PHYTOCHEMICALS AS BIOACTIVE AGENTS. Wayne R. Bidlack, Stanley T. Omaye, Mark S. Meskin, and Debra K.W. Topham. Technomic Publishing Co., Inc., P.O. Box 3535, 851 New Holland Ave., Lancaster, PA 17604-9961. Phone 800-233-9936, fax 717-295-4538, ISBN: 1-56676-788-1. 2000. 274 pp. $99.95.

This collection of monographs is based on presentations given at the 1998 Phytochemical Conference held in Pamona, Calif. The editors have brought together articles that review the current state of knowledge relating to some of the most-studied bioactive plant constituents, including strategies for discovery and challenges faced by researchers and the food industry.

The first several chapters include methods for discovery of bioactive phytochemicals, the use of appropriate instrumentation and databases for screening and evaluation, and design considerations for clinical trials. Phenolic compounds are used to demonstrate how structure-function can be elucidated using QSAR and molecular modeling techniques in Chapter 2.

Chemoprevention by phytochemicals is presented in several chapters that review the mechanisms compounds use to inhibit the occurrence or progression of cancer, as well as methods used to assess bioactivity. These are organized either by their effects or by the families of active compounds. Other topics reviewed include antimicrobial agents from plants (including saponins, phenolics, alkaloids, or thiosulfanates from oils, spices, fruits, vegetables, or herbs), management of the gastrointestinal tract and its flora with fiber components, and cholesterol-lowering agents from garlic and rice bran.

The consistent formatting and organization makes this book clear and easy to follow. References are recent and relevant. Figures are well chosen to visually present concepts. The book is well organized, and the index is complete.

Overall, Phytochemicals as Bioactive Agents is an excellent overview of the scientific knowledge behind this growing field of nutraceuticals and functional foods, recommended for academics, regulators, and the food industry. As an introduction to this research area, it is comprehensive, yet brief, and provides the reader with an excellent overview of this interdisciplinary field.

Leslie C. Plhak , Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.

INNOVATIONS IN FOOD PROCESSING. Gustavo V. Barbosa-Cánovas and Grahame W. Gould, eds. Technomic Publishing Co., Inc., P.O. Box 3535, 851 New Holland Ave., Lancaster, PA 17604-9961. Phone 800-233-9936, fax 717-295-4538, ISBN: 1-56676-782-2. 2000. 274 pp. $124.95.

Presentation of the latest developments and innovations in food processing is the target of this book and the on-going series of which it is a component. As such, the book provides an update on current research activities featuring high-hydrostatic-pressure processing, minimal processing/hurdle concept strategies involving various products, and packaging experiments evaluating polysaccharide films. The material is presented in 18 chapters, 13 of which are IMRAD-style research papers from the laboratory of Gustavo Barbosa-Cánovas examining a range of processes and foods. Throughout the book, there is no shortage of figures and charts to convey the experimental data that are presented.

Excepting the brief introductory chapter, three of the remaining four chapters serve primarily as review updates that are not intended to be expansive, all-encompassing monographs but, rather, concise overviews of current research activities in each topic area. The chapters entitled, “Process Aspects of High-Pressure Treatment of Food Systems,” “Minimally Processed Fruits Using Hurdle Technology,” and “Minimal Processing of Foods with Thermal Methods,” are all very good summary updates in their established areas. The modeling chapter, “Modeling and Simulating Microbial Survival in Foods Subjected to a Combination of Preservation Methods,” serves nicely as a means to understand the mathematical comparison of first-order kinetics to nonlinear kinetics involving the predictive microbiology of food preservation processes.

I recommend this book to those people who desire an update on what is current in these subject areas. Individuals new to the field seeking a foundation for understanding the fundamentals of the newer, less conventional food processing methods can probably find other publications that present introductory and back-ground information in greater scope.

Dallas G. Hoover , Professor, Department of Animal & Food Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, Del.

Anti-GenetiX: The emergence of the anti-GM movement
. Derrick A. Purdue. Ashgate Publishing Company, 131 Main St., Burlington, VT 05401 (call 802-276-3162; fax 802-276-3837; ISBN: 0-7546-1216-3. 2000.161 pp. $64.95.

Bread Staling. Pavinee Chinachoti and Yael Vodovotz, eds. CRC Press LLC, 2000 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431 (call 800-272-7737; fax 800-374-3401). ISBN: 0-8493-8790-6. 2001. 177 pp. No price given.

Cambridge World History of Food, Vols. I & 2. Kenneth F. Kiple and Kriemhild Conee Ornelas, eds. Cambridge University Press, 110 Midland Ave., Port Chester, NY 10573-4930 (call 914-937-9600 or 800-872-7423; fax 914-937-4712). ISBN: 0-521-40216-6. 2000. 2153 pp. $150.

Capillary Electrophoresis for Food Analysis: Method Development. Richard A. Frazier, Jennifer M. Ames, and Harry E. Nursten. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Thomas Graham House, Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 0WF, United Kingdom (Call +44(0)1223-432360; fax +44(0)1223-423429; e-mail [email protected]; ISBN: 0-85404-492-2. 2000. 127 pp. £49.50.

Food Shelf Life Stability: Chemical, Biological, and Microbiological Changes. N.A. Michael Eskin and David S. Robinson, eds. CRC Press LLC, 2000 N.W. Corporate Blvd., Boca Raton, FL 33431 (Call 800-272-7737; fax 800-374-3401). ISBN: 0-8493-8976-3. 2001. 370 pp. No price given.