Lack of effect of spearmint on lower oesophageal sphincter function and acid reflux in healthy volunteers.
BACKGROUND: Spearmint is commonly used as an antispasmodic and as a flavouring in several medications including antacids. It can produce heartburn, presumably by lowering lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) tone, but the mechanism has not previously been objectively examined. AIM: To study the effect of spearmint on LES function, acid reflux and symptoms. METHODS: In healthy volunteers, a Dent Sleeve and a pH electrode were placed in the distal oesophagus. They were then given spearmint either in a flavouring (0.5 mg), or a high (500 mg) dose, or a placebo, using a double-blind randomized crossover design. LES pressure, oesophageal pH and symptoms were recorded for 30 min before and after administration. RESULTS: LES pressure was not affected by spearmint, either high dose (19.6 vs. 16.0 mmHg), flavouring dose (20.2 vs. 19.8 mmHg) or placebo (20.5 vs. 19.2 mmHg, all N.S.). There were no differences in reflux occurrence following high dose (mean = 0.65 vs. 0.85 episodes), low dose (0.4 vs. 0.5 episodes) or placebo (0.7 vs. 1.10 episodes, all N.S.). There was a significant increase in mean symptom scores following high-dose spearmint (0 vs. 0.35, P = 0.03), but not low dose (0 vs. 0.2) or placebo (0 vs. 0.5, both N.S.). One subject reported symptoms with placebo, one with low dose, and six with high dose; all without increased reflux episodes or decreased sphincter pressure. CONCLUSION: Spearmint has no effect on LES pressure or acid reflux. Flavouring doses of spearmint do not produce more symptoms than placebo while high doses can be associated with symptoms, presumably from direct mucosal irritation but not reflux. (+info)
Effect of the umami peptides on the ligand binding and function of rat mGlu4a receptor might implicate this receptor in the monosodium glutamate taste transduction.
1. The effect of several metabotropic ligands and di- or tripeptides were tested on the binding of [3H]-L(+)-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid ([3H]-L-AP4) on rat mGlu4 receptor. For selected compounds, the functional activity was determined on this receptor using the guanosine-5'[gamma-35S]-thiotriphosphate [gamma-35S]-GTP binding assay. 2. Using the scintillation proximity assay, [3H]-L-AP4 saturation analysis gave binding parameters K(D) and Bmax values of 150 nM and 9.3 pmoles mg-1 protein, respectively. The specific binding was inhibited concentration-dependently by several mGlu receptor ligands, and their rank order of affinity was established. 3. Several peptides inhibited the [3H]-L-AP4 binding with the following rank order of potency: glutamate-glutamate>glutamate-glutamate-leucine=aspartate - glutamate>>glutamate - glutamate-aspartate>lactoyl-glutamate>>aspartate-aspartate. Aspartate-phenylalanine-methyl ester (aspartame) was inactive up to 1 mM and guanosine-5'-monophosphate and inosine-5'-monophosphate were inactive up to 100 micronM. 4. The [gamma-35S]-GTP binding functional assay was used to determine the agonist activities of the different compounds. For the rat mGlu4 agonists, L-AP4 and L-glutamate, the correlation between their occupancy and activation of the receptor was close to one. The peptides, Glu-Glu, Asp-Glu and Glu-Glu-Asp failed to stimulate the [gamma-35S]-GTP binding at receptor occupancy greater than 80% and Glu-Glu-Leu appeared to be a weak partial agonist. These peptides did not elicit a clear dose-dependent umami perception. However, Glu-lac showed a good correlation between its potency to stimulate the [gamma-35S]-GTP binding and its affinity for displacement of [3H]-L-AP4 binding. These data are in agreement with the peptide taste assessment in human subjects, which showed that the acid derivatives of glutamate had characteristics similar to umami. (+info)
Anethole blocks both early and late cellular responses transduced by tumor necrosis factor: effect on NF-kappaB, AP-1, JNK, MAPKK and apoptosis.
Anethole, a chief constituent of anise, camphor, and fennel, has been shown to block both inflammation and carcinogenesis, but just how these effects are mediated is not known. One possibility is TNF-mediated signaling, which has also been associated with both inflammation and carcinogenesis. In the present report we show that anethole is a potent inhibitor of TNF-induced NF-kappaB activation (an early response) as monitored by electrophoretic mobility shift assay, IkappaBalpha phosphorylation and degradation, and NF-kappaB reporter gene expression. Suppression of IkappaBalpha phosphorylation and NF-kappaB reporter gene expression induced by TRAF2 and NIK, suggests that anethole acts on IkappaBalpha kinase. Anethole also blocked the NF-kappaB activation induced by a variety of other inflammatory agents. Besides NF-kappaB, anethole also suppressed TNF-induced activation of the transcription factor AP-1, c-jun N-terminal kinase and MAPK-kinase. In addition, anethole abrogated TNF-induced apoptosis as measured by both caspase activation and cell viability. The anethole analogues eugenol and isoeugenol also blocked TNF signaling. Anethole suppressed TNF-induced both lipid peroxidation and ROI generation. Overall, our results demonstrate that anethole inhibits TNF-induced cellular responses, which may explain its role in suppression of inflammation and carcinogenesis. Oncogene (2000). (+info)
Crystal transformation from anhydrous alpha-maltose to hydrous beta-maltose and from anhydrous trehalose to hydrous trehalose.
Anhydrous sugars such as maltose and trehalose are useful for making dry powder of foods and liquids. The crystal-transformation rate of maltose and trehalose were investigated under humid conditions and by kneading. The enthalpy for solubilization was 7.0 kJ/mol for the anhydrous maltose. The crystal-transformation rate of anhydrous alpha-maltose to hydrous beta-maltose depended on the temperature at 75% humidity. However, that of anhydrous trehalose did not depend on the temperature, and transformation was very rapid. An anomeric change to maltose and no such change to trehalose might have caused this. The activation energy of crystal transformation was 79 kJ/mol for maltose and zero for trehalose. The rate of crystal transformation of anhydrous maltose while kneading depended on the purity of the anhydrous alpha-maltose and the amount of water present. This crystal transformation rate fitted the Avrami equation. (+info)
Clinical bitterness masking test for phantogeusia.
It is difficult to determine the reason why a patient complains of a bitter taste when their mouth is empty. We examined a new diagnostic test using a bitterness masking substance. The bitterness masking substance, 'Benecoat BMI-60' (hereafter BMI-60), is a masking substance specific to the taste cells' bitterness receptors. After patients gargled with BMI-60 solutions, the phantom sensation of bitterness was masked in some patients, but was not masked in others. Bitter substances in saliva seemed to be masked by BMI-60, but bitterness did not seem to be masked when the locus of the phantom sensation was within the peripheral nerve and/or the brain. The bitterness masking test is useful for diagnosis of the phantom sensation of bitter taste. (+info)
A simultaneous assay method for L-glutamate and L-pyroglutamate contents in soy sauce using a 5-oxoprolinase (without ATP hydrolyzing activity).
L-Glutamine and L-glutamate, which are important flavor components in soy sauce, are converted to L-pyroglutamate during brewing. Therefore, it is necessary that the L-glutamate and L-pyroglutamate contents can be measured accurately. We developed a simultaneous assay method for L-glutamate and L-pyroglutamate by using 5-oxoprolinase (without ATP hydrolyzing activity) and glutamate oxidase. By this method, the L-pyroglutamate could be measured accurately in a range of 0.05 to 1.0 mM in the presence of 1.0 mM L-glutamate. This system is effective for process and quality controls. (+info)
Microorganisms with a taste for vanilla: microbial ecology of traditional Indonesian vanilla curing.
The microbial ecology of traditional postharvesting processing of vanilla beans (curing) was examined using a polyphasic approach consisting of conventional cultivation, substrate utilization-based and molecular identification of isolates, and cultivation-independent community profiling by 16S ribosomal DNA based PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. At two different locations, a batch of curing beans was monitored. In both batches a major shift in microbial communities occurred after short-term scalding of the beans in hot water. Fungi and yeast disappeared, although regrowth of fungi occurred in one batch during a period in which process conditions were temporarily not optimal. Conventional plating showed that microbial communities consisting of thermophilic and thermotolerant bacilli (mainly closely related to Bacillus subtilis, B. licheniformis, and B. smithii) developed under the high temperatures (up to 65 degrees C) that were maintained for over a week after scalding. Only small changes in the communities of culturable bacteria occurred after this period. Molecular analysis revealed that a proportion of the microbial communities could not be cultured on conventional agar medium, especially during the high-temperature period. Large differences between both batches were observed in the numbers of microorganisms, in species composition, and in the enzymatic abilities of isolated bacteria. These large differences indicate that the effects of microbial activities on the development of vanilla flavor could be different for each batch of cured vanilla beans. (+info)
Biotransformation of D-limonene to (+) trans-carveol by toluene-grown Rhodococcus opacus PWD4 cells.
The toluene-degrading strain Rhodococcus opacus PWD4 was found to hydroxylate D-limonene exclusively in the 6-position, yielding enantiomerically pure (+) trans-carveol and traces of (+) carvone. This biotransformation was studied using cells cultivated in chemostat culture with toluene as a carbon and energy source. The maximal specific activity of (+) trans-carveol formation was 14.7 U (g of cells [dry weight])(-1), and the final yield was 94 to 97%. Toluene was found to be a strong competitive inhibitor of the D-limonene conversion. Glucose-grown cells did not form any trans-carveol from D-limonene. These results suggest that one of the enzymes involved in toluene degradation is responsible for this allylic monohydroxylation. Another toluene degrader (Rhodococcus globerulus PWD8) had a lower specific activity but was found to oxidize most of the formed trans-carveol to (+) carvone, allowing for the biocatalytic production of this flavor compound. (+info)