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An exciting and innovative partnership between the research programs of Dr. Thomas Netticadan and Dr. Cristina Rosell is currently underway. These scientists have been awarded funding through the prestigious Innovation Proof of Concept call granted by Research Manitoba for a two-year project. Dr. Sijo Joseph and Dr. Nicola Gasparre at the Richardson Centre for Food Technology and Research are collaborators on this project. Together, their mission is to develop a resveratrol-fortified bread product and to rigorously assess its anti-diabetic potential.

Resveratrol, a well-known and highly potent phenolic compound found predominantly in grapes, peanuts, and berries, is celebrated for its exceptional health benefits. It offers powerful anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hyperlipidemic, and cardioprotective effects. Despite its proven benefits, resveratrol’s use has been largely limited to supplement forms like capsules, due to its unstable nature. The challenge is to develop an accessible and inexpensive food product enriched with resveratrol that can extend these significant health benefits to a wider population.

Bread, being a universal staple food, presents an excellent and practical carrier for bioactive compounds. “In addition to diabetes, we expect that this innovative bread could also benefit conditions such as obesity and metabolic syndrome, offering a holistic approach to improving overall metabolic health,” Netticadan says.

As the visionary Team Leader of the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (CCARM) and a dedicated research scientist here at the Albrechtsen Research Centre, Netticadan brings almost 20 years of expertise in examining the potential cardiovascular and cardiometabolic benefits of food components. His pioneering research on the in vivo effects of resveratrol is highly regarded. Netticadan has published 95 full-length peer-reviewed papers and contributed to eight influential book chapters.

Dr. Rosell, the respected Professor and Head of the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba and a prominent member of the Institute of Agro-chemistry and Food Technology of the Spanish National Research Council, has over 25 years of invaluable experience in researching cereal and grain applications. She focuses on developing novel bakery products and analyzing their digestibility performance. Dr. Rosell has published more than 300 peer-reviewed scientific papers and book chapters, showcasing her profound knowledge of cereals and bakery topics.

“As an expert in Nutrition and Health, my research focuses on the metabolic and cardiovascular benefits of food components. Dr. Rosell’s extensive expertise in Food Sciences, particularly in cereal and grain applications, complements my work perfectly, enabling us to develop a novel, health-enhancing bread product,” says Dr. Netticadan.

The generous funding from Research Manitoba represents a crucial step forward in offering an innovative solution for type 2 diabetes management. The incorporation of resveratrol into a staple food like bread could significantly accelerate the launch of an accessible, fortified bread product that has the potential to revolutionize diabetes treatment in Manitoba. “We anticipate that the resveratrol-fortified bread will significantly improve metabolic parameters, such as lowering elevated levels of glucose, cholesterol, and triglycerides in the blood, which are critical for effective diabetes management,” Dr. Netticadan explains.

Moreover, this initiative plays a key role in developing highly qualified personnel, ensuring a lasting and meaningful impact on both scientific and societal fronts.

“This project is poised to train and develop high-quality personnel, including a graduate student and a postdoctoral fellow. By engaging in cutting-edge research, they will gain invaluable experience and contribute to the advancement of the field, ensuring a vibrant and knowledgeable future workforce,” Netticadan adds.