A general method for selection of alpha-acetolactate decarboxylase-deficient Lactococcus lactis mutants to improve diacetyl formation.
The enzyme acetolactate decarboxylase (Ald) plays a key role in the regulation of the alpha-acetolactate pool in both pyruvate catabolism and the biosynthesis of the branched-chain amino acids, isoleucine, leucine, and valine (ILV). This dual role of Ald, due to allosteric activation by leucine, was used as a strategy for the isolation of Ald-deficient mutants of Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar diacetylactis. Such mutants can be selected as leucine-resistant mutants in ILV- or IV-prototrophic strains. Most dairy lactococcus strains are auxotrophic for the three amino acids. Therefore, the plasmid pMC004 containing the ilv genes (encoding the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of IV) of L. lactis NCDO2118 was constructed. Introduction of pMC004 into ILV-auxotrophic dairy strains resulted in an isoleucine-prototrophic phenotype. By plating the strains on a chemically defined medium supplemented with leucine but not valine and isoleucine, spontaneous leucine-resistant mutants were obtained. These mutants were screened by Western blotting with Ald-specific antibodies for the presence of Ald. Selected mutants lacking Ald were subsequently cured of pMC004. Except for a defect in the expression of Ald, the resulting strain, MC010, was identical to the wild-type strain, as shown by Southern blotting and DNA fingerprinting. The mutation resulting in the lack of Ald in MC010 occurred spontaneously, and the strain does not contain foreign DNA; thus, it can be regarded as food grade. Nevertheless, its application in dairy products depends on the regulation of genetically modified organisms. These results establish a strategy to select spontaneous Ald-deficient mutants from transformable L. lactis strains. (+info)
Effects of ionic compositions of the medium on monosodium glutamate binding to taste epithelial cells.
Monosodium glutamate and nucleotides are umami taste substances in animals and have a synergistic effect on each other. We studied the ligand-binding properties of the glutamate receptors in taste epithelial cells isolated from bovine tongue. Specific glutamate binding was observed in an enriched suspension of taste receptor cells in Hanks' balanced salt solution, while no specific glutamate binding was apparent in the absence of divalent ions or when the cells had been depolarized by a high content of potassium in Hanks' balanced salt solution. There was no significant difference between the release of glutamate under depolarized or divalent ion-free conditions and under normal conditions. However, glutamate was easily released from the depolarized cells in the absence of divalent ions. These data suggest that the binding of glutamate to receptors depends on divalent ions, which also have an effect on maintaining binding between glutamate and receptors. (+info)
Exposure to exogenous estrogens in food: possible impact on human development and health.
There has been increasing concern about the impact of environmental compounds with hormone-like action on human development and reproductive health over the past decades. An alternative but neglected source of hormone action that may be considered in this connection is hormone residues in meat from husbandry animals treated with sex steroid hormones for growth promotion. Treatment of cattle with naturally occurring or synthetic sex hormones may enhance lean muscle growth and improve feed efficiency and is therefore a very cost effective procedure for cattle producers who have used it for decades in some Western countries, including the USA and Canada. The Joint Food and Agricultural Organisation/World Health Organisation (FAO/WHO) expert committee on food additives (JECFA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considered, in 1988, that the residues found in meat from treated animals were safe for the consumers. We have re-evaluated the JECFA conclusions regarding the safety of estradiol residues in meat in the light of recent scientific data, with special emphasis on estradiol levels in prepubertal children. These levels are needed for estimates of the normal daily production rates of estradiol in children, who may be particularly sensitive to low levels of estradiol. In our opinion, the conclusions by JECFA concerning the safety of hormone residues in meat seem to be based on uncertain assumptions and inadequate scientific data. Our concerns can be summarized as follows. 1) The data on residue levels in meat were based on studies performed in the 1970's and 1980's using radioimmunoassay (RIA) methods available at the time. The sensitivity of the methods was generally inadequate to measure precisely the low levels found in animal tissues, and considerable variation between different RIA methods for measuring steroids exists. Therefore the reported residue levels may be subject to considerable uncertainty. 2) Only limited information on the levels of the various metabolites of the steroids was given despite the fact that metabolites also may have biological activity. 3) Reliable data on daily production rates of steroid hormones were and are still lacking in healthy prepubertal children. This lack is crucial as previous guidelines regarding acceptable levels of steroid residues in edible animal tissues have been based on very questionable estimates of production rates in children. Thus, even today the US FDA bases its guidelines on the presumably highly overestimated production rates in prepubertal children given in the JECFA 1988 report. 4) The possible biological significance of very low levels of estradiol is neglected. In conclusion, based on our current knowledge possible adverse effects on human health by consumption of meat from hormone-treated animals cannot be excluded. (+info)
Inulin and oligofructose: what are they?
Inulin is a term applied to a heterogeneous blend of fructose polymers found widely distributed in nature as plant storage carbohydrates. Oligofructose is a subgroup of inulin, consisting of polymers with a degree of polymerization (DP) +info)
Inulin and oligofructose: safe intakes and legal status.
Inulin and oligofructose are a significant part of the daily diet of most of the world's population. Daily intakes for the U.S. and Europe have been estimated at up to 10 g, specifically 1-4 g for the 97th percentile in the U.S. Because both inulin and oligofructose are macroingredients, it is difficult to apply classical toxicology tests. Although some high dose animal tests have been performed, none have revealed any toxic effects. The safety of inulin and oligofructose for use in foods was evaluated by many legal authorities worldwide. As a result, both inulin and oligofructose are accepted in most countries as food ingredients that can be used without restrictions in food formulations. In the U.S., a panel of experts performed a generally accepted as safe (GRAS) Self-Affirmation Evaluation in 1992 and concluded similarly. At high doses, increased flatulence and osmotic pressure can cause intestinal discomfort. These doses vary widely from person to person and also depend on the type of food in which inulin or oligofructose is incorporated. With regard to labeling, both inulin and oligofructose are gradually being accepted as "dietary fibers" in most countries around the world. The mention of their "bifidogenic effect" on food labels has also been legally accepted in several countries. (+info)
Inositol phosphates with different numbers of phosphate groups influence iron absorption in humans.
BACKGROUND: Inositol hexaphosphate (IP(6)) is a well-known inhibitor of iron absorption, whereas the effects of the less-phosphorylated derivatives of IP(6) are less known. OBJECTIVES: The objective was to investigate the effects of inositol tri-, tetra-, and pentaphosphates (IP(3), IP(4), and IP(5), respectively) on iron absorption in humans. DESIGN: Iron absorption was measured in 5 experiments from single meals by extrinsic labeling with (55)Fe and (59)Fe and determination of whole-body retention and the erythrocyte uptake of isotopes. In experiments 1-3 the meals contained white-wheat rolls to which 10 mg P as IP(5), IP(4), or IP(3), respectively, was added. Inositol 1,2,6-triphosphate [Ins(1,2, 6)P(3)] and a mixture of isomers of IP(4) and IP(5) were studied. White-wheat rolls contained 10 mg P as IP(3) + IP(4) and 2 mg P as IP(5) + IP(6) in experiment 4 and 20 mg P as IP(3) + IP(4) and 3 mg P as IP(5) + IP(6) in experiment 5; inositol phosphates were obtained via fermentation of sodium phytate. Each experiment had 8-11 subjects. RESULTS: In experiment 1, iron absorption was reduced by 39%, whereas there was no significant effect on iron absorption in experiments 2 and 3. In experiments 4 and 5, iron absorption was reduced by 54% and 64%, respectively, suggesting that IP(3) and IP(4) contributed to the inhibitory effect. CONCLUSIONS: IP(5) has an inhibitory effect on iron absorption, whereas IP(3) and IP(4) in isolated form have no such effect. IP(3) and IP(4) in processed food contribute to the negative effect on iron absorption, presumably by binding iron between different inositol phosphates. To improve iron absorption from cereals and legumes, degradation of inositol phosphates needs to be to less-phosphorylated inositol phosphates than IP(3). (+info)
Changes in thyroid function during development of thyroid hyperplasia induced by kojic acid in F344 rats.
To clarify the mechanism of tumorigenesis by kojic acid (KA), dose and time dependence of iodine uptake in the thyroid gland and serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid hormone levels were investigated in F344 rats fed a diet containing 2% KA. After 4 weeks, thyroid hyperplasia was apparent in males, associated with a decrease in (125)I uptake into the thyroid gland to only 3% of that in controls. The serum triiodothyronine (T(3)) and thyroxine (T(4)) levels dropped to 0.36 ng/ml, 1.7 micrograms/dl from the initial values of 0.61 ng/ml, 4.0 micrograms/dl and TSH increased seven times to 15 ng/ml. In females, the effects on thyroid weight and (125)I uptake were less prominent, although the changes in serum T(3), T(4) and TSH levels were similar to those in males. Time-dependent changes in serum T(3), T(4) and TSH levels correlated with the inhibition of iodine uptake in the thyroid. Inhibition of organic iodine formation was only observed after 3 weeks treatment. On return to the control diet, normal serum T(3), T(4) and TSH levels became evident within 48 h in both sexes. These data suggest that KA interrupts thyroid function, primarily by inhibiting iodine intake, consequently causing a decrease in serum T(3) and T(4). Increased TSH from the pituitary gland in turn stimulates thyroid hyperplasia, which is reversible on withdrawal of KA. (+info)
Occupational IgE sensitisation to phytase, a phosphatase derived from Aspergillus niger.
OBJECTIVE: Phytase is a phosphatase derived from Aspergillus niger that enhances phosphate bioavailability in the gut, and therefore has been increasingly used as an animal feed additive since the early 1990s. The aim of this study was to assess whether work related respiratory symptoms among workers in a so called premix factory producing animal feed additives, could be due to type I (mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE) allergic sensitisation to phytase. METHODS: Preparations of specific IgE against phytase as used in the factory were assessed by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) in serum samples of 11 exposed workers who regularly handled the enzyme, in 11 office and laboratory workers of the same plant (non-exposed internal controls), and in 19 laboratory animal workers as external controls. The factory workers also completed a questionnaire on common and work related respiratory symptoms. RESULTS: Depending on the cut off level in the EIA for IgE, and the preparation used as coated allergen, antiphytase sensitisation was found in one to four of the 19 external controls, in one to five of the 11 internal controls, and in four to 10 of the 11 exposed workers. Strongest IgE reactions were found in four exposed workers who reported work related respiratory symptoms, particularly wheezing, and in one internal control who possibly had become sensitised because the structure of the factory building did not preclude airborne exposure in the offices and corridors of the plant. Experiments with inhibition EIA for IgE showed that (a) phytase of another commercial source was only partially cross reactive with phytase as used in the premix factory, and (b) phytase used as an animal feed additive did not cross react with common mould extracts, except for extracts from the species of origin, Aspergillus niger. The amount of IgE binding phytase in Aspergillus niger was estimated to be between 0.1% and 1% of the extractable mould proteins. CONCLUSIONS: Phytase is a potentially important new occupational allergen causing specific IgE immune responses among exposed workers. Such IgE sensitisation could probably be the cause of work related asthmatic and other respiratory symptoms if no effective measures are taken to prevent airborne occupational exposure at sites where phytase is handled, particularly during addition of enzyme preparations to animal feed. (+info)