It has long been proven that people who follow a Mediterranean diet and keep physically and mentally active are less likely to suffer from dementia. Olives in particular appear to play a key role in this regard. But just what are the substances contained in these small, oval fruit that are so valuable? This is what a group of researchers from the Goethe University Frankfurt, intends to find out.
The initiative of which came from N-Zyme BioTec GmbHת aim to use substances contained in olives to develop new functional food for the ageing society, which will protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
“We want to test whether olive polyphenols can even help to cure the disease. This is why we believe our products also relate to the pharmaceutical sector”, says Dr. Joachim Tretzel, Managing Director of N-Zyme BioTec GmbH.
The team, led by Prof. Heribert Warzecha is examining the development of new biotechnological processes designed to extract specific plant substances. Our new techniques make it easier to extract substances from olive leaves and significantly improve low yields”, explains Warzecha. “When it comes to production, this means we aren’t dependent on the seasonal harvesting of olives in growing areas”.
“We are testing the hypothesis that certain polyphenols from olives slow down disease processes in the brain, improve mitochondrial dysfunction and, as a result, provide evidence to suggest they protect against Alzheimer’s disease”, explains pharmacological expert Eckert, summarizing the objective of his research. GU researchers have been awarded funding of 288, 000 Euros for the project.
The three-year project “NeurOliv” has a project volume of 1.3 million Euros and is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the high-tech initiative “KMU-innovativ Biochance”.