13th International Conference of FFC - First International Symposium of ASFFBC:


Functional and Medical Foods with Bioactive Compounds: Science and Practical Application

May 11-12, 2013, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan 


Conference Report


An international scientific conference, “13th International Conference of FFC - First International Symposium of ASFFBC: Functional and Medical Foods with Bioactive Compounds: Science and Practical Application", was held May 11-12th, 2013 in Kyoto Japan. This annual conference was organized by Kyoto Prefectural University, the Academic Society for Functional Foods and Bioactive Compounds and the Functional Food Center, and hosted at Kyoto Prefectural University (Kyoto, Japan).

The conference brought together experts in medicine, biology and the food industry to discuss the contribution of functional/medical foods and bioactive compounds in the prevention and management of chronic diseases. The best experts in the field of functional foods from all over the world gathered to discuss the power bioactive compounds within functional foods and their potential benefit to patients and consumers alike. Research was presented as results of pre-clinical studies of bioactive compounds, clinical results of clinical studies and the research and development of new functional food products.

The 13th International Conference covered four sessions as well as three symposiums. The researchers, scientists, and medical professionals who made oral presentations covered session topics involving functional and medical food ingredients and their potential benefits in public health and the management of chronic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, CVD, and cancer. They also discussed current research and development of functional and medical food products. The three symposiums covered topics examining carotenoids and flavonoids as a source of functional and medical foods, as well as protein quality control systems and food factors.

We would like to make special note and mention a few of the many interesting, informative and well-communicated presentations that took place at the 13th International Conference this year.

The conference opened with a congratulatory speech made by Dr. Hoyoku Nishino of Kyoto Prefectural University and Dr. Danik Martirosyan, president of Functional Food Center of Dallas, Texas, USA.

Dr. Danik M. Martirosyan, the Founder of Functional Food Center Inc., conducted a presentation entitled “Steps for Bringing Functional Foods to Market”. This presentation reviewed the 7 steps suggested by IFT (Institute of Food Technologists) to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), as well as the obstacles involved in bringing a functional food to the market. Dr. Martirosyan also discussed the current functional food projects, involving Amaranth Oil and Rose Hip, which are currently being conducted at Functional Food Center jointly with UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Dr. Hoyoku Nishino presented a lecture entitled “Prevention of lifestyle related diseases by food factors”. This presentation covered various food factors, such as carotenoids, flavonoids, lactoferrin, and myo-Inositol, their health promotion and potential ability to prevent lifestyle-related diseases. In conclusion to Dr. Nishino’s discoveries, he found that development of functional foods seems to be possible by combinational use of active food factors.

Dr. Thomai Panagiotou, Chief Technology Officer at Microfluidics International Corporation in Newton, Massachusetts, United States, presented “Producing micron- and nano- size formulations for functional foods applications”. This investigation discussed the development methodologies in terms of both platform technologies and respective operational maps, for production of functional food formulations, with particle sizes in the micron-and nano-scale range. Dr. Panagiotou's results demonstrated that stable nano-emulsions of fish oil and suspensions of submicron curcumin crystals can be produced using “top down” and “bottom up” methods. The properties of the formulation in terms of particle size and stability strongly depend on the processing parameters used in terms of energy input and temperature history. Also, the energy requirements of the “bottom up” methods may be substantially lower than those of “top down” methods.

Dr. Hiroyuki Matsumoto, professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, presented “Nutritional proteomics for the study of the role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in health and disease”. The purpose behind this study was to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the health beneficial effects of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) through the application of mass spectrometry-based proteomics. Dr. Matsumoto and his team of researchers were able to successfully identify several classes of up regulation and down-regulation that appear to underlie metabolic disturbances caused by high-fat diet-fed mouse liver and suppression of these protein changes in the omega-3 PUFAs diet

Dr. Shiming Li, professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA and Michiko Suzawa, director of Miyauchi Citrus Research Center, Ltd. in Japan, conducted a presentation entitled Inhibitory effect of a formulated extract from multiple citrus peels on inflammation, tumor genesis and tumor growth in mice”. The purpose of their investigation was to explore the biological activities of polymethoxyflavones in citrus peels. Their findings suggested that Formulated CPE suppressed the inflammation in vitro and in vivo, and may exert chemo-preventive activity through the inhibition of inflammation, oxidative stress and TPA-mediated promotion of DMBA-induced skin cancer in mouse model. Formulated CPE is a novel functional natural product capable of preventing inflammation-associated tumor genesis.

Dr. Eric Marchioni, professor at the University of Strasbourg in Illkirch, France, presented his investigation regarding chromatographic online detection of bioactives in foods. Dr. Marchioni and his researcher wished to implement a chromatographic method able to separate the molecular content of a bioactive fraction of a food. Their study demonstrated that it is possible to screen at the molecular level, the bioactivity of numerous natural samples and to point out the richness of the local biodiversity in terms of natural resource of functional food ingredients usable for their potential benefits in consumer health, wellbeing and well-aging.

Paolo Pontoniere, Vice President of Creagri Inc. in Hayward, California, USA, presented his research on the neuroprotective effect of Hidrox, which is a patented Hydroxytyrosol rich formulation derived from the vegetation water of organic olives. Paolo Pantoniere and his team of researcher’s investigation confirmed a potential role for Hidrox® in the management of broad ranging neuroinflammatory manifestations, as well as of neurodegenerative processes, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. Hidrox®’s ability to attenuate chemotherapeutic toxicity was also verified, confirming that Hidrox®, a product derived from hydrolyzed organic olive milling water, can be considered an effective ingredient for the development of therapeutic strategies that prevent neurotoxicity linked to inflammation without compromising its neuroprotective role.

Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, professor at the Carotenoids and Health Laboratory at Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and chair of session number one (Functional and Medical Food Ingredients: Sources and Potential Benefits in Public Health), studied the relationship between lutein and docosahexaenoic acid status and age-related cognitive function. Her study’s results indicated an association of lutein or DHA with cognition, that their association are dependent on each other. However, their effect was less than expected, if the two were added together. In conclusion, mechanistic studies on lutein and DHA in the brain are needed to further characterize the relationship between these two nutrients.

Dr. Francesco Saverio Mennini, professor at the University of Rome in Italy, conducted a presentation entitled “Cost-effectiveness analysis for the treatment of chronic kidney disease with low-protein diet”. The objective in his study was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of a low protein diet treatment compared with no dietary treatment in patients with CKD 4-5 after 2, 3, 5 and 10 years. Dr. Mennini’s results showed that the treatment of a low-protein diet is more effective in terms of QALYs: the difference is always in favor of dietary treatment from a 0.08 after the first two years, 0.15 after three years, 0.34 after five years and up to a differential of 0.95 year after the first 10 years of treatment. That being said, the dietary treatment is always dominant in all the intervals considered. The dominance is due to the fact that the treatment is more effective in terms of QALYs and at the same time is less expensive.

Dr. Eiji Yamashita, affiliated with AstaReal Co. Ltd, in Tokyo, Japan, and chair of session number one (Functional and Medical Food Ingredients: Sources and Potential Benefits in Public Health), conducted research regarding Astaxanthin as a medical food. Dr. Yamashita wanted to understand the progress of practical application of Astaxanthin, and the history of industrial application of natural Astaxanthin. His study concluded that a practical application of Astaxanthin from Haematococcus will expand into medical institution worldwide not only into the consumer space. We may call Astaxanthin a medical food at the moment.

Dr. Christophe Lefevre, professor at Deakin University’s School of Medicine in Waurn Ponds,VIC, Australia, made a presentation entitled “Comparative analysis of milk miRNA to identify novel functionalities in milk”. His study compared the miRNA composition of milk and its change during the course of lactation in a full range of mammals, in order to identify temporally conserved or specific milk miRNA secretion patterns, possibly associated with common or adapted temporal functionalities of milk miRNA. His results demonstrated how comparative milk miRNAs profiling can assist the functional analysis of milk miRNA in lactation. They also suggest novel uses of milk miRNAs as informative markers of lactation status and maternal physiology, as well as information carrying signals facilitating the timely delivery of maternal development signals to the young.

Dr. Ahmed F El Fouhil, professor at the College of Medicine at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia conducted a study and presentation entitled “An extract from date seeds stimulates endogenous insulin secretion in type 1 diabetic rats”. This study investigated the mechanism by which date seed extract exerts its hypoglycemic effect by estimation of C-peptide levels in serum of type 1 diabetic rats treated with date seed extract. Dr. Fouhil found that biochemical results suggested an increase in endogenous insulin secretion in case of type 1 diabetic rats treated with seed extract which might be the cause of its hypoglycemic effect.

We successfully gathered medical doctors, scientists, clinical nutritionists, herbal professionals, and food industry representatives. Among attendees were researchers, students, dietitians, nutritionists and many others. 

An abstract book was composed by 151 groups of authors from the following countries: Japan, Germany, Australia, France, Denmark, UK, USA, China, Hong Kong, Hungaria, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Izmir, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA and more.

The book Functional Foods for Chronic Diseases Volume 13, including presentations from the 13th international conference, is now published and available for purchase.

Danik M. Martirosyan, PhD, UTSW Medical Center; Founder, Academic Society of Functional Foods and Bioactive Compounds; President, Functional Food Center, Dallas, TX, USA
Hoyoku Nishino, MD, PhD, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, President, International Union of Wellness Science, President, Beautiful Life Science Society, Kyoto, Japan 
Toshikazu Yoshikawa, MD, PhD, President of Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan