Associate Dean, Research
Professor, Food Science
phone: 6048225560
fax: 6048225143
FNH 243
East Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4
Research Interests:


University of California, Davis, 1983, PostDoc, Animal Physiology
University of British Columbia, 1981, Ph.D, Animal Physiology
University of British Columbia, 1976, M.Sc, Animal Physiology
University of British Columbia, 1974, B.Sc, Animal Science


My research discipline is Food Chemistry and Toxicology. I employ many aspects of food chemistry principles to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of both nutrient and food toxicant action in living organisms. Recently, my laboratory has focused on characterizing the mechanisms of antioxidant and prooxidant activity for many naturally occurring animal and plant constituents, in addition to derived products from food processing. Moreover, we have focused also on the interaction between food constituents and transition metals in modulating generation of free radical and peroxidation reactions that can alter stability of lipids in both food materials as well as biological membranes.

Research Projects

Antioxidant and metal sequestering activity of Maillard Reaction products

Funded by NSERC

Bioactivity components in mother’s milk

Funded by AFMnet

Functional and health properties of cranberry

Funded by UBC Trust

Chemical methods of stabilizing oils using phytochemicals

Funded by IRAP and Industry partners

Mixed tocopherol preparations and presence of phytonutrients will influence vitamin E bioavailability and antioxidant function in intestinal cell lines

Funded by FNH-VCL

Stress related induction of resveratrol in grapes and mechanism of action

Funded by NCE-Agr.Canada


  • Food Chemistry (FNH 301) undergraduate course.
  • Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals (FNH 402) undergraduate course
  • Food Science Capstone (FNH 425)-undergraduate course
  • Food Science Undergraduate Thesis (FNH 499)
  • Food Toxicology and Risk Assessment (Food 525) graduate course

Selected Publications

Journal Articles


Chen, X. and Kitts, D.D. 2017. Flavonoid composition of orange peel extract ameliorates alcohol-induced tight junction dysfunction in Caco-2 monolayer. Food and Chemical Toxicology. (in press).

Lacroix, I., Chen, X., Kitts, D.D. and Li-Chan. E. 2017.  Investigation into the bioavailability of milk protein-derived peptides with dipeptidyl-peptidase IV inhibitory activity using Caco-2 cell monolayers.  Food and Function (in press)

Chen, X., Tait, A.R., and Kitts, D.D. 2017.  Flavonoid composition of orange peel and its association with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.  Food Chemistry. 218: 15-21. 

Whitfield, K.C., Karakochuk, D., Kroen, H., Sokhoing, L. Chan, B.B., Borath, M., Sophonneary, P., Moore., Tong, J.K., McLean, J., Talukder, A., Lynd, L.D., Li-Chan, E., Kitts, D.D., and Green, T.J. 2017.  Household consumption of thiamin- fortified fish sauce increases erythrocyte thiamin concentrations among rural Cambodian women and their children under 5 years:  a randomized controlled efficacy trial.  Journal of Pediatrics. 187: 242-247.


Chen, X., Dai, Y. and Kitts, D.D. 2016.  Recovery of Maillard Reaction Product ([5-5,6-Dihydro-4H-pyridin-3-ylidenemethyl)furan-2-yl]- methanol from breads and demonstration of bioavailability in Caco-2 intestinal cells. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. 64: 9072-9077.

Liang, N., Lu, X., Hu, Y., Kitts, D.D. 2016.  Application of attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy to determine chlorogenic acid isoform profile and antioxidant capacity of coffee beans. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 64  (3):681-689.

Mu, K., Wang, S. and Kitts, D.D. 2016. Evidence to indicate that Maillard Reaction Products can provide selective antimicrobial activity.  Integrative Food, Nutrition and Metabolism. 3, (4) 330-335.

Liang, N. and Kitts. D.D. 2016. Role of chlorogenic acids in controlling oxidative and inflammatory stress.  Nutrients. 8 (1) . doi. 10.3390/nu8010016  

Liang, N., Xue, W., Kennepohl P. and Kitts, D.D. 2016.  Interactions between major chlorogenic acid isomers and chemical changes in coffee brew that affect antioxidant status.  Food Chemistry. 213: 251-259.

Soro, L,C., Poucheret, P., Munier S., Grosmaire L.,Yada, R., Kitts, D.D., Atchibri, Ocho-Anin, A.L., Guzman, C., Boudard, F., Menut, C., and Pélissier, Y. Influence of geography, season and pedology on chemical composition and anti-inflammatory activities of essential oils from Lippia multiflora Mold leaves. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 194: 587-594. 254.

Cheong, M., Xiao, H.Y., Tay, V., Karakochuk, C.D., Liui, Y., Kitts, D.D., Houghton, L.A and Green, T.J. 2016. Folic acid fortified milk increases blood folate to concentrations associated with a very low risk of neural tube defects in Singaporean women of childbearing age. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical  Nutrition. 25: 62-70.

Craig, A-P, Fields, C. Liang, N. Kitts, D.D. and  Erickson A. 2016. Performance review of a fast HPLC-UV method for the quantification of chlorogenic acids in green coffee bean extracts. Talanta. 154 481-485. 

Blando, F, Albano, C., Liu, Y. Nicoletti, I., Corradini, D., Tommasi, N., Gerardi, C., Mita, G and Kitts, D.D. 2016. Polyphenolic composition and  antioxidant  activity of the underutilized Prunus Mahaleb L. fruit. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 96: 2641–2649.

Liu, Y.,Walkey, C.J., Green, T.J., van Vuuren, H.J.J. and Kitts, D.D. 2016. Enhancing the natural folate level in wine using bioengineering and stabilization strategies. Food Chemistry. 194: 26-31.

Kovacevic, J.,  Ziegler, J., Walecka-Zacharska, E.,  Reimer, A., Kitts, D.D., and Gilmour, M. 2016. Listeria genomic island 1 increases Listeria monocytogenes tolerance to quaternary ammonium compounds via a novel efflux pump encoded by emrELm.  Applied Environmental Microbiology. 82: 939-953.

Hu Y., Pan Z.J., Liao W., Li J., Gruget P., Kitts D.D., and Lu X.  2016. Determination of antioxidant capacity and phenolic content of chocolate by attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transformed-infrared spectroscopy. Food Chemistry, 202: 254-261.

Liang, N., Lu, X., Hu, Y., Kitts, D.D. 2016.  Application of attenuated total reflectance-Fourier  transformed infrared spectroscopy to determine chlorogenic acid isoform profile and antioxidant capacity of coffee beans.  Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 64(3):681-9. doi: 10.1021.

Liang, N. and Kitts.D.D. 2016. Role of chlorogenic acids in controlling oxidative and inflammatory stress.  Nutrients. 8 (1) . Doi. 10.3390/nu8010016.


Chen, X., Liang N. and Kitts, D.D. 2015.  Chemical Properties and Reactive Oxygen and Nitrogen Species Quenching Activities of Dry Sugar-Amino Acid Maillard Reaction Mixtures Exposed to Baking Temperatures. Food Research International 76: 618-625.

Chen, X. and Kitts, D.D. 2015. Evidence for inhibition of nitric oxide and inducible nitric oxide synthase in Caco-2 and RAW 264.7 cells by a Maillard reaction product [5-(5,6-dihydro-4H-pyridin-3-ylidenemethyl)furan-2-yl]- methanol. Molecular, Cellular Biochemistry.406: 205-215

Elisia, I., and Kitts, D.D. 2015. Tocopherol isoforms ( α-, γ- and δ-) show distinct  capacities to control Nrf-2 and NfκB signaling pathways that modulate inflammatory response in Caco-2 intestinal cells. Molecular, Cellular Biochemistry. 404, (1-2) 123-131.

Chen, X., Chen, G., Chen, H., Zhang, Y. and Kitts D.D. 2015.   Elucidation of the chemical structure and determination of the production conditions for a bioactive Maillard reaction product, [5-(5,6-dihydro-4H-pyridin-3-ylidenemethyl)furan-2-yl]-methanol, isolated from a glucose-lysine heated mixture. Journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 63: 1739-1746.

Walkey, C.J., Kitts, D.D., Liu, Y., & van Vuuren, H.J.J. 2015. Bioengineering yeast to enhance folate levels in wine. Process Biochemistry 50: 205-210. 

Whitfield, K.C., Karakochuk,C.D., Liu, Y., McCann, A., Aminuzzaman, T.  Kroeun, H., Ward, M., McNulty, H., Lynd, L.D., Kitts, D.D.,  Li-Chan, E.Y.,  McLean, J. and Green, T. J. 2015. Poor thiamin and riboflavin status Is common among women of childbearing age in rural and urban Cambodia. Journal of Nutrition. 145(3) 628-633.

Liu, Y., Green, T.J. and Kitts, D.D. 2015.  Stability of microencapsulated L-5-methyltetrahydroflotae in fortified noodles.  Food Chemistry. 171: 206-211.


Liang, N. and Kitts, D.D. 2014.  Antioxidant property of coffee components:  Assessment of methods that define mechanism of action.  Molecules. 19: 19180-19208.

Hongu, N, Kitts, D.D., Zawistowski, J., Dossett, C., Kopec, A., Pope, B.T. and Buchowski, M.S. 2014.  Pigmented rice bran and plant sterol combination reduces serum lipids in overweight and obese adults. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 33: 231-238.

Feldman, F., Moore, C., d’Silva, L., Gaspard, G., Gustafson,  L., Singh, S., Barr, S., Kitts, D.D., Li, W., Weiler, H.A. and Green, T.J. 2014 Effectiveness and safety of a high dose weekly vitamin D (20000 IU) protocol in older adults living in residential care.  Journal American Geriatrics Society DOI 10: 1111/jgs.12927

Elisia, I. and Kitts, D.D. 2014. Differences in vitamin E and C profile between infant formula and human milk and relative susceptibility to lipid oxidation. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. 83: (5), 311-319.


Rozoy, E., Araya-Farias, M., Simard, S. Kitts, D.D. and Bazinet, L. 2013. Redox properties of catechins and enriched tea extracts effectively preserve L-5- methyltetrahydrofolate. Assessment using cyclic voltammetry analysis. Food Chemistry.  138: (2,3), 1982-1991.

Liu, Y., Green, T.J., Wong, P and Kitts, D.D. 2013. Microencapsulation of L-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid with ascorbate improves stability in baked bread products.  Journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 61: 247-254.

Elisia, I., Young, J.W., Yuan, Y. and Kitts, D.D. 2013.  Association between tocopherol isoform composition and lipid oxidation in selected multiple edible oils. Food Research International. 52: 508-514.

Kitts, D.D. and Tomiuk, S. 2013.  Studies on mitigating lipid oxidation in cream cheese product using a cranberry extract.  Agriculture 3: 236-252.

Green, T.J., Liu, Y., Dadgar, S., Li, W., Böhni, R. and Kitts, D.D. 2013.  Wheat rolls fortified with microencapsulated L-5-Methyltetrahydrofolic acid or equimolar folic acid increase blood folate concentrations to a similar extent in healthy men and women. Journal of Nutrition 143: (6): 867-871.

Elisia, I. and Kitts, D.D. 2013.  Different tocopherol isoforms vary in capacity to scavenge free radicals, prevent inflammatory response and induce apoptosis in both adult- and fetal-derived intestinal epithelial cells. Biofactors 39: 663-667

Feng, S., Gao, F., Chen, Z., Grant, E. Kitts, D.D. Wang, X and Lu, X. 2013. Determination of alpha-tocopherol in vegetable oils using molecularly-imprinted polymers-surface enhanced Raman spectroscopic biosensor. Journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry 61: 10467-10475.

Elisia, I. and Kitts, D.D. 2013 Modulation of NfkB and Nrf-2 Control of Inflammatory Reponses in FHs 74 Intestinal Cell Line is Tocopherol Isoform Specific. American Journal of Physiology. GI and Liver. 305: G940-G949


Kitts, D.D., Chen, X.M. and Broda, P. 2012. Polyaromatic hydrocarbon content of smoked cured muscle foods prepared by Canadian TL’AZT’EN and LLHEIDLI T’ ENNEH first nation communities. Journal Toxicology and Environmental Health. 75: 1249-1252.

Allen, K.J., Chen, X.M., Mesak, L. and Kitts, D.D. 2012. Antimicrobial activity of salmon extracts derived from traditional First Nation smoke processing. Journal Food Protection. 75: 1878-1882.

Liu, Y. and Kitts, D.D. 2012. Activation of antioxidant response element (ARE)-dependent genes by coffee extracts. Food and Function. 3: (9), 950-954.

Kitts, D.D., Kopec, A., Zawistowski, J. and Popovich, D. 2012. Effects of high molecular weight alcohols from sugar cane fed alone or in combination with plant sterols on lipid profile and antioxidant status of Wistar rats. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.  37: 1-10.

Liu, Y., Tomiuk, S. Rozoy, E., Bazinet, L., Green, T. and Kitts, D.D. 2012. Thermal oxidation studies on reduced folate, L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (L-5-MTHF) and strategies for stabilization using food matrices. Journal of Food Science 77: C236–C243.

Rozoy, E., Simard, S., Liu, Y., Kitts, D.D. and Bazinet, L 2012. The use of cyclic voltammetry to study the oxidation of L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate and its preservation by ascorbic acid. Food Chemistry 132: 1429-1435.

Chen, X. and Kitts, D.D. 2012. Characterization of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of bioactive fractions recovered from a glucose-lysine Maillard reaction model system. Molecular Cellular Biochemistry 364(1): 147-157.

Tomiuk, S., Liu, Y., Green, T.J. King, P.M., Finglas, P.M. and Kitts, D.D. 2012. Studies on the retention of microencapsulated L-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid in baked bread using skim milk powder. Food Chemistry 133: (2) 249-255.

Hosseini-Beheshti, E., Lund, S. and Kitts, D.D. 2012. Characterization of antioxidant capacity from fruits with distinct anthocyanin biosynthetic pathways. Journal of Nutrition and Food Science.2:122. Doi:10.4172/2155-9600.1000122.

Kitts, D.D., Chen, X. and Jing, H. 2012. Demonstration of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory bioactivity from sugar-amino acid Maillard reaction products. Journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry Mar 7. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:22364122.


Liu, Y. and Kitts. D.D. 2011. Confirmation that the Maillard reaction is the principle contributor to the antioxidant capacity of coffee brews. Food Research International. 44:2418-2424.

Sahib, N.G., Hamid, A.A., Kitts, D.D., Purnama, M., Saari, N. and Abas, F. 2011. The effects of Morinda Citrifolia, Momordca Charantia and Centella Asiatica extracts on lipoprotein lipase and 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes. Journal of Food Biochemistry 35 (4) 1186-1205.

Elisia, I. and Kitts. D.D. 2011. Quantitation of hexanal as an index of lipid oxidation in human milk and association with antioxidant components. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. 49: (3) 147-152.

Chen X. and Kitts, D.D. 2011. Correlating changes that occur in chemical properties with the generation of antioxidant capacity in different sugar-amino acid Mallard reaction models. Journal of Food Science. 76: C831-C837.

Chen, X. and Kitts. D.D. 2011. Identification and quantification of alpha-dicarbonyl compounds produced in different sugar amino acid Maillard reaction model systems. Food Research International 44: 2775-2782.

Elisia, I., Tsopmo, A., Friel, J., Diehl-Jones, W. and Kitts, D.D. 2011. Tryptophan from human milk induces oxidative stress and up-regulates the Nrf-2-mediated stress response in human intestinal cells. Journal of Nutrition. 141: 1417-1423

Chen X. and Kitts, D.D. 2011. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of Maillard reaction products isolated from sugar-amino acid model systems. Journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry 59: (20) 11294-11303.


Samaranayaka, A.G. P., Kitts, D.D. and Li-Chan, E.C.Y. 2010. Antioxidative and angiotensin-I-converting enzyme inhibitory potential of a Pacific Hake (Merluccius productus) fish protein hydrolysate subjected to simulated gastrointestinal digestion and Caco-2 cell permeation. Journal Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 58: 1535-1542.

Leusink, G.L., Kitts, D.D., Yaghmaee, P, and Durance, T.D. 2010. Retention of antioxidant capacity of vacuum microwave dried cranberry. Journal of Food Science. 75 (3): 311-316.

Chen, X. Elisia, I., and Kitts, D.D. 2010. Defining conditions for the co-culture of Caco-2 and HT29-MTX cells using Taguchi design. Journal of Pharmacological and Toxicology Methods. 61: 334-342.

Chen, X. Hu, C. Raghubeer, E. and Kitts, D.D. 2010. Effect of high pressure pasteurization on bacterial load and bioactivity of Echinacea purpurea. Journal of Food Science. 75: (7) 613-618.

Kiddy, J., Weiss, M. Kitts, D.D., Levy-Milne, R. and Wasdell, M.B. 2010. Nutritional status of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): A pilot study. International Journal of Paediatrics. 2010: Article id-767318. doi:10.1155/20/2010/767318. 7 pages.

Purnama, M., Yaghmaee, P., Durance, T.D. and Kitts, D.D. 2010. Porosity changes and retention of ginsenosides in North American ginseng root using different dehydration processes. Journal of Food Science. 75: (7) 487-492.


Elisia, I. and Kitts, D.D. 2009. The Antioxidant Potential of Parsley and its Constituents. CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources. 3: 1-14.

Yuan, Y.V., Westcott, N.D. and Kitts, D.D. 2009. Mycosporine-like amino acid composition of the edible red alga, Palmaria palmate (Dulse) harvested from the west and east coasts of Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick. Food Chemistry. 112: 321-328.

Zawistowski, J., Kopec, A. and Kitts, D.D. 2009. Effects of a black rice extract (Oryza sativa L. indica) on cholesterol levels and plasma lipid constituents in Wistar Kyoto rats. Journal of Functional Foods. 1 50-56.

Dieu Huynh, M. and Kitts, D.D. 2009. Evaluating Nutritional Quality of Pacific Fish Species From Fatty Acid Signatures. Food Chemistry. 114: 912-918.

Jing, H., Yap, M., Wong, P.Y.Y. and Kitts, D.D. 2009. Comparison of physiochemical and antioxidant properties of egg-white proteins and fructose and inulin Maillard Reaction Products. Food Bioprocess Technology DOI 10. 1007/s11947-009-0279-7, 8 pages.

Tijerina-Sáenz, A., Elisia, I., Innis, S.H., Friel, J.F. and Kitts, D.D. 2009. Use of ORAC to assess antioxidant capacity of human milk. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 22: 694-698.

Tijerina-Sáenz, A., I., Innis, S.H. and Kitts, D.D. 2009. Antioxidant Capacity of Human Milk and its Association with Vitamins A and E and Fatty Acid Composition. Acta Pediatrica 98: 1793-1798.

Tsopmo, A, Diehl-Jones, B.W.,Aluko,R., Kitts,D.D., Elisia, I. and Friel, J.F.2009. Tryptophan released from mother’s milk has antioxidant properties. Paediatric Research 66:614-618.

Hosseini-Beheshti, E., Lund, S.T. and Kitts, D.D. 2009. Comparison of antioxidant activity of two soft fruit sources with different anthocyanin composition. Acta Horticulturae. (ISHS) 841:519-522.


Chen, X.M. and Kitts, D.D. 2008. Optimizing conditions for nitric oxide production in Caco-2 cells using Taguchi and factorial experimental designs. Analytical Biochemistry 381:185-192

Elisia, I. and Kitts, D.D. 2008. Anthocyanins inhibit peroxyl radical- induced apoptosis in Caco-2 cells. Molecular Cellular Biochemistry, 312: 139-145.

Elisia, I., Popovich, D.G., Hu, C. and Kitts, D.D. 2008. Evaluation of viability assays for anthocyanins in cultured cells. Phytochemical Analysis 19: 1-9.

Chen, X.M. and Kitts, D.D. 2008. Antioxidant activity and chemical properties of crude and fractionated Maillard reaction products derived from four sugar-amino acid Maillard reaction model systems. Annals New York Academy Sciences 1126: 220-224.

Cinq-Mars, C., Hu, C., Kitts, D.D. and Li-Chan, E. 2008. Investigations into inhibitor type and mode, simulated gastrointestinal digestion and cell transport of the Angiotensin I-Converting enzyme inhibitory peptides in Pacific Hake (Merluccius productus) fillet hydrolysate. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry. 56: 410-419.

Book Chapters

Liang, N., Mu, K., and Kitts, D.D. 2017.  Beneficial health compounds found in Coffee beans. In: “Achieving sustainable cultivation of coffee.” Ed. Philippe Lashermes.  Chapter 12.  32 pages. BDS Publishing, N.Y. (in press).

Kitts, D.D. and Liu, Y. 2015. Encapsulation strategies to stabilize a natural folate, L-5- methyltetrahydrofolic acid for food fortification practices. In: Nanotechnology and Functional Foods: Effective Delivery of Bioactive Ingredients. 1st Edition, Chapter 9. Ed. Sabliov, C., Chen, H and Yada, R. Wiley-Blackwell. Publishing. N.Y. pp142-157.

Zawistowski, J. and Kitts, D.D. 2014.  Plant sterols-Functional food ingredients for cardiovascular health. In: Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems. UNESCO Eolss Publishers.  Paris France. pp 1- 30.

Kitts, D.D. and Liu, Y. 2014. Encapsulation strategies to stabilize a natural folate, L-5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid for food fortification practices. In: Nanotechnology and Functional Foods: Effective Delivery of Bioactive Ingredients. 1st Edition, Chapter 9. Ed. XX  Wiley-Blackwell. Publishing. N.Y.

Elisia, I. and Kitts. D.D. 2011. Functionality of tocopherol isomers. In. Tocopherol Sources, Uses and Health Benefits. Chapter 9. Ed. A. Catala. Nova Publishers. N.Y. 141-171.

Nakamura, S., Hata, J., Nakamura, K., Jing, H., Kitts, D.D. and Nakai, S. 2010. Site-specific glycosylation using Pichia expression system imporves structural stability and antimicrobial activity of human Cystatin C. in. Advances in Medicine and Biology. Volume 3. Chapter 10. Ed. I. V. Berhardt. Nova Science Publishers, N.Y. pp. 243-254.

Kitts, D.D. 2006. Carbohydrates and mineral metabolism. In. Functional Food Carbohydrates. Eds. Biliaderis, C.G. and Izydorczyk, M.S. CRC. Press. 413-434.

Kitts, D.D. 2005. Calcium binding proteins. In. Nutraceutical Proteins and Peptides in Health and Disease. Eds. Mine Y. and Shahidi, F. Marcel Dekker.N.Y. Chapter 2, pp. 11-27.

Kitts, D.D. 2005. Toxicity and Safety of Fats and Oils. In. Bailey’s Industrial Fats and Oils. Ed. Shahidi, F. John Wiley and Sons, Inc. NY.

Kitts, D.D. 2005. Antioxidant phytochemicals and potential synergistic activities at reducing risk of cardiovascular disease. In. Food Drug Synergy and Safety. Eds. Thompson, L. and Ward, W. CRC Press. FL. Pp. 27-62

Popovich, D.G. and Kitts, D.D. 2005. Anti-cancer activity of ginseng and soy saponins. In. Nutrition and Cancer Prevention. Eds. Awad, A.B. and Bradford, P.G. CRC Press. Lekker/Taylor & Francis. FL.Pp.457-483