Tardigrades are microscopic aquatic animals with remarkable abilities to withstand harsh physical conditions such as dehydration or exposure to harmful highly energetic radiation. The mechanisms responsible for such robustness are presently little known, but protection against oxidative stresses is thought to play a role. Despite the fact that many tardigrade species are variously pigmented, scarce information is available about this characteristic. By applying Raman micro-spectroscopy on living specimens, pigments in the tardigrade Echiniscus blumi are identified as carotenoids, and their distribution within the animal body is visualized. The dietary origin of these pigments is demonstrated, as well as their presence in the eggs and in eye-spots of these animals, together with their absence in the outer layer of the animal (i.e., cuticle and epidermis). Using in-vivo semi-quantitative Raman micro-spectroscopy, a decrease in carotenoid content is detected after inducing oxidative stress, demonstrating that this approach can be used for studying the role of carotenoids in oxidative stress-related processes in tardigrades. This approach could be thus used in further investigations to test several hypotheses concerning the function of these carotenoids in tardigrades as photo-protective pigments against ionizing radiations or as antioxidants defending these organisms against the oxidative stress occurring during desiccation processes.
The dramatic rise in the use of smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers over the past decade has raised concerns about potentially deleterious health effects of increased “screen time” (ST) and associated short-wavelength (blue) light exposure. We determined baseline associations and effects of 6 months' supplementation with the macular carotenoids (MC) lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin on the blue-absorbing macular pigment (MP) and measures of sleep quality, visual performance, and physical indicators of excessive ST. Forty-eight healthy young adults with at least 6 h of daily near-field ST exposure participated in this placebo-controlled trial. Visual performance measures included contrast sensitivity, critical flicker fusion, disability glare, and photostress recovery. Physical indicators of excessive screen time and sleep quality were assessed via questionnaire. MP optical density (MPOD) was assessed via heterochromatic flicker photometry. At baseline, MPOD was correlated significantly with all visual performance measures (p < 0.05 for all). MC supplementation (24 mg daily) yielded significant improvement in MPOD, overall sleep quality, headache frequency, eye strain, eye fatigue, and all visual performance measures, versus placebo (p < 0.05 for all). Increased MPOD significantly improves visual performance and, in turn, improves several undesirable physical outcomes associated with excessive ST. The improvement in sleep quality was not directly related to increases in MPOD, and may be due to systemic reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation.
The lens and retina of the human eye are exposed constantly to light and oxygen. In situ phototransduction and oxidative phosphorylation within photoreceptors produces a high level of phototoxic and oxidative related stress. Within the eye, the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are present in high concentrations in contrast to other human tissues. We discuss the role of lutein and zeaxanthin in ameliorating light and oxygen damage, and preventing age-related cellular and tissue deterioration in the eye. Epidemiologic research shows an inverse association between levels of lutein and zeaxanthin in eye tissues and age related degenerative diseases such as macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. We examine the role of these carotenoids as blockers of blue-light damage and quenchers of oxygen free radicals. This article provides a review of possible mechanisms of lutein action at a cellular and molecular level. Our review offers insight into current clinical trials and experimental animal studies involving lutein, and possible role of nutritional intervention in common ocular diseases that cause blindness.
The eye is a major sensory organ that requires special care for a healthy and productive lifestyle. Numerous studies have identified lutein and zeaxanthin to be essential components for eye health. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoid pigments that impart yellow or orange color to various common foods such as cantaloupe, pasta, corn, carrots, orange/yellow peppers, fish, salmon and eggs. Their role in human health, in particular the health of the eye, is well established from epidemiological, clinical and interventional studies. They constitute the main pigments found in the yellow spot of the human retina which protect the macula from damage by blue light, improve visual acuity and scavenge harmful reactive oxygen species. They have also been linked with reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Research over the past decade has focused on the development of carotenoid-rich foods to boost their intake especially in the elderly population. The aim of this article is to review recent scientific evidences supporting the benefits of lutein and zexanthin in preventing the onset of two major age-related eye diseases with diets rich in these carotenoids. The review also lists major dietary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin and refers to newly developed foods, daily intake, bioavailability and physiological effects in relation to eye health. Examples of the newly developed high-lutein functional foods are also underlined.
This paper investigates what “free-range” eggs are available for sale in supermarkets in Australia, what “free-range” means on product labelling, and what alternative “free-range” offers to cage production. The paper concludes that most of the “free-range” eggs currently available in supermarkets do not address animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and public health concerns but, rather, seek to drive down consumer expectations of what these issues mean by balancing them against commercial interests. This suits both supermarkets and egg producers because it does not challenge dominant industrial-scale egg production and the profits associated with it. A serious approach to free-range would confront these arrangements, and this means it may be impossible to truthfully label many of the “free-range” eggs currently available in the dominant supermarkets as free-range.
Purpose. A large body of research has linked macular lutein and zeaxanthin to reduced risk of degenerative eye disease. The earliest published hypothesis for the role of the pigments was not based on chronic protection but immediate function. Recent data on macular pigment (MP) have shown that screening the foveal cones from short-wave light does, in fact, result in improvements in photostress recovery (PR), glare disability (GD) and chromatic contrast (CC). This study examined those relations on a larger sample. Methods. 150 young healthy subjects were assessed. Plasma samples were obtained from 100 subjects for HPLC quantification of serum xanthophylls. MP density was measured using customized heterochromatic flicker photometery. GD, PR and CC were measured in Maxwellian view using a broadband xenon light source. GD was measured by increasing the intensity of an annulus until it veiled a central target. PR was measured as the time necessary to regain sight of a central target after a 5 second exposure to an intense bleaching light. CC was measured as the amount of light necessary in a 460 nm background to lose sight of a central target. Results. MP density was significantly related to serum lutein and zeaxanthin combined (r = 0.31, p = 0.002), GD (r = 0.24, p = 0.0015), PR (r = -0.18, p = 0.01), and CC (r = 0.46, p = 0.00005). Conclusions. These results confirm earlier reports of a significant relation between variation in macular pigment optical density and immediate effects on visual function. As with many species, intra-ocular yellow filters in humans appear to improve many aspects of the visual stimulus.
To evaluate the effects of lutein and zeaxanthin on visual function in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients.
Egg yolk low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and soybean lecithin were evaluated as replacements for egg yolk in extenders used for the cryopreservation of brown-bear spermatozoa. The motility, viability and acrosomal status of post-thawed spermatozoa were analysed, and an egg-yolk extender was used as a control. The total antioxidant capacity of these extenders was tested. Soybean lecithin showed an effect that was dependent on the soybean concentration (2%, 3.5% and 5%) and source (Type A: 24% -α-phosphatidylcholine, and Type B: 14-23% -α-phosphatidylcholine). Only semen cryopreserved with 5% Type A soybean exhibited a sperm motility similar to that of semen cryopreserved in egg-yolk-based extender after thawing, although the sperm viability and acrosome status were not as high. Semen frozen in an extender containing LDL (10-15%) exhibited improved sperm viability in comparison with the control, but sperm motility was lower. The LDL-based extender exhibited a higher anti-oxidant activity than the egg-yolk extender and soy lecithin-based extenders. The extenders with higher anti-oxidant activity showed improvements in frozen sperm viability but lower semen motility. These results indicate that soybean lecithin did not have the same protective effect as egg yolk during the freezing of brown-bear spermatozoa but suggest that LDL (10-15%) could be a useful substitute for egg yolk in these extenders.
Eggs or egg-based foods, either raw or undercooked, have been identified as vehicles of Salmonella outbreaks. The low numbers of Salmonella organisms in eggs makes it difficult to detect them in frequency studies. The nested-PCR (n-PCR) technique shows more sensitivity and specificity than bacteriological culture methods (BCMs). A preenrichment method followed by enrichment and n-PCR is a good alternative for the investigation of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes in eggs. A total of 2,650 chicken eggs representing five commercial brands were purchased from 10 grocery stores. Ten eggs of each brand were combined in order to obtain 265 pooled samples (53 per brand). The shells and yolks of 100 pooled samples were analyzed for Salmonella, while the shells of 65 pooled samples were analyzed for L. monocytogenes, using BCM and a combined method of enrichment and n-PCR (CM-n-PCR). Sixteen eggshell pooled samples tested positive for Salmonella by CM-n-PCR, compared with only two by BCM. Three egg yolk pooled samples tested positive for this pathogen by CM-n-PCR; none tested positive by BCM. Three eggshell pooled samples tested positive for L. monocytogenes by CM-n-PCR and none by BCM. In Mexico, as in other countries, official methods for detection of Salmonella and L. monocytogenes in foods are based on standard bacteriological culture techniques. The inclusion of more sensitive methods such as the one used in the present investigation would increase the probability of detecting positive samples, particularly in those foods in which a very low number of cells is expected.
The contribution of dietary, mobilized, or newly synthesized fatty acids in yolk formation at different periods of egg production was determined. In an initial experiment, a single dose of (13)C-linoleic acid was administered to pullets at the onset of egg production and their presence in follicles determined over the subsequent 10 days. In a second experiment, pullets were fed a daily 15 mg dose of U-(13)C-glucose beginning 2 wk prior to sexual maturity through the end of the experimental period. A 50 mg meal of U-(13)C-linoleic acid was orally administered approximately 10 d prior to sexual maturity (defined as first egg) representing body linoleic acid. Upon each hen’s first egg, each bird received a 25 mg meal of (2)D31-linoleic acid representing dietary linoleic acid. All eggs were collected for the next 10 days. The incorporation of labeled linoleic acid and palmitic acid in egg yolk was then determined using GC-MS. This process was repeated at peak production and at 45 wk of age. At sexual maturity, the deposition of labeled palmitic acid in the yolk was higher compared with its deposition at peak production and 45 wk of age. The deposition of both (13)C- and (2)D31-linoleic acid increased with hen age. These results suggest that dietary and tissue linoleic acid is utilized to a greater extent in older hens and that lipogenesis (synthesis of palmitic acid) plays a larger role at sexual maturity in the young hen.