Complexity and health functionality of plant cell wall fibers from fruits and vegetables


The prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases is increasing in developing countries with the causes for death starting to follow the same pattern in the developed world. Lifestyle factors including inadequate dietary intake of fruits and vegetables and over consumption of nutrient-poor processed foods, are considered to be major causal risk factors associated with increased susceptibility to developing certain diseases (Alldrick, 1998; Kiani, 2007). Recent epidemiological evidence confirms a strong association between dietary fiber and reduced all-cause mortality risk, as well as a risk reduction for a number of non-communicable diseases (Chuang et al., 2012). The relationship between dietary fiber and mortality has been described as “convincing observations that call for mechanistic investigations” (Landberg, 2012). In particular, the health protective roles played by dietary fibers of different origin are not well understood. Whilst Hippocrates was the earliest known physician to study the health benefits of fiber derived from grains (Burkitt, 1987), the functionality of fruit and vegetable fiber, especially in association with other compounds such as polyphenols and carotenoids, is an area of more recent interest. Hence the objective of this review is to assess the complexity and health-related functional role of plant cell wall (PCW) fibers from fruits and vegetables with a particular emphasis on interactions between cell walls and phytonutrients.

Publication Title

Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition