Current Nutrition & Food Science (v.8, #3)

Araucaria Angustifolia: A Potential Nutraceutical with Antioxidant and Antimutagenic Activities by Fabiane Michelon, Catia S. Branco, Caroline Calloni, Ivana Giazzon, Fabiana Agostini, Patricia K.W. Spada, Mirian Salvador (155-159).
The Araucaria angustifolia (Bertolini, Otto Kuntze) tree belongs to the family Araucariaceae and is known as Brazilian pine. The female strobilus consists of seeds (the edible part of A. angustifolia) and bracts (non-developed seeds). These bracts, which represent approximately 80% of the female strobilus, have no use. It has previously been suggested that the dietary intake of antioxidants could be a useful strategy to reduce the incidence of diseases associated with oxidative stress, such as cancer, atherosclerosis and neurodegenerative disorders. This study aimed to evaluate the phenolic profile and the possible antioxidant, mutagenic and antimutagenic activities of the aqueous extract from bracts of A. angustifolia. The results showed that the extract of A. angustifolia presents important in vitro and in vivo antioxidant activity. Additionally, lower concentrations of the extract were non-mutagenic and avoided DNA damage induced by hydrogen peroxide in yeast cells. Catechin, epicatechin and rutin were the main phenolic compounds found in the extract. These results may provide new perspectives for the development of strategies with natural compounds in the nutraceutical field. In addition, the use of this waste will help maintain the environmental balance.

This paper assesses whether the elements Ca, Na, Mg, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn are present in adequate concentrations viable for human use in the two common medicinal plants Tamarindus indica L. and Hibiscus sabdiffora L. The plants were collected from markets in Aswan, Egypt. The extraction processes were soaking, infusion (the addition of boiling water) and boiling the plants. Samples of the water extraction were taken at different extraction times and the concentration of the elements noted. The results show that the water extraction coefficient of each element from the studied plants depends on the extraction time and method of extraction. For Hibiscus sabdiffora most elements extracted in highest percentage (41-88%) at 24 hours soaking time; (39-85%) at 5 min infusion; and (37-88%) after boiling for 30 mins. Tamarindus indica shows elements extracted (41-88%) after 24 hours soaking time; (40-98%) at 15 min infusion and (42-88%) after boiling for 5 mins. It was found, according to Egyptian standards, that the studied elements were in sufficient concentration to be considered useful for medicinal purposes: Hibiscus sabdariffa as a source for trace elements (Co, Cu, Fe, Zn) and Tamarindus indica as a source for Ca, Mg, K, Mn and Ni.

Human Whey Promotes Sessile Bacterial Growth, Whereas Alternative Sources of Infant Nutrition Promote Planktonic Growth by Angela Q. Zhang, S. Y. Ryan Lee, Melat Truneh, Mary L. Everett, William Parker (168-176).
Breast milk protects neonates from infections, prevents allergies, enhances cognitive and social development, and guards against later development of illnesses including multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. Because mother's milk is the sole source of nutrition for newborns when bacteria first colonize the gut and establish mutualistic microbial biofilms, milk is expected to contain components which help the microbial flora become established. In the present study, the intercellular association of E. coli by human whey was evaluated in vitro alongside that by purified secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA, a microbial agglutinin found in human milk), by infant formulas, and by bovine whey. Human whey, unlike SIgA, mediated bacterial aggregation and biofilm formation independently of the type 1 pilus. Further, human whey mediated bacterial aggregation over a broader range of bacterial concentrations than did SIgA, affecting the aggregation of bacteria at concentrations 1000-fold less than could be mediated by SIgA. These findings indicate that human whey utilizes multiple mechanisms to facilitate bacterial association. In contrast, infant formulas and bovine whey mediated planktonic bacterial growth but not apparent intercellular bacterial association, regardless of the expression of the type 1 pilus. These studies provide insight into how human milk might protect against infections and illnesses, and also provide a possible approach by which infant formulas may be developed and tested to more accurately mimic interactions of human milk with enteric flora, potentially improving the efficacy and health benefits of those formulas.

Nutritional Quality of Lettuce by Beiquan Mou (177-187).
Lettuce is a popular leafy vegetable and plays an important role in American diet and nutrition. Crisphead lettuce has much lower nutrient content than leaf and romaine types. As the synthesis or absorption of many nutrients is light dependent, the lower nutritional value of crisphead lettuce is in large part due to the enclosure of its leaves in a head structure. In addition to varietal differences, nutritional quality of lettuce may be influenced by environmental factors such as light, temperature, growing season, cultural practices, fertilizer application, post-harvest processing, and storage conditions. The moisture content of the plant also affects nutrient concentration. Enhancing the nutritional levels of vegetables would improve the nutrient intake without requiring an increase in consumption. Genotypic variation in germplasm suggests that genetic improvement of nutritional value is feasible in lettuce. However, breeding efforts for nutrition are often hampered by the lack of analytical capabilities in most crop improvement programs. As nutrient content is determined by complex genotype by environment interactions, progress in the development of molecular markers for nutritional breeding of lettuce has been slow. Biotechnology has the potential to markedly increase the nutritional value of lettuce. The commercialization of transgenic lettuce may largely depend on progress in transgene expression, public acceptance, economic and marketing challenges, intellectual property issues, and risk assessment.

Regulative Roles of Ghrelin in Ingestive Behavior, Upper Gastrointestinal Motility, and Secretion by Hirotaka Ueda, Takakazu Yagi, Haruka Amitani, Akihiro Asakawa, Shouichi Miyawaki, Akio Inui (188-195).
Ghrelin was recently identified as the first endogenous ligand for growth hormone secretagogue receptors (previously known as orphan receptors). Two major molecular forms of ghrelin are found in the stomach and plasma: acyl ghrelin with O-n-octanoylated serine at position 3 and des-acyl ghrelin. Interestingly, these distinct molecular forms play contrasting roles in ingestive behavior, upper gastrointestinal motility, and gastric acid secretion. Acyl ghrelin stimulates food intake both in fed and fasted rodents and induces adiposity, alleviates ingestive behavior, stimulates gastrointestinal motor activity and gastric acid secretion, and accelerates gastric emptying in several species. In contrast, des-acyl ghrelin has been demonstrated to disrupt gastric motility in rats and delay gastric emptying in mice and rats. Thus, acyl ghrelin is a potent stimulator of ingestive behavior, gastrointestinal motility, and gastric acid secretion, whereas des-acyl ghrelin exerts opposing effects on ingestive behavior and gastrointestinal motility but does not affect gastric acid secretion. Ghrelin is expected to be used in various applications such as therapeutic strategies for obesity, anorexia, cachexia, and cardiovascular disease in the clinical setting. In this article, we review the evidence on the roles of acyl ghrelin and des-acyl ghrelin in the regulation of ingestive behavior, upper gastrointestinal motility, and gastric acid secretion in mammals; moreover, we mention the effects of ghrelin on oral functions.

Fish Oil Supplementation: A Matter of DHA Enzymatic/Non-Enzymatic Oxidation Balance? by Massimo F.L. Pomponi, Massimiliano Pomponi, Giovanni Gambassi (196-205).
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Alzheimer's type dementia (AD) are leading causes of death amongst aged people, with rates expected to rise due to increased longevity. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids may contribute to the development and maintenance of the functional capacities of the brain and reduced levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) may be indicative of an increased risk of AD. Moreover, epidemiological studies have shown a strong correlation between fish consumption and reduction in sudden death because of myocardial infarction. Not only does fish oil decrease thrombosis, but it also prevents cardiac arrhythmias. The molecular mechanism underlying the many benefits of n-3 fatty acids remains a significant challenge for medicine. Human recombinant cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 converts DHA to hydroxy-DHA and novel oxygenated products (resolvins, neuroprotectins, maresins) generated by enzymatic processes have recently been identified. With low-dose aspirin (ASA) - which acetylates COX-2 - more stable epimeric ASA-triggered oxygenated forms are synthesized. In conclusion, both DHA and acetylCOX-2 seem to cooperate - in synergy that goes well beyond our current understanding - in the prevention of many diseases that involve inflammation, including CVD and AD. Often the analogy is the key for new advances.

The Role of Iron Toxicity in Oxidative Stress-induced Cellular Degeneration in Down Syndrome: Protective Effects of Phenolic Antioxidants by Caterina Manna, Lidia Tagliafierro, Iris Scala, Barbara Granese, Generoso Andria, Vincenzo Zappia (206-212).
A chronic oxidative stress is a typical feature of Down Syndrome (DS, trisomy 21), the major cause of mental disability in humans. In this paper we report the first experimental evidence that iron toxicity may contribute to build up the pro-oxidative microenvironment that characterizes trisomic tissues, using intact erythrocytes as the model system. Blood samples were obtained from trisomic patients and healthy controls in paediatric age. When DS erythrocytes are subjected to oxidative treatment in vitro, the increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) is higher compared to control cells. Interestingly, incubation with iron chelator deferoxamine results in reduced ROS generation, the decrease being greater in DS erythrocytes than in control cells. Furthermore, we examine the possible protective effect of phenolic antioxidants, including olive oil hydroxytyrosol (HT) and its methoxy analogue homovanillyl alcohol (MeHT), displaying similar scavenging activities, and whether the protective effects could also be related to metal chelating properties. We report that both compounds significantly decrease oxidative stress-induced ROS generation at the concentration range utilized (10-50 μM), HT being more active than MeHT, likely due to its scavenging and iron chelating activities. Similar data are reported for protection against lipoperoxidation. Therefore, HT represents a good candidate for novel dietary and/or nutraceutical strategies of potential therapeutic benefit in DS. The hypothesis that intraerythrocyte iron accumulation could signal increased Alzheimer's Disease risk in DS, and the possible pathophysiological implications, are also discussed.

Immunodetection of Curcin in Seed Meal of Jatropha Curcas Using Polyclonal Antibody Developed Against Curcin-L by Archana Pal, Vishal Singh Negi, Samir Khanal, Dulal Borthakur (213-219).
The seeds of Jatropha curcas (jatropha), which contain 27-40% oil, are an important source for bio-diesel production. For making bio-diesel production profitable, it is desirable to use the seed meal generated as a byproduct for producing animal feed. Although jatropha seed meal contains 50-62% protein, it is not suitable as an animal feed without additional processing because one of the seed meal proteins, curcin, is a toxin that inhibits protein synthesis. A rapid detection method of curcin will be useful in determining any remnant of the toxin in processed jatropha seed products. The objective of this research was to develop an immunological method to quantify curcin in jatropha, especially in the seed meal. Jatropha contains two types of curcin, curcin-L and curcin, which have 89% similarity with each other at amino acid level. The cDNA for curcin-L was isolated from a jatropha cDNA library and sequenced. The codon-optimized full-length curcin-L cDNA and a truncated derivative were cloned and expressed in E. coli. The purified protein obtained by expressing the truncated cDNA was used to develop polyclonal antibody (anti-curcin-L) in rabbit. Anti-curcin-L could detect both curcin-L and curcin even at 1:10,000 dilutions. The two curcins were detected in all parts of jatropha including leaf, cotyledonary leaf, stem and root. We also detected and quantified total curcin (curcin-L and curcin) from two different seed meal samples, using anti-curcin-L and densitometry. This method will be useful in rapid detection and quantification of total curcin present in any commercial feed containing jatropha seed meal.

Organic farmers raise poultry and rabbits in British Columbia using ethnoveterinary remedies and natural feedstuffs. These ethnoveterinary practices were documented from interviews and a participatory workshop. This paper includes the plants used for respiratory conditions, nutrition and dental care of rabbits. Some of the plants have been used in animal and human health for centuries such as Echinacea spp., Chenopodium spp., Artemisia spp., and Nicotiana spp. Many of the plants used are also grown in the tropics and could be used there. Ethnoveterinary medicinal use can contribute to on-farm plant biodiversity.