Passion fruit cultivars as functional food with high neuroprotective activity

Troen Aron, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition
Tirosh Oren, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition
Samach Alon, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Plant Sciences and Genetics

Neuroprotective Efficacy of the Extract is Proven in Animal Models



Healthy Aging, Cognitive function and neuroprotection (Memory)

Development Stage

In vitro and in vivo proof of concept; ongoing research

Patent Status

US Patent application 13/807,024 - Allowed (IL, EU – pending)


Healthy Aging, Memory Problems, Dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease


  • There is an urgent need and unmet consumer demand for new safe and efficacious interventions to prevent or mitigate neurodegenerative diseases due to the increase in lifespan. In the USA alone, more than 5 million people live with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The associated costs exceed  $236 Billion.
  • There is great interest and a large market for natural products for potential prevention: The sale of dietary for "improve memory or concentration" are growing
  • Demonstrating the neuroprotective efficacy our proprietary strain of Passion fruit in a randomized,  controlled clinical trial will allow it and its bioactive components to be developed and valorized as a functional food, as a basis for nutraceutical products, and ultimately in pharmacological derivatives.

 Our Innovation

  • We developed a proprietary line of passion fruit naturally enriched with bioactive compounds and tested its neuroprotective activity vitro and in vivo.
  • The extent of apparent neuroprotection conferred by our functional passion fruit extract was similar to that conferred by an experimental anti-Alzheimer's disease drug. 
  • An extract of the new fruit prevented cultured neurons from dying after a glutamate challenge.
  • This extract preserved mitochondria and glutathione in glutamate-challenged neurons.
  • This extract reduced the death of dopamine neurons subjected to a neurotoxin (MPTP) in a mouse model of Parkinson'd disease.
  • In a rat model of natural brain-aging, rats fed the extract performed as well as younger rats on cognitive tests,  had a richer blood supply to the brain and showed evidence of reduced brain inflammation.


Key Features

  • Natural, safe, tasty and affordable
  • Provides potent neuroprotection in relevant animal models
  • Excellent agricultural and industrial properties
  • Ready for rapid market development
  • Potential for use in additional health indications 

Development Milestones

Seeking funding and industrial collaboration for clinical research to prove efficacy, isolate specific bioactives and enhance their potency, expand indications and develop relevant products.

The Opportunity

IP protected proprietary functional food targeting growing multi-million dollar global market for natural functional foods and nutraceuticals to promote cognitive and brain health

Researcher Information

Dr. Aron M. Troen, Director, Nutrition and Brain Health Laboratory, Institute of Biochemistry Food and Nutrition Science

Prof. Oren Tirosh, Head of the School of Nutrition Science, Institute of Biochemistry Food and Nutrition Science

Prof. Alon Samach, Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics

The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture Food & Environment

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot, 76100, Israel


Patent Status

Granted US 9,452,190; Europe 2585086; Israel 223920

Contact for more information:

Ariela Markel
VP, Business Development, Healthcare