Venket Rao

Venket Rao MSc, PhD
Professor Emeritus
Department of Nutritional Sciences
A. Venket Rao
Contact Info
T: (416) 978-5425
F: (416) 978-5882
Medical Sciences Building, 5th Floor, Room 5253A
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON, M5S 1A8
Not accepting new students
1966 PhD, Food Sciences, Oregon State University, U.S.A.
1963 MSc, Food Sciences, Oregon State University, U.S.A.
1962 MSc, Horticulture, University of Minnesota, U.S.A.
1956 BSc, Agriculture, Osmania University, India.


Research Synopsis

The main focus of my research over the past 45 years has been to study the role of diet and dietary constituents on human health with particular emphasis on phytochemicals and intestinal microorganisms. Specific areas of my research include: (a)  Role of oxidative stress and antioxidants in the causation, prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. On going research in this area relates to the absorption, metabolism and bioactivity of lycopene, a fat soluble carotenoid antioxidant present in tomatoes and other plant foods. More recently, in collaborative research, we have been undertaking clinical investigations to study the role of both carotenoids and polyphenols in osteoporosis(b) Prebiotics and probiotics in human health. Of particular interest in the area of prebiotics are the novel sugars such as fructooligosachharides (FOS) and their ability to stimulate the growth of probiotic bacteria. In the area of probiotics, I have been studying the role of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus to influence gasatrointestinal microflora and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. More recently, I have been working with international companies to develop stable strains of probiotics for animal and human applications (c) Biotechnological processes such as microencapsulation and surface coatings in the production of stable nutraceuticals having enhanced release and bioavailability characteristics.

Publications and Awards

View PubMed search of this faculty member's recent publications.

Recent Publications

Rao V, Balachandran B, Shen H, Logan A, Rao L. 2011. In vitro and in vivo antioxidant properties of the plant-based supplement greens+TM. . International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Accepted for publication.

Rao AV, Snyder DM. 2010. Raspberries and human health: A review. J. Agric. Food Chem. 58:3871-3883.

Mackinnon ES, Rao AV, Josse RG, Rao LG. 2010. Supplementation with the antioxidant lycopene significantly decreases oxidative stress parameters and the bone resorption marker N-telopeptide of type I collagen in postmenopausal women. Osteoporosis International (In press).

Mackinnon ES,  Rao AV,  Rao LG. 2010. Dietary restriction of lycopene for a period of one month results in significant increases in biomarkers of oxidative stress and bone resorption in postmenopausal women. Accepted for publication with revisions in J Nutr., Health & Aging: February 2010. Resubmitted March 2010. Accepted April 2010. (In press).

Mackinnon ES, El-Sohemy A,  Rao AV,  Rao LG. 210. Paraoxonase 1 polymorphisms 172T®A and 584A®G modify the association between serum concentrations of the antioxidant lycopene and bone turnover markers and oxidative stress parameters in women 25-70 years of age. Accepted for publication in J. Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics: (In press).

Mackinnon ES, Rao AV, Rao LG. 2009. Lycopene intake by Canadian women is variable, similar among different ages, but greater than that reported for women in other countrie. Journal of Medicinal Foods 12:829-835.

Dillingham B, Rao AV. 2009. Biologically active lycopene in human health. Int J Jaturopathic Medicine 4(1): 24-26.

Ranganathan N, Friedman EA, Tam P, Rao AV, Ranganathan P, Dheer R. 2009. Probiotic dietary supplementation in patients with stage 3 and 4 chronic kidney diseases: a 6-month pilot scale trial in Canada. Current Medical Research and Opinions 25:1919-1930.

Rao AV, Bested A, Beauline TM, Katzman MA, Logan AC. 2009. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of a probiotic in emotional symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Gut Pathogens 1:6.

Al-Weshahy  A, Venket Rao  A. 2009.  Isolation and characterization of functional components from peel samples of six potatoes varieties growing in Ontario. Food Res. Int. 2009, 42, (8), 1062-1066.

Al-Weshahy A, Rao AV. 2008. Potato peel as a functional ingredient:Polyphenolic content and antioxidant potential. In 5th International Meeting: Advances in antioxidants (trace elements, vitamins and polyphenols): molecular mechanisms, nutritional and clinical aspects.  Kerkeni, A., Ed. Monastir-Sousse,Tunisia.

Kotsopoulos J, Shen H, Rao AV, Poll A, Ainsworth P, Fleshner N, and Narod SA. 2008. A BRCA1 mutation is not associated with increased indicators of oxidative stress. Clinical Breast Cancer 8(6):506-510.

Berardi JM, Logan AC, and Rao AV. 2008. Plant based dietary supplement increases urinary pH. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 5:20.

Rao LG, Balachandran B, Rao AV. 2008. Polyphenol Extract of greens +TM Nutritional supplement stimulates bone formation in cultures of human osteoblast-like SaOS-2 cells. Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy 5(3):264-282.

Rao AV, Rao LG. 2007. Carotenoids and human health. Pharmaceutical Research. 55:208-216.

Rao LG, Mackinnon ES, Josse RG, Murray TM, Strauss A, Rao AV. 2007. Lycopene consumption decreases oxidative stress and bone resorption markers in postmenopausal women. Osteoporosis International. 18:109-115.

Rao AV, Ray MR, Rao LG. 2006. Lycopene. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research.Volume 51: 99-164.


Phytochemicals: Isolation, Charecterization and bBiological Activity – A Global Perspective. Book 1. A. V. Rao Editor. In Tech Open Access Publisher.  University Campus STeP Ri, Slavka Krautzeka 83/A, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia (In press. To be released in February 2012).

Phytochemicals: Isolation, Charecterization and bBiological Activity – A Global Perspective. Book 1. A. V. Rao Editor. In Tech Open Access Publisher.  University Campus STeP Ri, Slavka Krautzeka 83/A, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia (Review of chapters complete. To be released in  2012).

Lycopene: Key Phytochemical in Human Helath. A. V. Rao  & L. G. Rao Editors. CRC Press. Taylor and Francis (In process}

Book Chapters:

Rao LG, Kang N. DeAsis K, Rao AV. Polyphenol antioxidants and bone health. In:
Phytochemicals: Isolation, Charecterization and bBiological Activity – A Global Perspective. Book 1.  In Tech Open Access Publisher. 2012 (Scheduled publication date.

Al-Weshahy A,  Rao AV. Potato peel polyphenols: Isolation, identification and biological activity.  In: Phytochemicals: Isolation, Characterization and Biological Activity – A Global Perspective. Book 2. In Tech Open Access Publisher. 2012 (Scheduled publication date).

Rao AV, Al-Weshahy A. 2010. Functional Foods and Men’s Health. In: Functional foods of the East. Eds.Shi J, Ho C-T, Shahidi F. CRC Press. Taylor and Francis. 2010.

Rao AV, Al-Weshahy A. 2008. Plant-based diets and control of lipids and coronary heart disease risk. Curr. Atheroscler. Rep. 10, (6), 478-485.