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New Research Investigates Potential Probiotic Benefits of a Pear-Enriched Diet

Bartlett BinNorthwest pear industry continues nutritional research investment

 

PORTLAND, Ore. – March 31, 2015 –Pear Bureau Northwest announces the latest nutrition research results published in the March issue of Food Research International.1 The study is one of several ongoing projects funded and supported by Northwest pear growers to examine the nutritional benefits of fresh pears. Beginning in 2011, the pear growers initiated a roundtable review of existing nutrition research and began accepting proposals from academic researchers for pear exploration. New research results will continue to be presented over the coming years as the industry continues to invest in gathering pear nutrition knowledge.

The newly published in vitro (test tube) study is titled “Dietary functional benefits of Bartlett and Starkrimson pears for potential management of hyperglycemia, hypertension and ulcer bacteria Helicobacter pylori while supporting beneficial probiotic bacterial response.”

In a laboratory in vitro setting, Kalidas Shetty, PhD, currently a professor of plant science at North Dakota State University, and the research’s lead author, Dr. Dipayan Sarkar, studied the compounds found in two pear varieties, Bartlett and Starkrimson, in order to better understand the impact of those compounds on chronic diseases. The results suggest fermentation of these pear cultivars further enhances their ability to control stomach related diseases involving H. pylori, the most common chronic bacterial infection in humans, without affecting beneficial bacteria with probiotic potential.

“Bacteria is often perceived as something that causes diseases; however, the body is full of bacteria that are mostly good,” said Dr. Kalidas Shetty. “It’s exciting to explore the potential that pears can have to balance beneficial bacterial activity in the digestive process, as gut health helps support overall health of the body.”

In addition to studying the probiotic potential of pears, the researchers looked at pears as part of a dietary strategy to provide efficient and effective management options to combat diet-linked non-communicable diseases like type 2 diabetes and its associated cardiovascular disease complications. The study found that Bartlett and Starkrimson pear varieties have compounds such as phenolics and antioxidants as well as activity that slows down enzymes related to starch and glucose metabolism, which relates to managing early stages of hyperglycemia and diabetes-induced hypertension.

Dr. Shetty’s new research builds on a previous in vitro study that explored the pulp extracts of different pear varieties and how they impact absorption of glucose during digestion.2 It is not known if the results of either of these in vitro studies can be replicated in humans, but these findings provide the scientific rationale to perform human studies in the future.

Visit www.usapears.org for additional pear research, nutrition resources, and recipes.

 

Resources:

  1. Sarkar D, Ankolekar C, Pinto M, Shetty K. (2015). Dietary functional benefits of Bartlett and Starkrimson pears for potential management of hyperglycemia, hypertension and ulcer bacteria Helicobacter pylori while supporting beneficial probiotic bacterial response. Food Research International, 69, 80-90.
  2. Barbosa ACL, Sarkar, D, Pinto M, Ankolekar C, Greene D, Shetty K. (2013). Type 2 diabetes relevant bioactive potential of freshly harvested and long-term stored pears using in vitro assay models. Journal of Food Biochemistry, 37, 677-686.

 

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About Pear Bureau Northwest

Pear Bureau Northwest is a non-profit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote the fresh USA Pears grown in Washington and Oregon, home to 84% of the US fresh pear crop.  The Bureau represents 1,600 growers and develops national and international markets for Northwest pear distribution.  For more information, visit www.usapears.org.

 

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Media Contact
Kathy Stephenson
Marketing Communications Director
(503) 652-9720
kstephenson@usapears.com