Functional foods and bioactive ingredients


·  To provide an understanding of the rapidly growing international interest and research activity in the area of functional foods and bioactive ingredients (nutraceuticals). ·   Give examples and examine the beneficial non-nutritive role several categories of bioactives, as food constituents, have on human health. ·   To discuss the challenges and opportunities in the development of functional foods. ·   To comment on legislation (regulatory) issues concerning marketing of functional products. ·   To discuss new developments in the area of delivery systems of food bioactives.    


Good Knowledge of General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry, Food Chemistry    

Learning Outcomes

·        Students will acquire knowledge on the rapidly evolving field of functional foods; i.e.  the challenges and opportunities of developing functional products in a global context, ·        Students will acquire knowledge on chemistry and functionality aspects of several categories of food bioactives: e.g. probiotics – prebiotics, plant sterols, cereal grain bioactives, with an emphasis on fibers, small mol.wt. phytochemicals, ω-3  FA, etc.   ·        Students will acquire knowledge structure – function relations involving food bioactives.   ·        Students will learn about regulatory issues concerning the marketing of functional products (health claims).   ·        Students will be exposed to technology trends in designing effective delivery systems for protection and targeted release of food bioactives.  


The lectures will cover the following topics:   1.      Functional foods - background, definitions 2.      Bioactive ingredients: nature, sources, biological function (general discussion) 3.      Market drivers for functional foods - I 4.      Market drivers for functional foods - II 5.      Functional food product development - formulation challenges 6.      Market trends and opportunities in a global context 7.      Probiotics – Prebiotics 8.      Plant sterols as food bioactives 9.      Cereal grain bioactives - I (soluble and insoluble fibers, etc.) 10. Cereal grain bioactives - II (resistant starch) 11. Flavonoids 12. Anthocyanins – catechins 13. Carotenoids 14. Soy protein bioactives –isoflavonoids 15. ω-3 fatty acids 16. Other bioactives (from plant or animal origin) 17. Technologies for isolation – purification of bioactives 18. Food regulations – health claims 19. Technologies for delivering food bioactives 20. Stability and kinetic principles of assessing deterioration of bioactives in a food matrix    

Content Delivery

With a rapidly growing international interest and activity in the area of functional foods and nutraceuticals, there is a need to provide a critical overview of the nature and the beneficial nonnutritive effects various minor food onstituents have on human health. In this context, a series of constituents show functional versatility from both a technological and a nutritional-physiological viewpoint. The aim of this course is to address, through clinical and epidemiological evidence, the specific classes of food bioactives by focusing attention on the chemistry, physical properties, physiological and metabolic roles, stability and processing effects, formulation challenges in functional product development, regulatory issues, global market trends, and new technologies for isolation and/or delivery of food bioactives.  

Coursework And Assignment Details

The students are assigned with a course-related topic, for which they will prepare (in groups) a presentation at the last day of the course; a period of ten days will be given for preparing this presentation. The student are also expected to work and deliver a term paper (review type) which will be send to the course instructor along with their exam papers. The assignment (oral presentation and written review paper) will carry up to 35 % of the total grade of the course. Clarity and thoroughness of the presentation, as well as the review paper with up-to-date information on the topic will be the main criteria for this assignment. The rest 65% of the total grade will derive from the written exams that will take place after the end of the course. The exams will include both short essay and true or false questions with all answers to be justified.  All the material presented in the lectures will be included in the exam material. Auxiliary material will be provided for better understanding the lectures’ material in the form of research / review type publications.