Development in Food Industry: Innovative Functional Food and Food Technology Strategies

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In the new millennium, innovative functional food (i.e. nutraceuticals) has aroused the attention of the scientific

community, food manufacturers and consumers. The era of these products is rapidly expanding and new
research in this area is constantly being conducted. Apart from the nutritional value of nutraceuticals, their
addition into food matrices may have a significant impact on health conditions (including physiological benefits
or disease-preventing properties). Based on these considerations, several technological food approaches have
been explored and even applied to enhance food proprieties (e.g. polyphenols, vitamins, antioxidants), to preserve
the product freshness and safety (e.g. new types of food packaging, prevention of food allergenic reactions)
and to guarantee the authenticity of food products (e.g. traceability).
The aim of this issue is to collect and update the state of the art of the scientific perspective and technological
innovations for nutraceutical processing and technology available to guarantee food safety and reliability.
Therefore, a multidisciplinary team of international experts discuss the most relevant topics in this area. After a
peer-review process following the standard of the journal, six manuscripts were accepted for publication.
An important food safety issue is related to allergenic food ingredients. In this special issue, Barros and
Cosme identified the allergenic components of the most important causes of food allergies. The main methods
that comprise both precision and sensitivity, used to detect and quantify allergenicity in food products, have
also been explored and are being normally used to protect allergic consumers.
Polyphenols are ubiquitous natural food compounds that present important beneficial health activities (e.g.
chemopreventive, cytostatic, immunomodulatory, bacteriostatic/bactericidal, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and
antioxidant). Propolis, wine and many medicinal plants used in everyday life as functional food represent rich
sources of polyphenols. Based on these considerations, Medi}-[ari} et al. gave an overview on the authenticity
and geographical traceability based on polyphenolic profile of Croation propolis and wine.
Favaro-Trindade et al. addressed the state of the art of the application of spray chilling method to encapsulate
different nutraceuticals (e.g. vitamins, minerals, proteins) and demonstrated several advantages of this
approach: hygroscopicity reduction, taste and odour masking, solubility change, physical protection, and controlled
release of food ingredients.
Nanotechnology applied to the agro-food sector involves, nowadays, a significant number of researchers
worldwide. Lopes et al. reviewed the major concepts linked to nanostructures and nano-based instruments used
in the food sector, as well as their applications in agro-food products. Consumers’ apprehension regarding food
stability and safety issues is also considered.
The traceability of food products is a major concern for consumers and producers in order to guarantee fair
trade and the option to select the food products more consciously. The use of molecular markers is a procedure
that can accurately identify the species/varieties/breeds present in the food products. Martins-Lopes et al. reviewed
the use of PCR-based molecular markers, and explored some applications in different areas: detection of
genetically modified organisms, denomination of origin protection, and the detection of allergenic and intolerance
reactions in the meat sector.
The resource of new molecular tools in order to enhance food proprieties is reviewed by Martinelli et al. The
authors addressed the research based on gene transfer applied to several food crops and animal production. The
gene modulation (i.e. gene knock-down and knock-out) was also extensively examined considering exogenous
RNA-based gene regulation and RNAi technology in both plant and animals.
We would like to thank all the authors of this special issue for contributing with high quality manuscripts.
We are also very grateful to all the reviewers, who had the kindness of critically evaluating the articles in a
timely manner. We are thankful to the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Food Technology and Biotechnology, Professor
Vladimir Mr{a, for giving us the opportunity of organizing this special issue. We express our very special thanks
and high appreciation to Zrinka and Iva and the entire editorial team of the journal for their high capacity in
coordinating the communication and the editorial process.

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