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The use of melatonin as antioxidant has been extensively established. But what would the antioxidant function be if one were to go one step back in the anabolism of that amine, and orally administer its precursor — the amino acid tryptophan? Diurnal animals ( Streptopelia roseogrisea ) were administered orally capsules containing 125 or 300 mg L-tryptophan/kg b.w. for 7 days at the end of the light period (20 h ). A control group received capsules with methylcellulose. The antioxidant function was studied through the reduction of nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) by superoxide anion, and through the levels of malonaldehyde (MDA) produced in the lipoperoxidation that occurs from the respiratory burst in response to the presence of a foreign particle in phagocytic cells (heterophils), which were extracted at 2 h — at the acrophase of melatonin in the blood stream. In the heterophils extracted from the group that received 125 mg kg −1 b.w. tryptophan, there was less oxidative stress as determined by the NBT reduction than in those from the 300 mg kg −1 b.w. group. In the study of the lipoperoxidation of the membranes as determined by the levels of MDA, however, no significant variations were observed between the different groups. The lower concentration (125 mg L-tryptophan/kg b.w.), administered orally, succeeded in diminishing the free radicals produced in the heterophils for the destruction of the ingested foreign agent, but not fully or maximally. The possible solution to this prooxidant/antioxidant imbalance would be to administer a lower concentration of tryptophan to attain the perfect balance for application in nutritional treatments.

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Acta Alimentaria
Authors: O.N. Campas-Baypoli, D.I. Sánchez-Machado, C. Bueno-Solano, A.A. Escárcega-Galaz, and J. López-Cervantes

Moringa oleifera tree has been recognized internationally for its nutritional, therapeutic and medicinal properties. Dry seeds are rich sources of oil with a high potential of commercial exploitation. The present study reports the physicochemical characterization, polyphenol content, DPPH radical scavenging capacity and fatty acid profile of moringa seed oil, and the chemical composition of the seed cultivated in Sonora, Mexico. Moisture, ash, protein and lipid contents in the seed were found to be 4.7, 5.8, 26 and 39%, respectively. The oil showed a refractive index of 1.4642. The saponification number was 183 mg KOH/g oil, iodine value: 75 g I/100 g of oil, acid value: 0.49 (% oleic acid). The polyphenol content was 0.137 mg of gallic acid equivalent/g and DPPH radical scavenging capacity was 87.39%. The moringa seed oil was rich (68%) in the major fatty acid, oleic acid (C18:1n9). Moringa oil extracted by sonication showed a fatty acid profile and physicochemical properties comparable to the oil from seeds grown in different regions of the world. The optimization of the oil extraction process on a large scale shows high potential, as the oil could be marketed as edible vegetable oil, for frying purposes, or as a functional ingredient.

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