Harnessing the anti-inflammatory potency of Alaska berries as a functional food

Period of Performance: 08/04/2016 - 12/31/2016


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Fairbanks, AK 99709
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


A persistent and spreading inflammatory and oxidative stress is largely responsible for the progressive degeneration of neuronal connectivity ultimate reflected by a debilitating decline of cognitive function, which accompanies normal aging as well as age and/or trauma-related ailments. The yearly economic burden due to age-related cognitive decline is estimated to exceed $600 billion worldwide and about $200 billion in the US alone. Age and lifestyle are the main risk factors. Measures to blunt, delay, or confine inflammatory and oxidative stress alleviate or even halt neuronal degeneration and stabilize or improve cognitive capacities. Our research has identified a biochemical pathway in central nervous system neurons linking synaptic dysfunction to neuroinflammatory changes. Healthy lifestyle choices such as diets rich in berry fruit are well documented for their benefits in protecting or improving cognitive health in aging individuals.We identifiedthe potency of Alaska wild berries to block the biochemicalpathway beyond passive antioxidant capacity hence blunting inflammatory damage to neuronal cellsand demonstrated the potential for enrichment. Our effortswill evaluatethe bioactive potency of berriesendemic to Alaska compared to berries commonly cultivated in the contiguous US.We will further assess the impact of berry harvesting location on bioactivityand develop a rapid enrichmentprocedure to harnessthis bioactivity applicable to commercial quantities. Cereon Biotechnology LLC seeks to develop a FFDA-approvedfunctional food exclusivelyderived from Alaska wild berries with bioactivitybeyond passive antioxidant potency and insteadacting on specific biochemical targets to lower neuroinflammatory burden and ultimatelystabilize or evenimproving cognitive capacity of individuals.