The long-term goal of this interdisciplinary effort is to improve the delivery of thiamin in whole foods and food ingredients. The objectives of this project are designed to enhance the fundamental understanding of the impacts of vitamin form, formulation, solid state properties, and storage treatment interactions on thiamin stability. Thiamin degradation will be modeled, and the optimal form of thiamin for different products will be identified based on the interplay between physical and chemical stability across formulation, production, and storage scenarios. The central hypothesis is that different thiamin forms will exhibit different stability traits, including response to food formulation and production scenarios, and therefore recommendations can be developed for selecting the optimum thiamin form for a particular product or process. The supporting objectives are to: Monitor the stability of thiamin (natural and synthetic forms, including different crystalline forms) through the production and storage of whole and refined grain flours and products (wheat, rice, corn) and model food systems, and identify formulation, matrix (crystalline and amorphous systems), processing, and storage factors (e.g., temperature and relative humidity, RH) that have a significant impact on thiamin degradation kinetics. Develop mathematical models and elucidate reaction constants that can be used to predict thiamin degradation in food ingredients and products based on the type of ingredient/food, process, storage conditions, and other significant factors identified in Objective 1, and document interactions between thiamin and food ingredients, as a basis for recommendations for the optimal form of thiamin for different ingredients, foods, and use scenarios.
Thiamin deficiencies impact populations in both developed and developing countries. In many cases, fortifying staple refined foods with thiamin can mitigate the deficiencies. To optimize the delivery of thiamin, it must be stable in the product throughout storage and use. Current US consumer demands (and therefore industry trends) include increasing both whole-grain (whole-food) and gluten-free products. More information is needed to document the impact of thiamin ingredient form, food matrix, and processing and storage conditions on the stability of thiamin throughout shelf-life in a variety of food products beyond refined and enriched wheat-based foods. The proposed study will document the magnitude of thiamin losses through production and storage scenarios, encompassing a variety of thiamin ingredient forms, model systems, staple refined foods (based on wheat, corn, and rice), and food products (including gluten-free). Not only will this information be useful to compare thiamin stability in whole and fortified foods made from staple crops throughout the world, but it will also be useful to support thiamin-containing gluten-free product development efforts. The ultimate goal is to improve the delivery of thiamin in a variety of foods to promote a safe (interpret this as gluten-free for Celiac patients), sufficient, and nutritious food supply for both developed and developing nations. This project will address the USDA program area priority in Program Area A1361 "Improving Food Quality" by comprehensively investigating thiamin stability in natural and synthetic ingredients and whole and fortified foods and then developing recommendations to stabilize and optimize the delivery of thiamin in both ingredients and foods. While research on thiamin stability is available in the literature, we believe that ours is a novel approach, combining an applied characterization of thiamin content and stability in foods and ingredients, including investigations of gluten-free products, with a fundamental extension of the latest in scientific advances on solid state architecture from the pharmaceutical arena to whole food applications. In particular, our proposed research has the following novel features: 1) A systematic investigation of natural and synthetic as well as crystalline and amorphous thiamin structures; 2) Development of a mechanistic understanding of how common food ingredients (starch, proteins, and gums) disrupt the molecular assembly of thiamin additives, resulting in amorphous structures with altered physical and chemical stability; 3) A direct comparison of the stability of natural and synthetic thiamin forms in food and model systems across relevant production and storage scenarios; and 4) An understanding of the synergistic or antagonistic formulation/process/environmental interactions on the kinetics of thiamin degradation through processing and storage of foods. The Specific Objectives are designed to enhance the fundamental understanding of the impacts of vitamin form, formulation, solid state properties, and storage treatment interactions on thiamin stability and to develop recommendations for improving the stability of thiamin in foods. The Potential Impact and Expected Outcomes of the fundamental new knowledge we will generate in manipulating thiamin ingredients in crystalline forms and amorphous dispersions include the development of recommendations and implementation of solid state strategies to enhance thiamin additive stability in both ingredients and foods. Scientifically sound recommendations developed from this work will enable selection of the optimal form of thiamin for different products, with the potential to improve delivery of thiamin in a wide variety of products and ultimately reduce rates of thiamin deficiencies in both developed and developing countries.