Bioprocessing Strategies to Enhance L-DOPA and Phenolic Bioactives in the Fava Bean (Vicia Faba)
Parkinson’s disease is the second leading chronic neurodegenerative disorder affecting more than 10 million people worldwide. Therapeutic approaches for Parkinson’s disease treatment mostly target substitution of striatal dopamine to improve both motor and non-motor symptoms. Administration of dopamine-precursor, a non-protein amino acid commonly characterized as 3,4-dihydroxy phenylalanine (L-DOPA), is the primary mode of dopamine replacement treatment and L-DOPA is widely used in most anti-Parkinsonian drugs. Many plant species, especially legumes such as fava beans, are rich sources of natural L-DOPA, and can be integrated in long-term preventative and therapeutic strategies for Parkinson’s disease treatment. Additionally, most of these legume (bean)-based foods are also good sources of dietary antioxidants such as phenolic bioactives and are beneficial to counter chronic oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease pathogenesis and other neurodegenerative disorders. Several bio-based innovations were advanced to improve both L-DOPA and phenolic bioactives in food plants such as fava beans for their potential integration in dietary and therapeutic strategies against Parkinson’s disease. The aim of this chapter is to discuss the current advancements of such novel bio-based strategies to enhance L-DOPA and phenolic bioactives in food plants, mostly in legumes, in order to integrate them in safe and cost-effective therapeutic approaches as part of an overall Parkinson’s disease treatment strategy.