Dozens of USDA Agricultural Research Service
scientists are presenting at Experimental Biology 2008, held at the San Diego
Convention Center, April 5-9.
Profiling Promising Plant Compounds
By Rosalie Marion
April 7, 2008
Phenolic compounds are prevalent in
most foods, and their powerful antioxidant capabilities may provide significant
health benefits. Agricultural Research Service (ARS) chemists
Lin have developed a new standardized profiling method for distinguishing
even slight variations in the types and amounts of these compounds in foods.
Discerning potentially beneficial food components is important for conducting
clinical nutrition studies and for developing dietary guidance.
Harnly is presenting this research at the annual Experimental Biology (EB)
2008 meeting this week in San Diego, Calif. He's among ARS scientists giving
more than 50 presentations at the meeting from April 5-9.
Harnly and Lin are with the ARS Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center
in Beltsville, Md. ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency. The EB conference is
sponsored by member societies of the Federation of American Societies for
Experimental Biology, or FASEB.
There are approximately 6,000 different phenolic compounds in plant species
worldwide. The BHNRC researchers, with the center's
Components and Methods Development Laboratory, apply the profiling method
to every new sample as a standard approach. It enables them to make a detailed
identification of the phenolic compounds in most foods, including fruits,
vegetables, spices and dietary supplements.
Using the new method, Harnly and Lin have identified nearly 60 phenolic
components in Ginkgo biloba leaves, including many that had never before been
detected in the popular herb. They also used the unique profiling method to
differentiate phenolics in more than 360 other foods, such as Mexican oregano,
Fuji apple peel, soybean seed, broccoli, dry beans, tea and coffee.
ARS scientists are presenting a wide range of other topics at EB this year.
Those include the continuing problem of excess sodium consumption in the United
States, the effect of consuming cranberry juice short-term on the way blood
vessels respond to stress, and the ability of almond consumption to decrease
damage to cell membranes as measured by biomarkers of oxidative stress.
More information on ARS presenters and session topics is available upon