• A call for action on the development and implementation of new methodologies for safety assessment of chemical-based products in the EU – A short communication

      Knight, Derek J.; Deluyker, Hubert; orcid: 0000-0002-3490-8661; Chaudhry, Qasim; Vidal, Jean-Marc; orcid: 0000-0002-4422-5880; de Boer, Alie
      Safety assessment of chemicals and products in the European Union (EU) is based on decades of practice using primarily animal toxicity studies to model hazardous effects in humans. Nevertheless, there has been a long-standing ethical concern about using experimental animals. In addition, animal models may fail to predict adverse effects in humans. This has provided a strong motivation to develop and use new approach methodologies and other alternative sources of evidence. A key challenge for this is integration of evidence from different sources. This paper is a call for action with regard to development, validation, and implementation of modern safety assessment approaches for human health assessment by means of focused applied research and development with three strands: (a) to improve screening and priority setting, (b) to enhance and partially replace animal studies under the current regulatory schemes and eventually (c) to fully replace animal studies, while achieving at least the same level of protection. For this gradual but systematic replacement of animal studies, a long-term concerted and coordinated effort with clear goals is needed at EU level, as a societal and political choice, to plan and motivate research and innovation in regulatory safety assessment.
    • Acculturation and Food Intake Among Ghanaian Migrants in Europe: Findings From the RODAM Study

      Boateng, Daniel; Danquah, Ina; Holdsworth, Michelle; Mejean, Caroline; Terragni, Laura; Powell, Katie; Schulze, Matthias B.; Owusu-Dabo, Ellis; Beune, Erik; Agyemang, Charles; et al.
      Abstract Objective This study examined the role of migration and acculturation in the diet of Ghanaian migrants in Europe by (1) comparing food intake of Ghanaian migrants in Europe with that of Ghanaians living in Ghana and (2) assessing the association between acculturation and food intake. Design Data from the cross-sectional multicenter study Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants were used. Food intake was assessed using a Ghana-specific food propensity questionnaire (134 items and 14 food groups); foods were grouped based on a model of dietary change proposed by Koctürk-Runefors. Setting Ghana, London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. Participants A total of 4,534 Ghanaian adults living in Ghana and Europe, with complete dietary data. Of these, 1,773 Ghanaian migrants had complete acculturation data. Main Outcome Measure Food intake (the weighted intake frequency per week of food categories). Analysis Linear regression. Results Food intake differed between Ghanaians living in Ghana and Europe. Among Ghanaian migrants in Europe, there were inconsistent and small associations between acculturation and food intake, except for ethnic identity, which was consistently associated with intake only of traditional staples. Conclusions and Implications Findings indicate that migration is associated with dietary changes that cannot be fully explained by ethnic, cultural, and social acculturation. The study provides limited support to the differential changes in diet suggested by the Koctürk-Runefors’ model of dietary change.
    • Antioxidant and genoprotective activity of selected cucurbitaceae seed extracts and LC–ESIMS/MS identification of phenolic components

      Yasir, Muhammad; Sultana, Bushra; Nigam, Poonam S.; Owusu-Apenten, Richard K.; University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan; University of California; Ulster University (Elsevier, 2015-11-30)
      Cucurbitaceae are one of most widely used plant species for human food but lesser known members have not been examined for bioactive components. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antioxidant and genoprotective activities from three cucurbitaceae seeds extracts and to identify phenolic components by LC–ESIMS/MS analysis. From the results, the yield of seeds extract was 20–41% (w/w) and samples had 16–40% total phenols as gallic acid equivalents (GAE). Compared with methanol solvent, using acidified methanol led to increased extraction yield by 1.4 to 10-fold, higher phenolic content (149.5 ± 1.2 to 396.4 ± 1.9 mg GAE/g), higher DPPH radical quenching and enhanced enoprotective activity using the pBR322 plasmid assay. LC–ESI-MS/MS analysis led to identification of 14–17 components, based on authentic standards and comparison with literature reports, as mainly phenolic acids and esters, flavonol glycosides. This may be the first mass spectrometric profiling of polyphenol components from cucurbitaceae seeds.
    • Are urological patients at increased risks of developing haemostatic complications following shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) for solitary unilateral kidney stones?

      Thomas-Wright, S. J.; Banwell, Joseph; Mushtaq, Sohail; Williams, R.; Abdulmajed, I.; Shergill, Iqbal; Hughes, Stephen F.; University of Chester; Wrexham Maelor Hospital (Elsevier, 2014-04-01)
      INTRODUCTION & OBJECTIVES: During the past two years there has been an increase in the number of patients undergoing shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) in Welsh hospitals (United Kingdom) for solitary unilateral kidney stones. Serious complications of SWL include haematuria, acute kidney injury and sepsis. Currently, there are no simple blood tests available, which can predict complications following SWL. Here we have tested the hypothesis that SWL will result in changes to haemostatic function, increase endothelial and haemostatic involvement postoperatively. MATERIAL & METHODS: In this pilot study, ten patients undergoing SWL for solitary unilateral kidney stones, were recruited (n=10). From patients (6 male and 4 female) aged between 31-70 years (mean=50 years), venous blood samples were collected pre-operatively (baseline), at 30 minutes, 120 minutes and 240 minutes postoperatively. Specific haemostatic biomarkers [D-dimer, von Willebrand Factor (vWF), Prothrombin time and sE-selectin] were measured. RESULTS: D-dimer and vWF concentrations were significantly increased from baseline at 240 minutes postoperatively (p=0.05 and <0.01 respectively). Prothrombin time and sE-selectin parameters were not significantly changed following SWL. CONCLUSIONS: The observed increase in D-dimer and vWF concentrations suggests that these markers would provide a more clinically relevant assessment of the extent of haemostatic involvement due to surgery. Analysis of such markers, have the potential to improve the detection of complications occurring postoperatively, such as haematuria and acute kidney injury.
    • The development of vegetarian omega-3 oil in water nanoemulsions suitable for integration into functional food products

      Lane, Katie E.; Li, Weili; Smith, Christopher J.; Derbyshire, Emma J.; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2016-03-31)
      Global trends show that habitual omega-3 intakes are short of recommended guidelines, particularly among vegetarians and vegans. The potential health implications of low long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (LCω3PUFA) intakes coupled with concerns about sustainability of fish stocks call for innovative approaches to provide food based solutions to this problem. Nanoemulsions are systems with extremely small droplet sizes that could provide a solution while improving the bioavailability of LCω3PUFA. Oil in water nanoemulsion systems were successfully created using ultrasound with oil loads of up to 50% (w/w) using vegetarian LCω3PUFA oils (flaxseed and algae). Nanoemulsions of 50% (w/w) with mean droplet size measurements of 192 (flaxseed) and 182 nm (algae) using combinations of the emulsifiers Tween 40 and lecithin were prepared. This technique could be applied to create vegetarian LCω3PUFA nanoemulsions suitable for integration into enriched functional food products with the potential to increase LCω3PUFA intake and bioavailability
    • Effects of temperature and solvent condition on phase separation induced molecular fractionation of gum arabic/hyaluronan aqueous mixtures

      Hu, Bing; Han, Lingyu; Gao, Zhiming; Zhang, Ke; Al-Assaf, Saphwan; Nishinari, Katsuyoshi; Phillips, Glyn O.; Yang, Jixin; Fang, Yapeng; Hubei University of Technology; Wrexham Glyndwr University (Elsevier, 2018-05-14)
      Effects of temperature and solvent condition on phase separation-induced molecular fractionation of gum arabic/hyaluronan (GA/HA) mixed solutions were investigated. Two gum arabic samples (EM10 and STD) with different molecular weights and polydispersity indices were used. Phase diagrams, including cloud and binodal curves, were established by visual observation and GPC-RI methods. The molecular parameters of control and fractionated GA, from upper and bottom phases, were measured by GPC-MALLS. Fractionation of GA increased the content of arabinogalactan-protein complex (AGP) from ca. 11% to 18% in STD/HA system and 28% to 55% in EM10/HA system. The phase separation-induced molecular fractionation was further studied as a function of temperature and solvent condition (varying ionic strength and ethanol content). Increasing salt concentration (from 0.5 to 5 mol/L) greatly reduced the extent of phase separation-induced fractionation. This effect may be ascribed to changes in the degree of ionization and shielding of the acid groups. Increasing temperature (from 4oC to 80oC) also exerted a significant influence on phase separation-induced fractionation. The best temperature for GA/HA mixture system was 40oC while higher temperature negatively affected the fractionation due to denaturation and possibly degradation in mixed solutions. Increasing the ethanol content up to 30% showed almost no effect on the phase separation induced fractionation.
    • Gestational diabetes and progression to type two diabetes mellitus: missed opportunities of follow up and prevention?

      Walker, Emma; Flannery, Orla; Mackillop, Lucy; University of Chester; Manchester Metropolitan University; Nuffield Department of Reproductive Health, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust;
      Abstract Background: The incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is increasing. Having a pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a potent risk factor for the later development of T2DM. Aims: To explore the characteristics of women diagnosed with GDM in a single centre and their follow up for progression to T2DM. Methods: A retrospective cohort study using anonymised data of one hundred and fifty four (154) women with GDM receiving maternity care at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUHFT) in 2010 and their follow up until 2018. Results: The prevalence of GDM in women delivering in Oxfordshire in 2010 was 3.4%. 70% of pregnant women were overweight or obese (with 51% being obese) at booking. Gestational weight gain (GWG) was excessive in 29% of women, when compared to Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines. Almost a quarter of women (23.4%) had no follow up after delivery. Over a median follow up of 3.5 years (range 0-8 years) nearly one in six (16.9%) of the total cohort (22% of those tested) went on to develop T2DM. 74% of women with GDM were multiparous, and 65% of nulliparous women were tested compared to 81% of multiparous women. There was a significant difference between multiparous women (53.8%) compared to nulliparous women (46.2%) developing T2DM (p=0.01). There was no significant difference in BMI (p=0.866) or GWG (p=0.83) in women who progressed to T2DM versus those who did not. Conclusion: The risk of T2DM after GDM is substantial however, follow up rates of this population is poor. Subsequent screening of women with GDM and their management crosses secondary and primary care with scope for improvement in counselling of women of the importance of annual reviews, in data collection and follow up in both obstetrics and general practice. The implementation of a recall system, an education programme for general practitioners and/or a registry of women diagnosed with GDM could be useful to identify those at high risk of developing T2DM as well as providing a platform for the potential development of interventions to prevent progression to T2DM after GDM.
    • Health-related effects and improving extractability of cereal arabinoxylans

      Fadel, Abdulmannan; Mahmoud, Ayman M.; Ashworth, Jason J.; Li, Weili; Ng, Yu L.; Plunkett, Andrew; Manchester Metropolitan University; Beni-Suef University; Charité-University Medicine; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2017-11-11)
      Arabinoxylans (AXs) are major dietary fibers. They are composed of backbone chains of -(1–4)- linked xylose residues to which -l-arabinose are linked in the second and/or third carbon positions. Recently, AXs have attracted a great deal of attention because of their biological activities such as their immunomodulatory potential. Extraction of AXs has some difficulties; therefore, various methods have beenusedto increase the extractability ofAXs withvaryingdegrees of success, suchas alkaline, enzymatic, mechanical extraction. However, some of these treatments have been reported to be either expensive, such as enzymatic treatments, or produce hazardous wastes and are non-environmentally friendly, such as alkaline treatments. On the other hand, mechanical assisted extraction, especially extrusion cooking, is an innovative pre-treatment that has been used to increase the solubility of AXs. The aim of the current review article is to point out the health-related effects and to discuss the current research on the extraction methods of AXs.
    • Impact of vitamin D supplementation on endothelial and inflammatory markers in adults: A systematic review.

      Agbalalah, Tari; Hughes, Stephen F.; Freeborn, Ellen J.; Mushtaq, Sohail; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2017-01-23)
      This systematic review aims to evaluate randomised controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effect of vitamin D supplementation on endothelial function and inflammation in adults. An electronic search of published randomised controlled trials, using Cochrane, Pubmed and Medline databases was conducted, with the search terms related to vitamin D and endothelial function. Inclusion criteria were RCTs in adult humans with a measure of vitamin D status using serum/plasma 25(OH)D and studies which administered the intervention through the oral route. Among the 1107 studies retrieved, 29 studies met the full inclusion criteria for this systematic review. Overall, 8 studies reported significant improvements in the endothelial/inflammatory biomarkers/parameters measured. However, in 2 out of the 8 studies, improvements were reported at interim time points, but improvements were absent post-intervention. The remaining 21 trial studies did not show significant improvements in the markers of interest measured. Evidence from the studies included in this systematic review did not demonstrate that vitamin D supplementation in adults, results in an improvement in circulating inflammatory and endothelial function biomarkers/parameters. This systematic review does not therefore support the use of vitamin D supplementation as a therapeutic or preventative measure for CVD in this respect.
    • Improving the extractability of arabinoxylans and the molecular weight of wheat endosperm using extrusion processing

      Abdulmannan, Fadel; Jason, Ashworth; Andrew, Plunkett; Mahmoud, Ayman M.; Yazan, Ranneh; University of Leeds; Manchester Metropolitan University; Beni-Suef University; Universiti Putra Malaysia; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2018-09-14)
      Cereal derived arabinoxylans (AXs) are non-starch polysaccharides that have immunomodulatory activities. These activities are thought to be related to the low molecular weight fractions of AXs. Wheat and wheat by-products are rich in AXs, however, the water extractable fraction of AXs in wheat products is low. Water extraction of AXs can be improved by extrusion processing, which increases the extractability of the water soluble fraction. The aim of this study was to determine the extractability and molecular weight of the water soluble fraction of AXs from wheat endosperm after extrusion at screw speeds of 80 and 160 rpm. Extrusion processing significantly (P<0.05) increased the water extractability of AXs in a screw-speed dependent manner (13.07±0.12% at 80 rpm and 15.45±0.16% at 160 rpm compared to8.95±0.10% in the non-extruded control) due to a significant increase (P<0.05) in low molecular weight fractions of AXs in extruded samples.
    • Mainstreaming prevention: Prescribing fruit and vegetables as a brief intervention in primary care

      Kearney, Matt; Bradbury, C.; Ellahi, Basma; Hodgson, M.; Thurston, Miranda (Elsevier, 2005)
      This articles discusses a project at the Castlefields Health Centre in Halton whereby primary care professionals issue a prescription for discounts on fruit and vegetables. The prescription is explicitly linked to the five-a-day message.
    • Release of coumarin encapsulated in chitosan-gelatin irradiated films

      Benbettaïeb, Nasreddine; Chambin, Odile; Assifaoui, Ali; Al-Assaf, Saphwan; Karbowiak, Thomas; Debeaufort, Frédéric; Phillips Hydrocolloids Research Centre, Glyndwr University, Wrexham LL11 2AW, UK (Elsevier, 2015-12-24)
      Chitosan and fish gelatin were used to formulate active biobased films containing an antioxidant (coumarin). After drying, the films were irradiated at 40 and 60 kGy using an electron beam accelerator. The effect of irradiation on the film properties as well as the coumarin release mechanism were investigated and compared with the control. Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) revealed free radical formation during irradiation in films containing coumarin. Antioxidant addition and/or irradiation treatment at a dose of 60 kGy resulted in a shift of amide A and amide B peaks. Furthermore a shift of amide II band was only observed for the control film at the same dose. Irradiation allowed improving the thermal stability of the control films. Both irradiation process and addition of coumarin increased the surface wettability (increase of the polar component of the surface tension). From the water barrier analysis, neither irradiation nor coumarin addition influenced the permeability at the lower RH gradient used (0e30% RH). Using the higher RH gradient (30e84%) induced a rise of the WVP of all films (containing or not coumarin) after irradiation treatment. At 60 kGy, the tensile strength of only the control films increased significantly. Considering coumarin release from the film in aqueous medium, the apparent diffusion coefficient of coumarin is two times reduced after irradiation. Irradiation also allowed to better protect the incorporated antioxidant. Indeed, the amount of coumarin in the non-irradiated film was significantly lowered compared to the initial quantity, which is probably due to chemical reactivity.
    • Rival approaches to mathematical modelling in immunology

      Andrew, Sarah M.; Baker, Christopher T. H.; Bocharov, Gennady (Elsevier, 2007-08-15)
      This article discusses a multidisciplinary approach to the formulation of quantitatively correct mathematical models of the immune system, and that how to do so requires an understanding of immune processes and familiarity with a range of mathematical techniques.
    • Self-efficacy for temptations is a better predictor of weight loss than motivation and global self-efficacy: Evidence from two prospective studies among overweight/obese women at high risk of breast cancer.

      Armitage, Christopher J.; Wright, Claire E.; Parfitt, Gaynor; Pegington, Mary; Donnelly, Louise S.; Harvie, Michelle N.; University of Manchester; University of Chester; University of South Australia; University Hospital South Manchester (Elsevier, 2014-12-03)
      OBJECTIVES: Identifying predictors of weight loss could help to triage people who will benefit most from programs and identify those who require additional support. The present research was designed to address statistical, conceptual and operational difficulties associated with the role of self-efficacy in predicting weight loss. METHODS: In Study 1, 115 dieting overweight/obese women at high risk of breast cancer were weighed and completed questionnaires assessing motivation, global self-efficacy and self-efficacy for temptations. The main outcome measure was weight, measured 3-months post-baseline. Study 2 was identical (n=107), except changes in psychological variables were computed, and used to predict weight 6-months post-baseline. RESULTS: In Study 1, self-efficacy for temptations was a significant predictor of weight loss at 3-month follow-up. In Study 2, improved self-efficacy for temptations between baseline and four-weeks was predictive of lower weight at 6 months. CONCLUSION: The key finding was that self-efficacy for temptations, as opposed to motivation and global self-efficacy, was predictive of subsequent weight loss. PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: The implication is that augmenting dieters' capability for dealing with temptations might boost the impact of weight loss programs.
    • A universally calibrated microplate ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay for foods and applications to Manuka honey

      Bolanos de la Torre, Angelica A. S.; Henderson, Terence; Nigam, Poonam S.; Owusu-Apenten, Richard K.; ONIRIS, Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire; Ulster University; University of Chester; (Elsevier, 2014-11-07)
      The ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay was recently adapted to a microplate format. However, microplate-based FRAP (mFRAP) assays are affected by sample volume and composition. This work describes a calibration process for mFRAP assays which yields data free of volume effects. From the results, the molar absorptivity (ε) for the mFRAP assay was 141,698 M−1 cm−1 for gallic acid, 49,328 M−1 cm−1 for ascorbic acid, and 21,606 M−1 cm−1 for ammonium ferrous sulphate. The significance of ε (M−1 cm−1) is discussed in relation to mFRAP assay sensitivity, minimum detectable concentration, and the dimensionless FRAP-value. Gallic acid showed 6.6 mol of Fe2+ equivalents compared to 2.3 mol of Fe+2 equivalents for ascorbic acid. Application of the mFRAP assay to Manuka honey samples (rated 5+, 10+, 15+, and 18+ Unique Manuka Factor; UMF) showed that FRAP values (0.54–0.76 mmol Fe2+ per 100 g honey) were strongly correlated with UMF ratings (R2 = 0.977) and total phenols content (R2 = 0.982)whilst the UMF rating was correlated with the total phenols (R2 = 0.999). In conclusion, mFRAP assay results were successfully standardised to yield data corresponding to 1-cm spectrophotometer which is useful for quality assurance purposes. The antioxidant capacity of Manuka honey was found to be directly related to the UMF rating.
    • A universally calibrated microplate ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay for foods and applications to Manuka honey

      Bolanos de la Torre, Angelica A. S.; Henderson, Terence; Nigam, Poonam S.; Owusu-Apenten, Richard K.; Ulster University (Elsevier, 2014-11-07)
      The ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay was recently adapted to a microplate format. However, microplate-based FRAP (mFRAP) assays are affected by sample volume and composition. This work describes a calibration process for mFRAP assays which yields data free of volume effects. From the results, the molar absorptivity (ε) for the mFRAP assay was 141,698 M−1 cm−1 for gallic acid, 49,328 M−1 cm−1 for ascorbic acid, and 21,606 M−1 cm−1 for ammonium ferrous sulphate. The significance of ε (M−1 cm−1) is discussed in relation to mFRAP assay sensitivity, minimum detectable concentration, and the dimensionless FRAP-value. Gallic acid showed 6.6 mol of Fe2+ equivalents compared to 2.3 mol of Fe+2 equivalents for ascorbic acid. Application of the mFRAP assay to Manuka honey samples (rated 5+, 10+, 15+, and 18+ Unique Manuka Factor; UMF) showed that FRAP values (0.54–0.76 mmol Fe2+ per 100 g honey) were strongly correlated with UMF ratings (R2 = 0.977) and total phenols content (R2 = 0.982)whilst the UMF rating was correlated with the total phenols (R2 = 0.999). In conclusion, mFRAP assay results were successfully standardised to yield data corresponding to 1-cm spectrophotometer which is useful for quality assurance purposes. The antioxidant capacity of Manuka honey was found to be directly related to the UMF rating
    • Visualisation of xanthan conformation by atomic force microscopy

      Moffat, Jonathan; Morris, Victor J.; Al-Assaf, Saphwan; Gunning, A. Patrick; Asylum Research an Oxford Instruments Company; Norwich Research Park; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2016-04-20)
      Direct visual evidence obtained by atomic force microscopy demonstrates that when xanthan is adsorbed from aqueous solution onto the heterogeneously charged substrate mica, its helical conformation is distorted. Following adsorption it requires annealing for several hours to restore its ordered helical state. Once the helix state reforms, the AFM images obtained showed clear resolution of the periodicity with a value of 4.7 nm consistent with the previously predicted models. In addition, the images also reveal evidence that the helix is formed by a double strand, a clarification of an ambiguity of the xanthan ultrastructure that has been outstanding for many years.
    • Western diet increases cardiac ceramide content in healthy and hypertrophied hearts.

      Butler, Thomas; University of Chester, University of York, University of Hull (Elsevier, 2017-11-01)
      BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Obesity and cardiac left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) are recognised independent risk factors in the development of heart failure (HF). However, the combination of these factors may exacerbate the onset of cardiovascular disease by mechanisms as yet unclear. LVH leads to significant cellular remodelling, including alterations in metabolism which may result in an inappropriate accumulation of lipids and eventual lipotoxicity and apoptosis. The aim of the study was to determine the impact of dietary manipulation on cardiac metabolism in the obese and hypertrophied heart. METHODS AND RESULTS: LVH was induced via aortic constriction (AC) in an experimental model of cardiac hypertrophy and animals subjected to 9 weeks of dietary manipulation with either a standard, high fat, or a sucrose containing Western-style diet (SD, HFD and WD, respectively). This latter diet resulted in accelerated weight gain in both LVH/AC and control animals. LVH was greater in AC animals fed a WD, and both control and AC animals from this diet showed a significant reduction in cardiac fatty acid oxidation and increased triacylglycerol content. Ceramide content was significantly increased in the WD groups, with no additional effect of LVH. Comparison with a model of HF induced by exposure to Doxorubicin and WD showed exacerbated remodelling of cardiac ceramide species leading to increased C16 and C18 content. CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the inappropriate accumulation and re-distribution of cardiac ceramide species in a diet-induced model of obesity and LVH, potentially increasing susceptibility to cell death. The combination of increased fat and sugar leads to greater pathological remodelling and may explain why this diet pattern is consistently linked with poor cardiovascular outcomes.