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Apricot Tablets – as a Functional Dietary Supplement

#A-903


Processing, Quality Control, Chemical Composition and Potential Health Effects of Apricot in Tablet Form – a Functional Dietary Supplement

Tech Area / Field

  • AGR-FOD/Food & Nutrition/Agriculture

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
02.07.2002

Leading Institute
Armenian Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals Expertise Research Institute (JSC), Armenia, Yerevan

Supporting institutes

  • Erebuni Medical Center, Armenia, Yerevan\nOncological Scientific Center, Armenia, Yerevan\nAdonis Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Armenia, Yerevan

Collaborators

  • Swedish Herbal Institute, Sweden, Gothenburg\nLudwig-Maximilians-Universität, Germany, Munich

Project summary

Background and current situation.

There is a growing recognition that various food products may help to maintain optimal health and prevent chronic diseases. Such foods are often classified as functional foods or nutraceuticals. Apricots are among the most promising foods with potential physiological function, yet there is quite limited knowledge about their composition or health effects.

In the mind of the public, apricot is considered a functional food merely related to bowel function. Now there is justification for a web of physiologically important functions for the most crucial constituents in apricot (dietary fiber, sorbitol, potassium, copper, and phenolic compounds), with each of them playing a role in many aspects of human health. High amounts of dietary fiber, sorbitol, and perhaps phenolics, may be involved in lowering plasma cholesterol concentration and risk of bowel cancer. Substantial but not excessive amounts of potassium are important for cardiovascular health, while copper is involved in maintaining bone structure, integrity of arterial walls, hemoglobin synthesis, and functionality of oxidative and antioxidative enzymes. Phenolic compounds in apricots are the main contributors of their antioxidant properties, which may, on further investigation, play a role in cancer prevention, antibiotic action, and lowering the risk of heart disease. Interestingly, found in apricot chlorogenic acid is known be a potent inhibitor of monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity in cultured glial cells, which may provide protection against oxidative neurodegeneration implicated in Parkinson’s disease.

It is well known that apricots and grapes are the main crops in Armenia. The grapes are used in wine and brandy processing, while apricots remain unclaimed for industrial processing. It is almost impossible to export fresh apricots from Armenia by many reasons - they are perishable and have very high transportation costs, all known products made from apricots loose the most of the valuable nutrients during processing, while it doesn’t happen with ApricoTabs - a product we suggest to develop in this project.

Fresh fruits of apricot are not subject to long preserving and are not convenient for transportation. Therefore usually various dried forms of apricot is widely used. It should be mentioned that application of dried apricot is also limited, since infants and old people, who have problems with chewing, are not able to use them. Common experience indicates that apricot juice is consumed by infants and the older generation to alleviate constipation. However, consumption of liquid forms has also some disadvantages including heavy weight of final product. It is known that preservation and long term drying (usually at high temperatures) causes oxidation of many valuable constituents of apricot. Various causes (physiological, mechanical, technological) may induce enzymatic browning in fruits with the development of undesirable color, flavor and a loss of nutrients. Enzymatic browning results from oxidation, in presence of oxygen, of phenolis compounds by polyphenol oxidases. The phenolic compounds are oxidized to quinones which then polymerize into brown products. Browning can also originate from nonenzymatic reactions occurring in heat-processed fruit products

Objectives, tasks and expected results of the project.

Because there is a increasing demand for apricot products (juices, purees, jams, precut apricot) particularly for a product which will retain all important nutrients and flavor of fresh apricot, recently we obtained freeze dried powder from pulp of freshly collected apricots. In fact, processing of this powder excludes treatment of raw and intermediate material at high temperature and consequently mentioned above chemical and enzymatic transformations. The powder was used for preparation of tablets called “ApricoTabs”, which are very convenient for storage, transportation and consumption.

The implementation of freeze drying technology will allow to preserve the valuable nutrition and organoleptic properties of apricot in the tablets made from of the dried powder obtained from pulp of freshly collected apricots. These tablets have to be convenient for long-term storage and transportation.

The successful implementation of this program will help to estimate the efficacy of ApricoTabs as a nutracuetical in cardiac disorders and for prevention of cancer, particularly in the regions with inadequate consumption of natural antioxidants by population. More research is needed in all these areas, especially epidemiological surveys of apricot consumption and health risks (such as cancer and cardio-vascular disease), as well as human feeding trials with controlled intake of ApricoTabs. A well-organized research program could benefit the producers and the consumers of ApricoTabs, establishing their role as truly functional food.

The successful fulfilling of this project can make the cultivation and processing of apricots beneficial in Armenia – the motherland of apricots, which are famous for their delicious taste. By that an economic growth, connected with widened cultivation and realization of this unique crop, in Armenian agriculture can be expected, what can contribute to the solution of national economic problems in Armenia.

Competence of participants in this field.

The project manager – Prof. A. Panossian is an expert in the area of chemistry of natural compounds, got degree of Candidate of Science (1975 in the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Moscow, Russia) and Doctor of Science (1986 in the Lomonosov Institute of Fine Organic Chemistry, Moscow), in the specialty of bioorganic chemistry, chemistry of natural and physiologically active compounds. For 10 years he has been the Head of Department of Biochemical Pharmacology, and for the last 8 years he is the Head of the Drug Quality Control Laboratory. He has more than 100 published articles, which concern to isolation and determination of chemical structure of natural compounds, their quantitative analysis methods in medicinal plants, drugs, food, biological liquids and body tissues.

The scientific leader – acad. E. Gabrielyan, vice-president of the National Academy of Science, is an expert in pharmacology, particularly in brain circulation. He has more than 100 published articles in various fields of pharmacology.

The other project participants are qualified specialists in the corresponding areas of research, production and clinical trials in accordance with GLP, GMP and GCP requirements.

Scope of activities, technical approach and methodology.

Schematically the production of ApricoTabs it looks like following:

Fresh apricot (quality control, aseptic preparation) puree (freezing – vacuum – lyophilization) dehydrated powder (quality control, tableting) ApricoTabs tablets (quality control, packaging, labeling) ApricoTabs.

– Development of optimal methods for Apricotabs processing to preserve the nutrients, biologically active compounds and organoleptic properties of fresh apricots.


– Development of the new analytical methods of analysis of active ingredients and specific markers using HPLC, spectrophotometry in UV and visible areas, GC-MS, capillary electrophoresis, TLC-densitometry.
– Validation of the methods of analysis, including assessment of precision, reproducibility, repeatability, accuracy of the method, linearity range, limits of detection and quantitation of test compounds.
– Standardization of ApricoTabs and development of technical conditions and documentation on quality control and composition of raw materials, intermediate and final products.
– Bioassay guided fractionation and isolation of active compounds from ApricoTabs extracts by extraction with various solvents in combination with various chromatographic separation techniques, including absorption, partition and ion exchange
– Study of pharmacological activity of ApricoTabs: effect on blood circulation system (brain circulation, blood pressure, plasma lipoproteins and cholesterol, heart rhythm and intensity in animals), lipids’ peroxidation (plasma malonic dialdehyde and diene conjugates levels) and activity of antioxidant system (activity of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione reductase in plasma) in animals, antibacterial activity.
– Double-blind, placebo controlled, randomized, cross-over clinical studies of ApricoTabs in patients with heart disease and cancer. Assessment of clinical efficacy and patient survival.
– Production and standardization of fixed combinations of ApricoTabs with extracts of various medicinal plants (sea-buckthorn, hawthorn, hips, liquorice), which are preliminary standardized and added in definite quantities to the apricot powder before the tableting.
– Preparation of the technical documentation for the products and their legislation.
– Production of the test and semi-industrial batches of the products in accordance with GMP requirements.

The role of foreign collaborators.

– Data and information exchange during the project.


– Comments to the technical reports (quarter, annual etc.) provided to ISTC.
– Common research of the test samples.
– Check of the results, obtained during the project.
– Evaluation of the developed methods of quality control.
– Participation in the technical monitoring of the project with ISTC personnel.
– Assistance and support of the project participants to join international meetings.
– Conduction of joint seminars and workshops.

Compliance with ISTC goals and objectives.

This project will help to scientists who possess knowledge and skills related to weapons of mass destruction, opportunities to redirect their talents to peaceful activities.

It will promote integration of scientists of Armenia into the international scientific community.

It will support applied research and technology development for peaceful purposes, notably in fields of health care.

It will reinforce the transition to market-based economies in Armenia responsive to civil needs.

It will contribute to the international technical problem associated with Healthcare.

Finally it will contribute to the solution of national economic problems in Armenia.


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