JDU takes leadership role in project on treatment of childhood overweight, obesity & its metabolic complications

On December 4, 2019, an agreement to fund the project entitled "The development and implementation of an innovative technology for the next generation fruit and vegetable processing enriched with potato fibre preparation with prebiotic properties for children and adolescents" was signed between Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa and the National Centre for Research and Development. The project, headed by Professor Janusz Kapuśniak, is the largest r&d project in our University with a total budget of PLN 7,470,801.02.

Being current social problems, obesity and overweight affect up to 20% of children in their development stages and 50% in adulthood. Among the many factors promoting the development of overweight and obesity, excessive consumption of high-calorie products and nutrient-dense foods are to blame. The development of overweight and obesity is closely correlated with the changes in the gut microbiota. The results of both experimental and clinical studies indicate significant differences in microbiota and bacterial metagenomes in the guts of obese and overweight adults and children compared to slim people. The composition of the intestinal microbiota depends on the diet, including the type of carbohydrates consumed. One factor in preventing childhood overweight and obesity, and reducing the prevalence of the recurrent obesity-initiated metabolic syndrome may be a diet enriched with prebiotic substances.

The project foresees the use of a prebiotic preparation developed by a team of scientists from Jan Dlugosz University in Częstochowa headed by Professor Janusz Kapuśniak and the Institute of Technology of Fermentation and Microbiology at the Lodz University of Technology led by Professor Zdzisława Libudzisz (until now TRL 6 has been achieved). In terms of construction and properties, it is resistant dextrin obtained by the dextrinisation of potato starch acidified with hydrochloric and citric acids, carried out under strictly controlled conditions. The technology of obtaining the preparation has been protected by a patent - number PL220965. The condition for the use of potato fibre preparation in the daily diet in children is its prebiotic effect demonstrated by a team led by Professor Janusz Kapuśniacz in numerous experimental studies and patent descriptions. These actions begin the fermentation process in the large intestine, accompanied by changes in the composition and biological activity of intestinal microflora, weight loss and changes in the distribution of visceral and peripheral fat. These results have applied significance in facilitating the development of this product on an industrial scale and its use in the daily diet of children who are overweight, obese and with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and hypertension.

The project will develop and implement a technology for the production of low sugar vegetable and fruit preserves enriched with a membrane preparation with prebiotic properties of potato starch dextrins and organoleptic properties acceptable to children and teenagers, as well as with adequate storage stability. In addition, is is planned with a pilot study to assess the effect of vegetable and fruit preserves enriched with a potato fiber preparation with prebiotic properties on children with overweight, obesity and its metabolic complications. The evaluation points will be anthropometric and metabolic measurements, immunological parameters and changes in the intestinal microbiota and metagenome.

The project has a significant social aspect, since dietary procedures have not yet been developed in a practical sense, which would reduce the consumption of high-sugar products which cause obesity and cardiovascular disease.

The project is carried out within the consortium composed of:
- Jan Dlugosz University in Czestochowa
- Tymbark MWS Sp. z o.o. Sp. K.
- Children’s Memorial Health Institute
- Faculty of Biotechnology and Food Sciences of the Lodz University of Technology
- Oncology Centre of the Maria Skłodowska-Curie Institute

The project involves the use of a soluble fiber potato starch preparation with prebiotic properties, the use of which will allow the launch of innovative vegetable and fruit preserves with health properties included in the category of functional products which are mainly aimed at weight reduction in children with obesity. The project will result in innovation on a global scale in the form of a new technology, which will then be implemented and placed on the market.