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Galactolipids as Potential Health Promoting Compounds in Vegetable Foods

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Galactolipids are a class of compounds widely found in the plant kingdom, including edible plants, and are an important part of the cell membranes. Galactolipids in plants consists mainly of monogalactosyldiacylglycerols and digalactosyldiacylglycerols containing one or two saturated and/or unsaturated fatty acids linked to the glycerol moiety. Several galactolipids have been shown to possess in vitro and/or in vivo anti-tumor promoting activity and antiinflammatory activity. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the galactolipid, 1,2-di-O-α-linolenoyl-3-O-β-Dgalactopyranosyl- sn-glycerol (1), may be important for the anti-inflammatory activity of dog rose (Rosa canina), a medicinal plant with documented effect on anti-inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. This galactolipid also occurs in relative high concentrations in certain legumes (e.g., common bean, pea), leaf vegetables (e.g., kale, leek, parsley, perilla and spinach), stem vegetables (e.g., asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts), and fruit vegetables (e.g., chilli, bell pepper, pumpkin). Furthermore, compound 1 has been isolated from spinach and several medicinal plants by bioassay-guided fractionation as a galactolipid with possible cancer preventive effects. In this review, the bioactivity of galactolipids is discussed and their potential role in human diet as important nutraceuticals. Moreover, recent patents on the bioactivity of specific galactolipids and inventions making use of this knowledge are presented and discussed.





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Keywords: Galactolipids; anti-cancer; anti-inflammatory; bioactivity; bioavailability; extraction; vegetables

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2009

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  • Recent Patents on Food, Nutrition & Agriculture publishes review and research articles, and guest edited thematic issues on recent patents in all fields of food science & technology, nutrition and agricultural science & technology. A selection of important and recent patents in the areas covered is also included in the journal. The journal is essential reading for all researchers involved in food, nutrition and agricultural sciences and technology. The journal also covers recent research (where patents have been registered) in fast emerging technologies related to food additives, micro & macro-molecular food supplements, edible alternatives, food technology, nutraceuticals, healthy diet, nutritional value, calorie intake, malnutrition & related diseases, plant derivatives, agricultural technology and products, crop improvement and safety issues related to food, nutrition & agriculture.
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