Posts Tagged ‘UBC’


Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Vancouver, British Columbia

Food scientists at the University of British Columbia have been able to pinpoint more of the complex chemistry behind coffee’s much touted antioxidant benefits, tracing valuable compounds to the roasting process. Lead author Ami Ya Zheng Liu and co author Prof. David Kitts found that the prevailing antioxidants present in dark roasted coffee brew extracts result from the green beans being browned under high temperatures.

Their findings will appear in a forthcoming issue of Food Research International.

Liu and Kitts analyzed the complex mixture of chemical compounds produced during the bean’s browning process, called the “Maillard reaction.” The term refers to the work by French chemist Louis-Camille Maillard who in the 1900s looked at how heat affects the carbohydrates, sugars and proteins in food, such as when grilling steaks or toasting bread.

Antioxidants aid in removing free radicals, the end products of metabolism which have been linked to the aging process.

“Previous studies suggested that antioxidants in coffee could be traced to caffeine or the chlorogenic acid found in green coffee beans, but our results clearly show that the Maillard reaction is the main source of antioxidants,” says Liu, an MSc student in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (LFS).

“We found, for example, that coffee beans lose 90 per cent of their chlorogenic acid during the roasting process,” says Kitts, LFS food science professor and director of the Food, Nutrition and Health program.

The UBC study sheds light on an area of research that has yielded largely inconsistent findings. While some scientists report increased antioxidant activity in coffee made from dark roasted beans, others found a decrease. Yet other theories insist that medium roast coffees yield the highest level of antioxidant activity.

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Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

New research findings from a team at the Providence Heart + Lung Institute at St. Paul’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia (UBC) may lead to new treatment options for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) - a potentially fatal disease that currently has no pharmacological treatments.

Dr. David Granville, University of British Columbia
“Dr. David Granville
University of British Columbia
and St. Paul’s Hospital
photo: UBC

An aortic aneurysm is a bulging of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body. If the aneurysm ruptures, it causes rapid blood loss and a high risk of death. About 75 per cent of all aortic aneurysms occur in the part of the aorta that is located in the abdomen, which supplies blood to the lower limbs.

Published in today’s American Journal of Pathology, a study led by Dr. David Granville, a researcher with UBC and the Providence Heart + Lung Institute, reveals a novel therapeutic target for AAA that could have a major impact on the treatment of this disease.

Using experimental models of AAA, Dr. Granville and his team identified a protein degrading enzyme called Granzyme B that is abundant in aneurysms. To determine whether Granzyme B was contributing to aneurysms, the enzyme was genetically knocked out.

“When we removed Granzyme B, we found that it not only slowed the progression of aneurysms, but also markedly improved survival,” says Dr. Granville. “This suggests that drugs designed specifically to target Granzyme B could be an effective means of treating aneurysms.”

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