Brightseed’s AI tech to investigate Ocean Spray’s cranberries for immunity and cognition benefits
19 Nov 2021 --- Ocean Spray Cranberries will leverage Brightseed’s artificial intelligence (AI) Forager technology to profile the compounds in cranberries and their impact on human health.
With this collaboration, Ocean Spray aims to have the world’s most comprehensive nutritional profile of the cranberry – including the cranberries’ previously unknown bioactive compounds and potential health benefits for immunity and cognition.
“The data we obtain will help us design studies to validate the mode of action of the components that were identified and determine new health benefit areas for cranberries,” Katy Galle, senior vice president of R&D at Ocean Spray, tells NutritionInsight.
These studies will then support Ocean Spray as it develops healthy products for its customers. They will also inform how it grows, separates and treats its cranberries to optimize them for target health benefits and sustainability.
“The identification of the compounds supports our belief that cranberry is a ‘superfruit,’ delivering not just an abundance of these beneficial plant compounds but also a very diverse profile. These compounds can be harnessed in a food product or delivered in other forms,” Galle details.
Fitting learnings into product pipeline
Ocean Spray has already begun to mine the data through the Forager database. Galle explains the timeline for applying the results will be developed after validation through in vitro and clinical testing to support the health benefit messaging.
“Then, in partnership with our business team, we can determine where these learnings fit into our pipeline for product innovation,” she outlines.
Notably, in a few months of AI-powered analysis on Ocean Spray’s cranberry strains, Forager found ten times more bioactive phytochemicals and four times more phytonutrients across a sample of Ocean Spray’s cranberry varieties.
Moreover, multiple cranberry strains were packed with more than 350 bioactive compound classes with promise to positively impact immunity and cognition – new territories of health benefits that were previously unknown in cranberries.
Diverse cranberry varieties
Similar to how different grapes produce different wine varietals, each cranberry strain can be extraordinarily diverse in its phytochemical composition, resulting in different colors, flavor nuances, sizes and a host of health-promoting bioactive compounds.
According to Ocean Spray, cranberries are a rich source of polyphenols with high antioxidant activity. Some of their health benefits are well-known, including their impact on bladder and kidney function.
Last year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also opened the door for certain health claims around cranberry products and a reduced risk of recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI).
“With over 100 cranberry varieties, the vast majority of compounds in cranberries have never been explored for their impact in the human body. However, they carry enormous potential to open up new dimensions for health and wellness, emphasizes Galle.
She adds that the bioactive compounds in cranberries found in literature and the new ones mapped by Brightseed are linked to processes like antioxidant activities and immune-modulating activities.
“They’re also associated with other important cell processes that are involved in maintaining heart health, cognitive health and immune functions, suggesting that these cranberry components can support these benefits.”
Making the opaque transparent
Brightseed’s Forager technology will illuminate what has been traditionally opaque to science – the complex, molecular structures of plant compounds – and maps their impact on human biology.
“The question Forager is able to answer is not just ‘what is in a cranberry?’ but also ‘what is different about all these cranberry varieties?’ With Forager’s insights, Ocean Spray’s stewardship will be taken to the next level and so will consumer comprehension of what a cranberry can do for health,” says Sofia Elizondo, co-founder and chief operating officer of Brightseed.
Brightseed has previously teamed up with industry movers like Danone and Pharmavite. In January, it also identified plant molecules for clearing liver fat and promoting metabolic health.
Earlier this month, Brightseed landed a US$200,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to discover plant-based bioactives that can improve birth outcomes in areas facing undernutrition.
By Katherine Durrell
This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst’s sister website, NutritionInsight.
To contact our editorial team please email us at email@example.com
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