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Title:
FUNCTIONAL BEVERAGE COMPRISING COLLAGEN
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/080442
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a beverage or functional beverage in a convenient ready to drink format, comprising collagen and other beneficial ingredients, including at least one polyphenol component comprising one or more proanthocyanidins, wherein the combination of collagen and the polyphenol component promotes higher absorption and bioavailability of the collagen in the body upon consumption. A preferred beverage of the invention comprises hydrolysed marine collagen and pine bark extract. Other health promoting ingredients, including vitamin C, and other vitamins and minerals may also be included.

Inventors:
TAYLOR, Aaron Henry (Freemans BayAuckland, 1011, NZ)
MORTON, Kathryn Leventry (Apt # 1224Austin, Texas, US)
Application Number:
NZ2020/050131
Publication Date:
April 29, 2021
Filing Date:
October 20, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
NO UGLY LTD (Freemans BayAuckland, 1101, NZ)
International Classes:
A23L2/00; A23L2/66
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
PIPERS (Imagetext House3 Owens Road,Epso, Auckland 1023, NZ)
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Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A beverage comprising at least one type of collagen and at least one polyphenol component comprising one or more proanthocyanidins, wherein the combination of collagen and the polyphenol component promotes higher absorption and bioavailability of the collagen.

2. The beverage as claimed in claim 1, wherein the polyphenol component comprises at least 50% proanthocyanidins.

3. The beverage as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the polyphenol component comprises pine bark extract.

4. The beverage as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the collagen has a molecular weight of between about 500 to 20000 Da.

5. The beverage as claimed in claim 4, wherein the collagen is hydrolysed marine collagen.

6. The beverage as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the collagen is present in the beverage in an amount of between about 2 - 5% w/v.

7. The beverage as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the polyphenol component is present in the beverage in an amount of between about 0.01 - 0.05% w/v.

8. The beverage as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the weight ratio of the polyphenol component to the collagen in the beverage composition is between about 1:40 and 1:500.

9. The beverage as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the beverage has a water base or a carbonated water base.

10. The beverage as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the beverage comprises one or more further ingredients selected from the group comprising vitamins, minerals, mineral salts and electrolytes.

11. The beverage as claimed in claim 10, wherein the beverage comprises Vitamin C.

12. The beverage as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the beverage comprises one or more further ingredients selected from the group comprising flavouring agents, fruit juice, fruit juice concentrate, colourants, sweeteners including natural or artificial sweeteners, food additives including acidulants, preservatives, emulsifiers, carbonation components, stabilisers.

13. The beverage as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the beverage is a functional beverage formulated to provide an efficacious daily dose of collagen.

14. The beverage as claimed in claim 13, wherein the functional beverage is formulated to promote skin health, including promoting skin strength, stability, hydration, healing, smoothness, resistance to free radical damage, resistance to UV radiation, reducing inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, preventing skin sagging, and reducing scarring.

15. The beverage as claimed in any one of the previous claims, wherein the beverage comprises about 4% w/v hydrolysed marine collagen, about 0.02% w/v pine bark extract, and about 0.9% w/v Vitamin C in a carbonated water base.

16. The beverage as claimed in claim 15, wherein the beverages comprises less than 2.5% w/v sugar.

Description:
Functional Beverage comprising Collagen

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to beverages, particularly functional beverages, comprising collagen and other beneficial ingredients in a convenient ready to drink format.

BACKGROUND

Collagen is the most abundant protein found in mammals, being the main component of connective tissue. There are several types of collagen, the main ones being type I, II and III. Type II collagen is found mainly in joint cartilage, while types I and III are common in skin, hair, nails and organs. Type I collagen is the most abundant collagen and is expressed in virtually all connective tissues. It is the major structural protein of bone, skin, tendon, ligament, sclera, cornea and blood vessels (K. Henriksen, M.A. Karsdal, in Biochemistry of Collagens, Laminins and Elastin (Second Edition), 2019).

Collagen becomes depleted with age, which contributes to the development of age-related skin and health issues including dry skin, fine lines, wrinkles, saggy skin, joint and bone problems and other connective tissue concerns. Because of this, collagen dietary supplements, topical cosmetic products, and other collagen treatments are growing increasingly popular as a way to restore the body’s collagen levels and improve skin health and appearance, as well as bone and joint health. As a consequence, research relating to the health benefits of various types of collagen has increased significantly over the last decade.

Some studies have shown that some collagen supplements may contribute to skin health, by improving the structure, strength and stability of the dermal layers, providing anti wrinkle and skin- smoothing effects, contributing to hydration levels of the skin, and assisting in reducing scarring. Other studies have also shown that collagen may improve the health of bones, tendons, ligaments, and joints. However, there is still a lack of conclusive research or evidence of the efficacy of collagen supplements. Despite the lack of conclusive research, it is widely believed that if collagen peptides are able to reach the intestine without being broken down or degraded, they will be absorbed into the bloodstream, and may work by stimulating skin fibroblasts to increase collagen production (fibroblasts are cells found in connective tissue that produce collagen and other structural support molecules that help maintain the shape and form of tissues).

Collagen supplements in the form of oral capsules and powders are widely commercially available, as are topical formulations such as creams, dressings and fillers. However, it is now generally accepted that collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed into the skin so topical collagen preparations are less popular. Consequently, the last decade has seen an increasing number of studies on the effects of oral collagen supplements, namely powdered collagen supplements.

Collagen powder supplements are intended to be mixed with water or another beverage or food before consumption. While some studies report improvements in skin hydration, elasticity and other measures, by daily consumption of such powders, there are mixed reviews as to whether oral collagen supplements are in fact effective in providing health benefits such as improved skin health and anti-aging benefits. This is because it is highly unlikely that the collagen in the product is actually absorbed into the bloodstream as collagen. Most likely the collagen is broken down or degraded by digestive processes into amino acids and absorbed in that form, not as collagen, thereby negating any beneficial effects attributable to collagen itself. Furthermore, consuming powdered collagen supplements is time consuming and inconvenient since the powdered product needs to be mixed with water, another beverage or food prior to consumption. In addition to that, some collagen, particularly marine collagen, has an unpleasant taste and/or odour and is therefore unpalatable or unappealing to consume. This problem is even more pronounced with hydrolysed collagen powders which are generally very bitter tasting and malodourous.

As such, it is difficult to formulate collagen into a liquid or ready to drink beverage due to the unpleasant taste and odour of collagen, and also the inherent instability of collagen and subsequent low bioavailability of collagen after ingestion. It is therefore necessary for the beverage to contain means for stabilizing or protecting the collagen in the beverage if it is to be absorbed by the body and have any beneficial effect. It is also necessary for the beverage to be palatable and pleasant tasting so it is able to be easily and readily consumed.

Some of these issues have been addressed in the prior art, for example, in JP2019010087, a collagen containing tea-based beverage is described wherein an organic acid is added to prevent turbidity and precipitation due to the collagen; in JP2015126699 melibiose and an edible acid are used to stabilize the collagen, namely by suppressing the browning due to the Mallard reaction which causes changes in taste, flavour, colour, tone and quality of the beverage; in JP2012019764 the unpleasant taste and smell of collagen is masked by adding indigestible dextrin; in CN105285645 a collagen vinegar beverage is described in which the vinegar is thought to promote the absorption of collagen, and a generic stabiliser is used.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an improved beverage comprising collagen, in a convenient ready to drink and palatable format, that promotes higher absorption and bioavailability of the collagen on consumption, or at the very least provides the public with a useful choice.

STATEMENTS OF THE INVENTION

According to a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a beverage comprising at least one type of collagen and at least one polyphenol component comprising one or more proanthocyanidins, wherein the combination of collagen and the polyphenol component promotes higher absorption and bioavailability of the collagen.

Preferably the beverage is a functional beverage.

Preferably, the polyphenol component comprises at least 50% proanthocyanidins. More preferably, the polyphenol component comprises at least 75% proanthocyanidins.

Preferably, the polyphenol component is an extract from bark. More preferably, the polyphenol component is an extract from pine bark. The pine bark extract is preferably from the species Pinus Radiata. However, other species of pine bark including maritime pine bark {Pinus Pinaster) may also be used. Preferably, the collagen is hydrolysed collagen. Preferably the collagen has a molecular weight of between about 500 to 20000 Da.

Preferably the collagen is hydrolysed marine collagen. More preferably the collagen is hydrolysed collagen derived from fish and/or fish skins having an average molecular weight of about 2000 Da.

Preferably the collagen is present in the beverage in an amount of between about 2 - 5% w/v.

Preferably, the collagen is present in the beverage in an amount of between about 20 g/L to about 50 g/L. More preferably, the collagen is present in the beverage in an amount of between about 21.5 g/L to about 43.5 g/L.

In a preferred embodiment, the polyphenol component is present in the beverage in an amount of between about 0.01 - 0.05% w/v.

More preferably the polyphenol component is present in an amount of between about 0.015% - 0.03% w/v. For example, a beverage of the invention may comprise between about 0.1 g/L to about 0.5 g/L or between about 0.2 g/L to about 0.3 g/L of pine bark extract.

Preferably the weight ratio of the polyphenol component to the collagen in the beverage composition is between about 1:40 and 1:500. More preferably the weight ratio of the polyphenol component to the collagen is between about 1:72 and 1:290. Most preferably the weight ratio is between about 1:65 and 1:250.

It is believed that the combination of the collagen and pine bark extract allows the collagen to be assimilated at a higher level through the intestinal barrier, into the bloodstream and subsequently distributed throughout the body. This enhances collagen synthesis in the joint tissues, bones, skin and many other essential body systems. Therefore, the invention provides for improved absorption and bioavailability of collagen.

Preferably the collagen and polyphenol components are formulated with a liquid or fluid diluent, most preferably water. Preferably the liquid or fluid content of the beverage is at least 75%, more preferably at least about 85% of the total weight of the composition. The beverage preferably contains additional components to enhance the palatability, consumer acceptability, and potential health benefits of the beverage.

Preferably the beverage comprises several vitamins, minerals and electrolytes selected from the group comprising B vitamins, vitamin E and vitamin C, sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium and phosphate.

In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the beverage comprises about 4% w/v of hydrolysed marine collagen, about 0.02% pine bark extract, and about 0.9% Vitamin C in a carbonated water base.

The beverage or functional beverage of the invention may also contain other components which have a beneficial effect on the skin or appearance or other health promoting properties. Some non-limiting examples include antioxidants, amino acids, trace elements, hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, beneficial oils, beneficial carbohydrates, prebiotic and/or probiotic components.

The beverage preferably further comprises one or more ingredients selected from flavouring agents, colourants, sweeteners and food additives.

In a preferred embodiment, the beverage further comprises one or more natural or artificial sweeteners, some non-limiting examples include Stevia compounds, sucralose, sucrose, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, fructose, glucose, maltodextrin, resistant maltodextrin or dextrin, erythritol, palm sugar, date sugar, coconut sugar, honey, agave nectar etc.

In a preferred embodiment, the beverage further comprises flavouring components such as fruit juice and/or fruit juice concentrate.

The beverage may further comprise food additives including acidulants, preservatives, emulsifiers, carbonation components, stabilisers and the like.

Preferably the functional beverage is provided in a formulation which is intended to be consumed daily to provide an acceptable and efficacious daily dose of collagen, for example, in a beverage of about 100 - 500 ml. Preferably, the functional beverage is formulated to promote skin health, including promoting skin strength, stability, hydration, healing, smoothness, resistance to free radical damage, resistance to UV radiation, reducing inflammation, reducing oxidative stress, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, preventing skin sagging and reducing scarring.

Preferably, the functional beverage is formulated to promote health of bones, tendons, ligaments, and / or joints.

The functional beverage may also have additional benefits attributable to the polyphenol component and other components included in the beverage, including Vitamin C, which is preferably included to further enhance the beneficial effects of the beverage on collagen production.

DESCRIPTION

Further aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from the following description which is given by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying examples.

The present invention relates to a beverage, preferably a functional beverage, comprising collagen in a convenient ready to drink format, so that when the beverage is consumed the collagen is readily absorbed by the body and has increased bioavailability. The inventors have surprisingly found that by formulating collagen into a beverage with a polyphenol component comprising proanthocyanidins, particularly, pine bark extract, the polyphenol component has a stabilising effect on the collagen. The collagen in the beverage is not so readily broken down or degraded after consumption and is therefore able to be absorbed by the body and has increased bioavailability.

The collagen used in the present invention can be derived from animal or marine sources. The preferred collagen for use in the invention is hydrolysed collagen which has a lower molecular weight and size, which also contributes to more efficient absorption into the body. Hydrolysed collagen with a molecular weight between about 500 to 20000 Da is preferred. Marine collagen is also a preferred collagen for use in the invention as it is relatively rich in Type 1 collagen. A particularly preferred type of marine collagen for use in the invention is collagen derived from fish or fish skins, that has been hydrolysed by protease enzymes and has an average molecular weight of about 2000 Da.

The collagen is preferably present in the beverage in an amount of between about 2 - 5% w/v. For example, it may be present in the beverage in an amount of about 20 g/L to about 50 g/L. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, 10,000 mg of hydrolysed marine collagen is included in a 250 ml beverage. It has been found that this amount of collagen in the beverage is desired to provide an optimal amount of collagen but also to avoid problems such as increased viscosity of the beverage, or unpalatability issues due to unpleasant taste and/or smell.

Polyphenols are a large class of compounds found in virtually all families of plants. They are compounds having a plurality of phenolic hydroxyl groups in the molecule. Polyphenols are roughly classified into monomeric polyphenols (e.g. anthcocyanins, isoflavones, catechins etc), flavonoids, phenylpropanoids such as caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and sesamine, and polymeric polyphenols obtained by polymerizing monomeric polyphenols. The latter polymers include proanthocyanidins and condensed tannins, and hydrolyzable tannins.

The most abundant polyphenols are tannins which include the condensed tannins. Condensed tannins, including proanthocyanidins, polyflavonoid tannins, catechol-type tannins, pyrocatecollic type tannins, non-hydrolyzable tannins and flavolans, are polymers formed by the condensation of flavans. They do not contain sugar residues.

In the present invention, the polyphenol component preferably comprises proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins represent a group of condensed flavan-3-ols, including procyanidins, prodelphinidins, propelargonidins, catechins, epicatecliins, gallocatechins and epigallocatechins, that can be found in many plants, for example, apples, pine bark, cinnamon, cocoa beans, grape seed and grape skin. In the present invention the polyphenol component is preferably a bark-derived polyphenol.

In preferred embodiments of the invention, the polyphenol component is a pine bark extract. It has been found that an extract derived from the bark of Finns radiata is particularly suitable for use in the invention, as it has a high concentration of proanthocyanidins (over 80%). One such example is a New Zealand product commercially available under the brand name Enzogenol. However, other sources of polyphenol may equally be suited for use with the present invention, particularly other types of pine bark extract, even those with lower concentrations of proanthocyanidins, such as Pycnogenol.

Pine bark extract is itself believed to have a range of health-promoting properties, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, improving the health and condition of skin by boosting the skin’s free radical defence capability, stimulating skin cell growth as well as collagen production, protecting against UV radiation, and decreasing oxidative stress. It is also believed to improve circulation and support healthy brain function and mood.

Without being bound by theory, the inventors believe that in the present invention, the polyphenol component, i.e. the pine bark extract, when combined in the beverage with collagen, provides a synergistic effect in promoting higher absorption and bioavailability of the collagen. It is believed that the polyphenol component comprising one or more proanthocyanidins, binds to, and stabilises the collagen, protecting it from being broken down by digestive processes into amino acids. Ultimately this means that the collagen is able to be absorbed by the body and the health-promoting benefits of the collagen are able to be more effectively delivered to the body. That is, the combination of the collagen and pine bark extract allows the collagen to be assimilated at a higher level through the intestinal barrier, into the bloodstream and subsequently distributed throughout the body. This enhances collagen synthesis in the joint tissues, bones, skin and many other essential body systems.

In a preferred embodiment, the pine bark extract is present in the beverage in an amount of between about 0.01 - 0.05% w/v. More preferably it is present in an amount of between about 0.015% - 0.03% w/v. For example, a functional beverage of the invention may comprise between about 0.1 g/L to about 0.5 g/L or between about 0.2 g/L to about 0.3 g/L of pine bark extract. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, 50 mg of pine bark extract is included in a 250 ml beverage.

The indicative weight ratio of the polyphenol component to the collagen in the beverage composition is preferably between about 1:40 and 1:500. More preferably the weight ratio of the polyphenol component to the collagen is between about 1:72 and 1:290. Most preferably the weight ratio is between about 1:65 and 1:250. In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the ratio of the polyphenol component to the collagen component is 1:200.

In order to provide the convenient ready to drink functional beverage of the invention, the collagen and polyphenol components are formulated with a liquid or fluid diluent, most preferably water or carbonated water. However, other liquids such as juice, milk, cold coffee or tea etc could be used. The liquid or fluid content of the beverage is preferably at least 75%, more preferably at least about 85% of the total weight of the composition.

The functional beverage of the invention preferably contains additional components to enhance the palatability, consumer acceptability, and potential health benefits of the beverage. For example, a preferred embodiment of the invention further comprises several vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. B vitamins (which are believed to have beneficial effects on the health and condition of skin), vitamin E and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) are preferably included in the beverage formulation. Vitamin C is a particularly preferred ingredient since it has many beneficial health effects, including aiding in the natural production of collagen in skin. Alternative or additional vitamins could also be included in the beverage. Minerals and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium and phosphate, may also be included.

The functional beverage of the invention may also contain other components which have a beneficial effect on the skin or appearance or other health promoting properties. Some non limiting examples include antioxidants, amino acids, trace elements, hyaluronic acid, glucosamine, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, beneficial oils, beneficial carbohydrates, prebio tic and/or probiotic components.

The beverage preferably further comprises one or more ingredients selected from flavouring agents, colourants, sweeteners and food additives.

In a preferred embodiment, the beverage further comprises one or more natural or artificial sweeteners, some non-limiting examples include Stevia compounds, sucralose, sucrose, sorbitol, xylitol, lactitol, fructose, glucose, maltodextrin, resistant maltodextrin or dextrin, erythritol, palm sugar, date sugar, coconut sugar, honey, agave nectar etc. Given the health promoting properties of the beverage, preferred embodiments of the invention comprise a relatively low amount of total sugars, preferably less than 2.5g/100ml.

In a preferred embodiment, the beverage further comprises flavouring components such as fruit juice and/or fruit juice concentrate to improve the taste and palatability of the beverage. A particularly preferred flavour is pineapple; however, the skilled person will appreciate that there are many different possible flavour options.

The sweeteners and flavourings assist to ameliorate the ordinarily unpleasant collagen taste and/or smell. Obviously, their amounts in the beverage can be varied to suit. The polyphenol component in the beverage also contributes to improving or masking the taste and/or smell of the collagen in the beverage.

The beverage may further comprise food additives including acidulants, preservatives, emulsifiers, carbonation components, stabilisers and the like.

The beverage of the invention can be prepared by conventional methods. For example, the ingredients are weighed according to the recipe and blended with the liquid carrier prior to being packaged. In preferred embodiments of the invention, the beverage is carbonated to achieve a slightly effervescent beverage.

The functional beverage can be suitably packaged to provide for a daily dose of collagen, for example, as a beverage with a volume of about 100 - 500 ml. The functional beverage can be consumed daily to provide skin health benefits such as hydration, nourishment, and anti-aging properties such as reduction of fine lines and wrinkles and improved skin firmness and/or elasticity, as well as reduced scarring. The functional beverage may also provide other health benefits such as improved nail condition, hair condition and improvements relating to joint, ligament and bone health. Other health promoting benefits attributable to the polyphenol component, and other beneficial components present in the functional beverage may also be provided.

EXAMPLES

The invention will now be described further with reference to the following specific but non-limiting examples. Example 1

A pineapple flavoured beverage is prepared by combining the following components in a conventional manner, and then carbonating the beverage. Example 2

As with Example 1, a 1000 ml batch of the beverage was prepared according to the method described in Example 1, but comprising less collagen.

Example 3

A 250 ml serving of pineapple flavoured beverage comprises the following ingredients: carbonated water, marine collagen protein (4%), fruit juice concentrate (pineapple (1.5%), lemon), dietary fibre (Fibersol-2™), sweeteners (erythritol, stevia), mineral salts (potassium phosphate, calcium lactate, potassium citrate, magnesium sulphate, sodium chloride), coconut sugar, acids (citric acid, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) (0.009%)), natural flavours, vitamins (B3, B5, E, B2, B6, Bl, B12), pine bark extract (Enzogenol) (0.02% flavonoids), preservative (potassium sorbate). The nutritional profile of this beverage is as follows:

ENERGY - 312 kJ (74.6 Cal) PROTEIN - total 10.5 g (marine collagen 10 g or 10,000 mg) FAT - total 0 g

CARBOHYDRATE - 7.7 g (sugars 3.4 g)

DIETARY FIBRE - 3.5 g SODIUM - 132 mg POTASSIUM - 500 mg VITAMIN C - 22.5 mg THIAMIN B1 - 0.3 mg RIBOFLAVIN B2 - 0.4 mg NIACIN B3 - 2.6 mg VITAMIN B5 - 1.3 mg VITAMIN B6 - 0.4 mg VITAMIN B 12 - 0.5 meg CALCIUM - 140 mg PHOSPHORUS - 140 mg

FLAVONOIDS (Pine Bark Extract) - Enzogenol 50 mg

Efficacy Studies

Informal product trials were carried out on human subjects willing to consume the beverage of the invention daily for a period of eight weeks. After eight weeks, anecdotal feedback was collected from the subjects. The feedback was very positive, with the majority of subjects noticing improvements in the overall condition of their skin, including increased firmness of the skin, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, an increase in skin radiance and generally improved complexion. One participant who had recurring shingles on her back for many years, noticed a significant improvement in her symptoms (less recurrence and no nerve pain) as well as fading of the scars, after only three weeks of consuming the beverage. ADVANTAGES

The present invention provides a number of advantages, including:

• Providing a functional beverage that provides for increased absorption and bioavailability of collagen in the body thereby promoting the beneficial effects of collagen including improved skin health and anti-aging benefits;

• Providing a functional beverage that not only delivers the health-promoting benefits of collagen, but also the health-promoting benefits of the polyphenol component such as pine bark extract;

• Providing a functional beverage having a pleasant taste and / or free from the ordinarily unpleasant taste and smell of collagen;

• Providing a functional beverage that is convenient and in a ready to drink format which is designed to provide an effective daily dose of collagen;

• Providing a functional beverage that is low in sugar and is made with natural ingredients, and other health promoting ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, electrolytes etc.

• Providing a functional beverage including a good daily dose of Vitamin C which further enhances natural production of collagen in the body.

It will of course be realized that while the foregoing has been given by way of illustrative example of this invention, all such and other modifications and variations thereto as would be apparent to persons skilled in the art are deemed to fall within the broad scope and ambit of this invention as is hereinbefore described.

It is acknowledged that the term ‘comprise’ may, under varying jurisdictions, be attributed with either an exclusive or an inclusive meaning. For the purpose of this specification, and unless otherwise noted, the term ‘comprise’ shall have an inclusive meaning - i.e. it will be taken to mean an inclusion of not only the listed components it directly references, but also other non-specified components or elements. This rationale will also be used when the term ‘comprised’ or 'comprising' is used in relation to one or more steps in a method or process. All references cited in this specification, including any patent or patent application, or any document, act, or item of knowledge, are hereby incorporated by reference. The discussion of these references states what their authors (or proponents) assert. No admission is made that any reference constitutes valid prior art; neither is any admission made as to the accuracy or pertinency of any reference. All rights to challenge the accuracy, pertinency and/or validity as prior art of any reference are hereby reserved.




 
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