The firm behind a novel fiber claimed to reduce oxidized LDL cholesterol - an emerging risk factor for heart disease - is in talks with bakers about using it in everything from muffins to cookies after tests revealed it can also extend shelf-life.
Artinia - a chitin-glucan fiber from the fungus Aspergillus niger marketed by Stratum Nutrition – could create a new breed of baked goods with superior freshness, fiber claims and a novel approach to heart health, claims Stratum.
The next generation of heart healthy foods
The oxidation of LDL leads to fatty streaks in artery tissue, which in turn morph into arterial plaques, making OxLDL levels arguably a more useful predictor of risk for developing heart disease than LDL-cholesterol alone, claims the firm.
Stratum Nutrition is in talks with manufacturers of everything from bread to smoothies, Heather Thompson, global marketing communications at Stratum’s parent Novus Nutrition Brands, told FoodNavigator-USA.
“The best fits for Artinia are in baked goods such bread, cookies, muffins, cakes, cereal and crackers. It also works well for nutrition bars, soups, sauces, and smoothies.
“We are reaching out to specific bakeries in the US making specialty breads, muffins and single-pack cookies with a strong feeling that the freshness and extended shelf-life will be a message that resonates.”
Extended shelf life and superior moisture retention
Stratum has recently worked with the American Institute of Baking to test Artinia in bread, muffins, and cookies, measuring mouth-feel, flavor, texture, color, crust, volume, air cells (grain), dough and sponge structures, water absorption and shelf life, said Thompson.
“The score sheet results showed better or equal performance to the control (no fiber) and better than the compared barley fiber.”
Baked goods containing Artinia had added freshness, extended shelf life, and superior moisture retention, she said.
“The longer shelf life observed translates into less waste and lower usage of emulsifiers and conditioners in bread and similar baking applications. The higher water absorption (about 7-8% with Artinia vs control) can result in increased revenues, especially for commercial bakeries.”
Biomarkers and cardiovascular disease
While cholesterol and blood pressure are the best known biomarkers for heart disease, others from the inflammatory biomarker C-Reactive protein to homocysteine are now starting to attract more attention.
Meanwhile, controlling LDL oxidation and inhibiting platelet aggregation are also regarded to be beneficial to cardiovascular health by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), which has issued positive opinions from EFSA on the ability of olive oil polyphenols to protect LDL from oxidative damage, and the tomato extract Fruitflow to inhibit platelet aggregation.
Human clinical studies
Results of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial into the cardiovascular benefits of Artinia for people with elevated cholesterol have recently been submitted to a peer reviewed journal.
The results confirm what a 28-day pilot study has already demonstrated, that Artinia reduced oxidized LDL cholesterol, Stratum's global business director Jeremy Moore told FoodNavigator-USA last year.
Talking to consumers about chitin-glucan
While consumers might struggle with the concept of oxidizing LDL cholesterol, they respond well to claims about promoting clean, healthy arteries, according to research conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute, suggesting this could be a new area of opportunity for food manufacturers in the cardio health market, said Moore.
“I think on the front of pack, talking about Artinia as a fiber that promotes healthy arteries is probably the best approach, even though on the ingredients declaration you have to call it chitin-glucan, which most consumers probably won’t recognize.”
Food and drink applications
A free-flowing, odorless light yellow/brown powder that “behaves like an insoluble fiber”, Artinia “works in almost anything apart from clear beverages”, said Moore.
“Manufacturers like it because it doesn’t increase viscosity and it doesn’t have a cereal taste.”
Organoleptic and sensory evaluation of Artinia in smoothies revealed it added no off-tastes, cereal notes, or sliminess, while it also survived the pasteurization process, he said.