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Understanding the fate of almond (Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb) oleosomes during simulated digestion.

Trombetta, D., A. Smeriglio, M. Denaro, R. Zagami, M. Tomassetti, R. Pilolli, E. De Angelis, L. Monaci, G. Mandalari, 2020. Understanding the fate of almond (Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb) oleosomes during simulated digestion. Nutrients. 12, 3397; doi:10.3390/nu12113397.

Background: Almond kernels contain phytochemicals with positive health effects in relation to heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Several studies have previously highlighted that almond cell wall encapsulation during digestion and particle size are factors associated with these benefits. In the present study, we have characterized almond oleosomes, natural oil droplets abundant in plants, and we have investigated their integrity during simulated gastrointestinal digestion. Methods: Oleosomes were visualized on the almond seed surface by imaging mass spectrometry analysis, and then characterized in terms of droplet size distribution by dynamic light scattering and protein profile by liquid chromatography high-resolution tandem mass spectrometry analysis. Results: The almond oleosomes’ distribution remained monomodal after in vitro mastication, whereas gastric and duodenal digestion led to a bimodal distribution, albeit characterized mainly by a prevalent population with a droplet size decrease related to a rearrangement of the protein profile. Oleosins, structural proteins found in plant oil bodies, persisted unchanged during simulated mastication, with the appearance of new prunin isoforms after gastric and duodenal digestion. Conclusions: The rearrangement of the protein profile could limit lipid bioaccessibility. The data improve our understanding of the behavior of almond lipids during gastrointestinal digestion, and may have implications for energy intake and satiety imparted by almonds.