid supplement for whole leaf, minced, liquefied and liquefied spinach plus added dietary fiber for beta-carotene was 5.1, 6.4, 9.5 and 9.3%, respectively, and for lutein 45, 52, 55 and 54%, respectively. We conclude that the bioavailability of lutein from spinach was higher than that of beta-carotene and that enzymatic disruption of the matrix (cell wall structure) enhanced the bioavailability of beta-carotene from whole leaf and minced spinach, but had no effect on lutein bioavailability.  (+info)

Asthma visits to emergency rooms and soybean unloading in the harbors of Valencia and A Coruna, Spain. (2/1384)

Soybean unloading in the harbor of Barcelona, Spain, has been associated with large increases in the numbers of asthma patients treated in emergency departments between 1981 and 1987. In this study, the association between asthma and soybean unloading in two other Spanish cities, Valencia and A Coruna, was assessed. Asthma admissions were retrospectively identified for the period 1993-1995, and harbor activities were investigated in each location. Two approaches were used to assess the association between asthma and soybean unloading: One used unusual asthma days (days with an unusually high number of emergency room asthma visits) as an effect measure, and the other estimated the relative increase in the daily number of emergency room visits by autoregressive Poisson regression, adjusted for meteorologic variables, seasonality, and influenza incidence. No association between unusual asthma days and soya unloading was observed in either Valencia or A Coruna, except for one particular dock in Valencia. When the association between unloaded products and the daily number of emergency asthma visits was studied, a statistically significant association was observed for unloading of soya husk (relative risk = 1.50, 95% confidence interval 1.16-1.94) and soybeans (relative risk = 1.31, 95% confidence interval 1.08-1.59) in A Coruna. In Valencia, a statistical association was found only for the unloading of soybeans at two particular docks. Although these findings support the notion that asthma outbreaks are not a common hidden condition in most harbors where soybeans are unloaded, the weak associations reported are likely to be causal. Therefore, appropriate control measures should be implemented to avoid soybean dust emissions, particularly in harbors with populations living in the vicinity.  (+info)

An outbreak of viral gastroenteritis associated with consumption of sandwiches: implications for the control of transmission by food handlers. (3/1384)

Although food handlers are often implicated as the source of infection in outbreaks of food-borne viral gastroenteritis, little is known about the timing of infectivity in relation to illness. We investigated a gastroenteritis outbreak among employees of a manufacturing company and found an association (RR = 14.1, 95% CI = 2.0-97.3) between disease and eating sandwiches prepared by 6 food handlers, 1 of whom reported gastroenteritis which had subsided 4 days earlier. Norwalk-like viruses were detected by electron microscopy or reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in stool specimens from several company employees, the sick food handler whose specimen was obtained 10 days after resolution of illness, and an asymptomatic food handler. All RT-PCR product sequences were identical, suggesting a common source of infection. These data support observations from recent volunteer studies that current recommendations to exclude food handlers from work for 48-72 h after recovery from illness may not always prevent transmission of Norwalk-like viruses because virus can be shed up to 10 days after illness or while exhibiting no symptoms.  (+info)

Tomatoes, tomato-based products, lycopene, and cancer: review of the epidemiologic literature. (4/1384)

The epidemiologic literature in the English language regarding intake of tomatoes and tomato-based products and blood lycopene (a compound derived predominantly from tomatoes) level in relation to the risk of various cancers was reviewed. Among 72 studies identified, 57 reported inverse associations between tomato intake or blood lycopene level and the risk of cancer at a defined anatomic site; 35 of these inverse associations were statistically significant. No study indicated that higher tomato consumption or blood lycopene level statistically significantly increased the risk of cancer at any of the investigated sites. About half of the relative risks for comparisons of high with low intakes or levels for tomatoes or lycopene were approximately 0.6 or lower. The evidence for a benefit was strongest for cancers of the prostate, lung, and stomach. Data were also suggestive of a benefit for cancers of the pancreas, colon and rectum, esophagus, oral cavity, breast, and cervix. Because the data are from observational studies, a cause-effect relationship cannot be established definitively. However, the consistency of the results across numerous studies in diverse populations, for case-control and prospective studies, and for dietary-based and blood-based investigations argues against bias or confounding as the explanation for these findings. Lycopene may account for or contribute to these benefits, but this possibility is not yet proven and requires further study. Numerous other potentially beneficial compounds are present in tomatoes, and, conceivably, complex interactions among multiple components may contribute to the anticancer properties of tomatoes. The consistently lower risk of cancer for a variety of anatomic sites that is associated with higher consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products adds further support for current dietary recommendations to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.  (+info)

Processing, mixing, and particle size reduction of forages for dairy cattle. (5/1384)

Adequate forage amounts in both physical and chemical forms are necessary for proper ruminal function in dairy cows. Under conditions in which total amounts of forage or particle size of the forage are reduced, cows spend less time ruminating and have a decreased amount of buoyant digesta in the rumen. These factors reduce saliva production and allow ruminal pH to fall, depressing activity of cellulolytic bacteria and causing a prolonged period of low ruminal pH. Insufficient particle size of the diet decreases the ruminal acetate-to-propionate ratio and reduces ruminal pH. The mean particle size of the diet, the variation in particle size, and the amount of chemical fiber (i.e., NDF or ADF) are all nutritionally important for dairy cows. Defining amounts and physical characteristics of fiber is important in balancing dairy cattle diets. Because particle size plays such an important role in digestion and animal performance, it must be an important consideration from harvest through feeding. Forages should not be reduced in particle size beyond what is necessary to achieve minimal storage losses and what can be accommodated by existing equipment. Forage and total mixed ration (TMR) particle sizes are potentially reduced in size by all phases of harvesting, storing, taking out of storage, mixing, and delivery of feed to the dairy cow. Mixing feed causes a reduction in size of all feed particles and is directly related to TMR mixing time; field studies show that the longest particles (>27 mm) may be reduced in size by 50%. Forage and TMR particle size as fed to the cows should be periodically monitored to maintain adequate nutrition for the dairy cow.  (+info)

Mechanical maceration of alfalfa. (6/1384)

Maceration is an intensive forage-conditioning process that can increase field drying rates by as much as 300%. Because maceration shreds the forage and reduces its rigidity, improvements in bulk density, silage compaction, and ensiling characteristics have been observed. Macerating forage also increases the surface area available for microbial attachment in the rumen, thereby increasing forage digestibility and animal performance. Feeding trials with sheep have shown increases in DMI of 5 to 31% and increases in DM digestibility of from 14 to 16 percentage units. Lactation studies have demonstrated increases in milk production and BW gain for lactating Holstein cows; however, there is a consistent decrease in milk fat percentage when dairy cattle are fed macerated forage. In vitro studies have shown that maceration decreases lag time associated with NDF digestion and increases rate of NDF digestion. In situ digestibility studies have shown that maceration increases the size of the instantly soluble DM pool and decreases lag time associated with NDF digestion, but it may not consistently alter the rate or extent of DM and NDF digestion.  (+info)

A community outbreak of food-borne small round-structured virus gastroenteritis caused by a contaminated water supply. (7/1384)

In August 1994, 30 of 135 (23%) bakery plant employees and over 100 people from South Wales and Bristol in the United Kingdom, were affected by an outbreak of gastroenteritis. Epidemiological studies of employees and three community clusters found illness in employees to be associated with drinking cold water at the bakery (relative risk 3.3, 95%, CI 1.6-7.0), and in community cases with eating custard slices (relative risk 19.8, 95%, CI 2.9-135.1) from a variety of stores supplied by one particular bakery. Small round-structured viruses (SRSV) were identified in stool specimens from 4 employees and 7 community cases. Analysis of the polymerase and capsid regions of the SRSV genome by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) demonstrated viruses of both genogroups (1 and 2) each with several different nucleotide sequences. The heterogeneity of the viruses identified in the outbreak suggests that dried custard mix may have been inadvertently reconstituted with contaminated water. The incident shows how secondary food contamination can cause wide-scale community gastroenteritis outbreaks, and demonstrates the ability of molecular techniques to support classical epidemiological methods in outbreak investigations.  (+info)

Real-time monitoring of Escherichia coli O157:H7 adherence to beef carcass surface tissues with a bioluminescent reporter. (8/1384)

A method for studying bacteria that are attached to carcass surfaces would eliminate the need for exogenous sampling and would facilitate understanding the interaction of potential human food-borne pathogens with food animal tissue surfaces. We describe such a method in which we used a bioluminescent reporter strain of Escherichia coli O157:H7 that was constructed by transformation with plasmid pCGLS1, an expression vector that contains a complete bacterial luciferase (lux) operon. Beef carcass surface tissues were inoculated with the bioluminescent strain, and adherent bacteria were visualized in real time by using a sensitive photon-counting camera to obtain in situ images. The reporter strain was found to luminesce from the tissue surfaces whether it was inoculated as a suspension in buffer or as a suspension in a bovine fecal slurry. With this method, areas of tissues inoculated with the reporter strain could be studied without obtaining, excising, homogenizing, and culturing multiple samples from the tissue surface. Use of the complete lux operon as the bioluminescent reporter eliminated the need to add exogenous substrate. This allowed detection and quantitation of bacterial inocula and rapid evaluation of adherence of a potential human pathogen to tissue surfaces. Following simple water rinses of inoculated carcass tissues, the attachment duration varied with different carcass surface types. On average, the percent retention of bioluminescent signal from the reporter strain was higher on lean fascia-covered tissue (54%) than on adipose fascia-covered tissue (18%) following water washing of the tissues. Bioluminescence and culture-derived viable bacterial counts were highly correlated (r2 = 0.98). Real-time assessment of microbial attachment to this complex menstruum should facilitate evaluation of carcass decontamination procedures and mechanistic studies of microbial contamination of beef carcass tissues.  (+info)