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Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 222–228 | Cite as

Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius): A Functional Food

  • Grethel Teresa Choque DelgadoEmail author
  • Wirla Maria da Silva Cunha Tamashiro
  • Mário Roberto Maróstica Junior
  • Glaucia Maria Pastore
Original Paper

Abstract

Yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) is an Andean tuberous root that is regarded as a functional food given that it contains fructooligosaccharides (FOS), inulin and phenolic compounds. The consumption of FOS and inulin improves the growth of bifidobacteria in the colon, enhances mineral absorption and gastrointestinal metabolism and plays a role in the regulation of serum cholesterol. Furthermore, the literature reports that the consumption of these prebiotics promotes a positive modulation of the immune system, improving resistance to infections and allergic reactions. Certain studies have demonstrated the potential of yacon as an alternative food source for those patients with conditions that require dietary changes. This review intends to describe the potential of yacon as a prebiotic and its cultivation and industrial processing for human consumption.

Keywords

Fructans Fructooligosaccharides Phenolic compounds Prebiotics Yacon 

Abbreviations

FOS

Fructooligosaccharides

NDOs

Non-digestible oligosaccharides

PAHO

Pan American Health Organisation

SCFA

Short-chain fatty acids

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank the CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico - “National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development”) for financial support.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grethel Teresa Choque Delgado
    • 1
    Email author
  • Wirla Maria da Silva Cunha Tamashiro
    • 2
  • Mário Roberto Maróstica Junior
    • 3
  • Glaucia Maria Pastore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food Science, School of Food EngineeringUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Genetics, Evolution and Bioagents, Institute of BiologyUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Food and Nutrition, School of Food EngineeringUniversity of CampinasCampinasBrazil

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