Naam E di Stefano MSc

OrganisatieDepartement Agrotechnologie en Voedingswetenschappen
OrganisatieeenheidFood Quality and Design



Food matrix and disease prevention: potential effect of pulse consumption on type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes incidence has almost quadrupled in the last 40 years and it is expected to reach more than 10% of the world population by 2040. Scientific interest is focussing on hindering the risk factors of the disease, promoting radical changes in nutritional habits, and looking for functional foods that can reduce the burden of antidiabetic drugs currently used as therapy. DPP-IV inhibitory peptides can significantly improve the activity of the incretine hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP), responsible of 60% of insulin released during meal consumption and they have therefore been developed as synthetic drugs for management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Recent in vitro and in silico studies identified DPP-IV inhibitors within food proteins isolates, but most research so far has mainly examined animal-derived peptides. Plant sources, and particularly pulses, have been poorly explored and represent a promising and sustainable source of bioactives. In vitro studies on isolated legume proteins have underpinned their high potential as source of DPP-IV inhibitory peptides. However, these peptides are encrypted within the parental protein structure and need to be released in order to exert their bioactivity. Moreover, when consumed in our diet, bioactive compounds are part of a food matrix and they can interact with other macromolecules and structures present, and this interaction might greatly affect the availability of these bioactive compounds for the human body.

The aim of this project is to investigate the effect of germination, fermentation and cooking on the microstructure of pulses and on their subsequent release during digestion of bioactive compounds that can modulate glucose metabolism and lead to in vivo decrease of glycaemic response in humans.


Bioaccessibility and bioavailability of selected bioactives will be determined by simulated gastro-intestinal digestion and cellular absorption. The most effective process-pulse combination will be used for the formulation of a food product which will be used for an in vivo study with humans.


  • de Souza Rocha T, Hernandez LMR, Chang YK, de Mejia EG (2014). Impact of germination and enzymatic hydrolysis of cowpea bean (Vigna unguiculata) on the generation of peptides capable of inhibiting dipeptidyl peptidase IV. Food Research International 64:799-809.
  • Lacroix, I. M. E., & Li-Chan, E. C. Y. (2016). Food-derived dipeptidyl-peptidase IV inhibitors as a potential approach for glycemic regulation - Current knowledge and future research considerations. Trends in Food Science and Technology, 54, 1–16.
  • Sensoy, I. (2014). A Review on the Relationship Between Food Structure, Processing, and Bioavailability. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 54(7), 902–909.
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