Truffles have potential as a functional food ingredient

While truffles may the epitome of taste in the culinary world, they also have potential as a functional food ingredient, say researchers, outlining their antioxidant, antimicrobial, and immunemodulating
potential. The truffle is an important gourment culinary ingredient used by top restaurants and kitchens. However, the expensive delicacy also has great potential as a healthy and functional ingredient according to a team of international researchers. Writing in Trends in Food Science & Technology, the team led by first author Seema Patel from the Bioinformatics and Medical Informatics Research Center, San Diego State University noted that while their current low productivity makes them expensive and inaccessible to the majority of the world’s population, if this can be changed then truffles have a great deal of potential as a functional food. According to the team, truffles contain naturally high levels of protein, amino acids, and essential minerals and sterols that make it a
perfect candidate as a functional ingredient. Furthermore, truffles contain a combination of potentially beneficial volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including aldehydes, alcohols, ketones, and organic acids (ascorbic acid) in various ratios, they said. “Recent studies have proven that some truffles have ergosteriods, the most widespred fungal sterol, that can be transformed into vitamin D in the human body,” said Patel and colleagues. “With the identification of its components such as ergosterol, tuberoside anandamide, polysaccharides, and phenolics, as well as the validation of nutritional benefits as antioxidant, antiinflammatory, immunomodulatory, antitumor, antimicrobial, and
aphrodisiac, it is attracting international consumer attention,” they added.