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Abstract

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) states that it is essential for people to understand what constitutes a healthy diet and to know how to use their resources in the most effective way. Iodine is an essential nutrient for mammals, required as a mandatory structural and functional element of thyroid hormones. Previous studies in Latvia highlighted a tendency of reduced level of iodine for newborns, school-age children and pregnant women. No studies in the general adult population had been conducted yet. The aim of the study was to evaluate the level of knowledge regarding the role of iodine in nutrition in the adult population of Latvia. In total 199 adults participated in the survey. Data on the knowledge about the occurrence of iodine in nature and foodstuffs, the role of iodine in nutrition, and its deficiency were obtained. Results of the survey showed that only 4.5% of respondents used iodised salt daily in the diet. One-fourth knew that iodine is widely found in the environment and more than one-third knew all of the main functions of iodine in the human body. Salt and sea food were mentioned as the most common iodine sources. While iodised salt is used rarely, public awareness about the role of iodine is good and potential iodine deficiency in Latvia is likely due to unbalanced diet rather than lack of knowledge.

Abstract

The positive benefits of dietary fibre (DF) include regulation of the intestinal transit, prevention of risk or treatment of diabetes, and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, and obesity. The aim of this study was to collect information on knowledge about dietary fibre of citizens of Latvia. The questionnaire consisted of 22 questions. Its aim was to evaluate knowledge in three distinct areas: six concerning knowledge about food fibres; six — about the relation between fibres and various foods, and ten about the relation between fibres and diseases. The methodological study was conducted involving 231 participants, of which 83.5% were female and 16.5% male, aged between 18 and 80 years. The respondents were selected by convenience, and they differed in age, literacy, gender, geographical area of residence, and included people from different cities and smaller villages. 67% of the respondents considered that consumption of sufficient amounts of fibres can prevent or treat different diseases. 85% of respondents noted that legumes (peas, beans) are a source of fibres, but that it was more possible to take up the fibre with a combination of vegetables and animal products. The questionnaire revealed that respondents are aware of the benefits of fibre consumption for promoting health and treating some diseases.

Abstract

Meat consumption during the first year of life is especially important to provide necessary iron requirements. The aim of the study was to assess meat and meat product consumption of Latvian infants during their first year of life, in relation to different factors. Data were collected by interview method using two types of questionnaires: food frequency questionnaires and food diary. The study included a representative sample of infants and toddlers from all regions of Latvia with a target sample of 560 participants. The study included 266 infants: 127 girls, 139 boys, aged from 0 to 12 month. Data were summarised using the Excel software and analysed using the SPSS software. For data analysis two age groups were created: 0–5.9 months and 6–12 months. Consumption was analysed by two parameters: frequency and amount per feeding. Meat products were defined as offal products, sausages, and meat in baby food. Meat was mainly consumed after 6 months of age and by 73% of infants (n = 107). Meat from baby food was consumed only after 6 months and by 23% (n = 34). Sausages and offal products were consumed after 6 months of age. Sausages were consumed by 18% (n = 28) and offal products by 11% (n = 16) of infants. Meat consumption for the majority of infants was introduced after 6 months and was in accordance with recommendations.

Abstract

Grape surface is an unstable habitat that changes greatly according to the stage of grape ripening. Different bacteria and yeasts can colonise the surface of grape berry and the diversity of microorganisms depends on the stage of ripening, pesticide application and health condition. The aim of this study was to study the microflora of the surface of grape berries. Altogether, 19 grape samples from Slovakia were collected. The spread plate method was applied and a 100 μL inoculum of each dilution (10−2, 10−3) was plated on TSA, MEA, and MRS agar for isolation of microorganisms from grapes. Proteins were extracted from cells by ethanol/formic acid extraction procedure. MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry was used for identification of microorganisms. In total, 11 genera of Gram-negative bacteria, 11 of Gram-positive bacteria and nine of yeasts were identified. Among 200 isolates, Gram-negative, Gram-positive bacteria and yeasts represented 11%, 27% and 62% of the total number of isolates studied. The most common genera of isolated yeasts were Hanseniaspora (37%), Metschnikowia (31%), and Rhodotorula (10%). The most frequently isolated among Gram-negative bacteria were Acinetobacter (22%), Pseudomonas (22%) and Sphingomonas (13%). The most common genera of Gram-positive bacteria were Bacillus (20%), Lactobacillus (19%), Leuconostoc and Staphylococcus (11%), respectively.

Abstract

Milk and dairy products are studied as alternative iodine sources, because salt iodisation is controversial due to high salt consumption leading to cardiovascular diseases. However, the iodine concentration in milk markedly varies. This study evaluated the iodine concentration in cow’s milk available in the Latvian market. Iodine and fat concentration was analysed with a spectrophotometer “Varian Cary 50” based ISO 2446:2008 in 20 milk samples. Data from the Central Statistical Bureau and survey among pregnant women were used to analyse milk product consumption and its impact on iodine status. Average iodine concentration in milk samples was 457.6 (179.6) μg/L, winter samples had a higher concentration of iodine than summer samples: 563.4 (329.6) μg/L and 469.2 (162.0) μg/L, but this is not statistically significant p < 0.05. Iodine concentration in skimmed milk was 490 μg/L, milk with the reduced fat content 501.7 (174.8) μg/L, and whole milk — 422.6 (192.1)1 μg/L. Milk consumption decreased from 2002 to 2014, while yogurt and cheese consumption increased. Higher consumption of milk and milk products was related to higher urinary iodine concentration ρ = 0.115; p = 0.003. Milk and milk products are an important iodine source in Latvia and their consumption should be promoted.

Abstract

Triticale (× Triticosecale Wittm.) is mainly used for animal feed, but recent studies have shown its possible beneficial effect for human health. The objective of this study was to investigate the nutritional quality of triticale grown under different cropping systems in Latvia. Two winter triticale varieties, ‘Inarta’ and ‘Ruja’, were cultivated in 2014 and 2015 under conventional and organic cropping systems. Protein, starch, and total dietary fibre were determined using standard methods. Ultrasound assisted extraction was used for isolation of phenolic compounds. Total phenol content (TPC) and radical scavenging activity in extracts were determined spectrophotometrically. Overall, the highest content of protein, TPC and ABTS cation scavenging activity occurred in triticale harvested in 2014, due to favourable weather conditions (warm weather and more precipitation in June–July) for accumulation of these compounds during grain filling. Higher starch content in all studied samples harvested in 2015, as compared to 2014, was explained by higher precipitation in July 2015. The type of cropping system had no significant effect (p > 0.05) on protein and starch content, while TPC, DPPH, and ABTS·+ scavenging activity was influenced by cropping system, depending on variety.

Abstract

The resources for optimal growth are biologically valuable substances that ensure life, and their consumption needs to be balanced and moderate with an adequate eating plan. Survey showed that 84% of respondents chose food products with low nutritional value and high energy value. The general aim of the research was to evaluate the eating habits of primary school pupils and to compare the tendencies in city and regional schools. Catering services are very different schools of Latvia in terms of both mealtimes and prices. Basic criteria were elaborated for estimation of catering quality for children in schools. It was found that 36% of school children in out-of-school conditions regularly consumed snacks with simple carbohydrates on a daily basis. For better utilisation of food, fresh unprocessed fruits and berries with high mineral and vitamin content have great significance. Pectin found in black currants is used as a natural gelling agent. Structured fruit puree was found to have the most important physical-chemical and sensory parameters. Recommendations to improve healthy eating habits of school children were developed.

Abstract

Orange juices are an important source of bioactive compounds. Because of its unique combination of sensory attributes and nutritional value, orange juice is the world’s most popular fruit juice. Orange (Citrus sinensis) juice of Greek Navel variety was used in this study. The impact of Conventional Thermal Pasteurisation (94 °C/30') (CTP) and alternative Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) (130 °C/2') processing on bioactive compounds and antioxidant capacity changes of fresh Navel orange juice was investigated. Sensory attributes of processed juices were evaluated. Results showed that using technologies CTP and UHT orange juice Navel significantly changed vitamin C concentration in comparison with fresh orange juice. The highest concentration of antioxidants (vitamin C, total phenols, hesperidin and carotenoids) was observed in orange juice Navel produced by UHT technology. Sensory results indicated that characteristics of the orange juice obtained using UHT technology were more liked than the CTP heat treated juice. UHT technology emerges as an advantageous alternative process to preserve bioactive compounds in orange juice.

Abstract

In children, intensive near-work affects the accommodation system of the eye. Younger children, due to anatomical parameters, read at smaller distance than older children and we can expect that the accommodation system of younger can be affected more than that of older children. We wanted to test this hypothesis. Some authors showed that the norms of amplitude of accommodation (AA) developed by Hofstetter (1950) not always could be applied for children. We also wanted to verify these results. A total of 106 (age 7-15) children participated in the study. Distance visual acuity was measured for all children and only data of children with good visual acuity 1.0 or more (dec. units) were analysed (73 children). Accommodative amplitude was measured before and after lessons using subjective push-up technique (with RAF Near Point Ruler). The results showed that the amplitude of accommodation reduced significantly (p < 0.05) during the day and decrease of AA was similar in different age groups (about ~0.70 D). Additional measurements are needed to verify that the observed changes in AA were associated with fatigue effect. The results showed lower accommodation values compared to average values calculated according to the Hofstetter equation (p < 0.05).