Applications To Health Promotion And Disease Prevention

Purple camel's foot seeds are a rich source of crude protein (25.6—27.2%), crude lipid (12.3— 4.3%), fiber (4.6— 5.8%), carbohydrates (51%), minerals, and essential amino acids (Rajaram & Janardhanan, 1991; Vijayakumari et al., 1997). The crude protein content of raw PCF seeds (25.63%) (Table 111.1) was found to be higher than that of certain common legume seeds, such as chickpea (24%), cowpea (24.7%), and green pea (24.9%) (Iqbal et al., 2006). The high protein content of PCF seeds has nutritional significance, since moderate intake of these grains will greatly increase the total dietary protein intake. Further, the PCF seeds

TABLE 111.1 Nutritional Profiles of PCF Seeds

S. No.

Chemical Composition

PCF Seeds

01

Proximate Composition (g/kg DM)

Moisture content

84.00 ± 0.6

Crude protein

256.3 ± 2.1

Crude lipid

143.0 ± 0.8

Crude fiber

46.60 ± 0.7

Ash

36.90 ± 0.4

Nitrogen free extractives

517.2

Energy (kcal/kg DM)

4381

02

Mineral Composition (mg/kg DM)

Sodium

148.2 ± 0.8

Potassium

24906.2 ± 57.3

Calcium

3420 ± 5.6

Magnesium

767.0 ± 0.9

Phosphorus

1725.0 ± 5.8

Iron

26.40 ± 0.7

Copper

4.800 ± 0.6

Zinc

19.40 ± 1.4

Manganese

2.100 ± 0.7

03

Amino Acid Composition (g/kg protein)

Aspartic acid

110.0

Glutamic acid

123.5

Alanine

62.0

Valine

67.0

Glycine

42.8

Arginine

71.9

Serine

32.6

Cystine

Trace

Methionine

Trace

Threonine

38.8

Phenylalanine

67.9

Tyrosine

52.8

Isoleucine

13.3

Leucine

122.4

Histidine

28.4

Lysine

55.5

Tryptophan

ND

Proline

87.8

Mean ± standard deviation (n = 5) of analysis of nutrient profiles of PCF seeds.

Reproduced from Rajaram & Janardhanan (1991), J. Sci. Food Agric., 55, 423—431, with permission.

Mean ± standard deviation (n = 5) of analysis of nutrient profiles of PCF seeds.

Reproduced from Rajaram & Janardhanan (1991), J. Sci. Food Agric., 55, 423—431, with permission.

registered an appreciable level of crude lipid (14.3%) when compared to certain conventional pulses such as Cicer arietinum (4.16%), Vigna aconitifolia (0.69%), V. mungo (0.45%), V. radiata (0.71%), and Phaseolus vulgaris (0.9%) (Bravo et al., 1999).

The fiber content of PCF seeds (4.6%) could qualify them as a healthy food because fiber has been postulated to have many important physiological effects, such as reducing the transit time in the mammalian gut, and reducing the incidence of diabetes and obesity. Several studies have shown the hypoglycemic effect of fiber, and also indicated a correlation between low incidence of colon cancer and high fiber diets (Pugalenthi et al., 2005). The ash content (3.69%) of PCF seed materials indicates the presence of marked level of minerals. Due to the presence of high levels of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids, PCF samples exhibited remarkable calorific value (4381 kcal/kg DM) (Rajaram & Janardhanan, 1991).

When compared to the RDA, the PCF seeds were found to be a rich source of potassium, calcium, and iron (Table 111.1). Generally, a diet that meets two-thirds of the RDA is considered to be adequate for human consumption. Thus, wild PCF seeds might fulfil some of the dietary mineral needs of humans. The data on the amino acid profile of PCF seeds shown in Table 111.1 reveal the presence of adequate levels of all the essential amino acids, except for cystein, methionine, and tryphtophan, when compared with the WHO/FAO amino acid reference pattern. Further, the levels of essential amino acids in PCF seeds seem to be comparable with the amino acid composition of soy bean seeds. Further, lysine is also present in sufficient quantity in PCF seeds when compared to the WHO/FAO pattern (Vijayakumari etal., 1997).

Purple camel's foot seeds yield a considerable amount of oil, which seems to be a good source of essential fatty acids and lipid-soluble bioactive compounds. The high linoleic acid content makes the oil nutritionally valuable. The PCF seed oil is found to contain 66% unsaturated fatty acids, which is also a desirable feature from a nutritional point of view for human food. The levels of tocopherols and sterols in PCF seed oil would be of nutritional importance. Thus, PCF seeds could nutritionally be considered as a new non-conventional supply for the pharmaceutical industries, and also for edible purposes (Ramadan et al., 2006).

Recently, many researchers have attempted to analyze the bioactive principles from different parts of the PCF plant that are responsible for disease prevention/curative effects. The bark extract of PCF showed an increase in hepatic glucose-6-phosphatase activity and anti-peroxidative effect, as indicated by a decrease in hepatic lipid peroxidation and/or increase in the activity of antioxidant enzyme(s). It appears that the seed extracts are capable of stimulating thyroid function in female mice (Vadivel, 2009). The ethanolic extract of PCF seed has been demonstrated to possess antidiabetic activity and adrenergic properties (Vadivel, 2009). Recently, eleven new secondary metabolites, together with two known flavanones and five known bibenzyls, have been isolated from PCF root and found to have antimycobacterial, antimalarial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory activities (Surat et al., 2007).

The raw seed materials of PCF are found to possess appreciable levels of various bioactive compounds, such as phenolics, tannins, flavonols, anthocyanins, tartaric esters, flavonoids, L-dopa, and phytic acid (Vadivel, 2009) (Table 111.2). The level of bioactive compounds in PCF seeds is comparable with those in common legume grains, such as Phaseolus vulgaris, soybean, pea, mung bean, horse gram, cowpea, and moth bean. During cooking, a significant (P < 0.05) improvement in levels of phenolics, tannins, anthocyanins, and tartaric esters was noticed, which might be due to their release from the complex bound form with other major nutrients like proteins (Pugalenthi & Vadivel, 2007).

Various bioactive compounds extracted from both raw and processed PCF seeds have been found to exhibit more effective free radical inhibition activity against DPPH free radicals (Table 111.3). The observed results suggest that all the bioactive compounds will exert protective effects under in vivo, and also against oxidative and free radical injuries that appear

TABLE 111.2 Levels of Various Bioactive Compounds (mg/100 g seed flour) in Raw and Processed PCF Seeds

S. No.

Bioactive Compounds

Raw Seeds

Cooked Seeds

1

Total phenolics

3900b ± 0.21

4260a ± 0.06

2

Tannins

66b ± 0.41

98a ± 0.04

3

Flavonols

386a ± 0.32

316b ± 0.11

4

Anthocyanins

65b ± 0.23

78a ± 0.14

5

Tartaric esters

81b ± 0.15

106a ± 0.23

6

Flavonoids

172a ± 0.24

144b ± 0.16

7

L-dopa

1330a ± 0.07

920b ± 0.42

8

Phytic acid

934a ± 0.22

837b ± 0.31

Values are mean ± standard deviation of three separate determinations. Values in the same row with different superscripts are significantly different (P < 0.05). Data from Vadivel (2009), PhD Thesis.

Values are mean ± standard deviation of three separate determinations. Values in the same row with different superscripts are significantly different (P < 0.05). Data from Vadivel (2009), PhD Thesis.

TABLE 111.3 Free Radical Inhibition Activity and Antioxidant Activity of Various Bioactive Compounds Extracted from PCF Seeds

Bioactive Compounds

DPPH Free Radical Inhibition Activity (%)

Antioxidant Activity (%) by ß-Carotene/Linoleic Acid Method

Raw Seeds

Cooked Seeds

Raw seeds

Cooked seeds

Raw Seeds

Cooked Seeds

Raw seeds

Cooked seeds

1

Total phenolics

58.17b ± 0.24

72.12a ± 0.12

61.13b

± 0.12

66.22a ± 0.15

2

Tannins

54.46b ± 0.18

59.32a ± 0.15

48.25a

± 0.13

50.65a ± 0.04

3

Flavonols

71.36b ± 0.16

80.19a ± 0.21

53.68a

± 0.20

55.82a ± 0.10

4

Anthocyanins

67.47a ± 0.14

69.35a ± 0.06

15.06b

± 0.15

17.40a ± 0.06

5

Tartaric esters

36.25b ± 0.23

41.66a ± 0.22

11.38b

± 0.17

14.53a ± 0.05

6

Flavonoids

75.14a ± 0.17

69.38b ± 0.08

56.83a

± 0.22

53.98b ± 0.12

7

L-dopa

86.32b ± 0.13

93.56a ± 0.15

80.16b

± 0.14

88.75a ± 0.15

8

Phytic acid

58.42b ± 0.11

65.40a ± 0.20

45.75b

± 0.02

51.57a ± 0.14

9

Standard (BHT)

98.4 ± 0.12

98.4 ± 0.12

92.8

± 0.12

92.8 ± 0.12

Values are mean ± standard deviation of three separate determinations. Values in the same row with different superscripts are significantly different (P < 0.05). Data from Vadivel (2009), PhD Thesis.

Values are mean ± standard deviation of three separate determinations. Values in the same row with different superscripts are significantly different (P < 0.05). Data from Vadivel (2009), PhD Thesis.

during different pathological conditions. The cooking treatment significantly (P < 0.05) improves the free radical scavenging ability of all the bioactive compounds except for anthocyanins, in which only a very small level of increase was noticed (Vadivel, 2009).

The antioxidant activity of bioactive compounds extracted from PCF seeds analyzed through the b-carotene/linoleic acid system showed that the L-dopa (80.16%) and total phenolics (61.13%) exhibited higher levels of antioxidant activity compared to the BHT standard (92.8%) (Table 111.3). Such higher levels of antioxidant activity registered by L-dopa may be due to its characteristic aromatic ring structure with two hydroxyl groups (Pugalenthi & Vadivel, 2007).

Regarding its antidiabetic effect, in Brazil, plants belonging to the genus Bauhinia are reported to be used by the rural population as an important antidiabetic agent; the seeds, leaves, and stem-bark of these plants are used in different phyto-preparations to lower the blood glucose level (Filho, 2009). Moreover, the flavonoid-containing fraction with hypoglycemic activity has been isolated from PCF leaves in Egypt (Arora, 2006). In India, PCF seeds have been consumed by certain rural populations, especially the Lambady tribes living in the Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh states, as an important antidiabetic agent (Vadivel, 2009). The Siddha medicine system also prescribes PCF seeds for the management of type 2 diabetic patients (Pettit et al., 2006). Different parts of the PCF plant have demonstrated remarkable hypoglycemic activity in a laboratory animal model (Muralikrishna et al., 2008).

fic Nuts and Seeds

TABLE 111.4 In Vitro Hypoglycemic Effect of Various Bioactive Compounds Extracted from Raw and Processed PCF Seeds

S. No.

Bioactive Compounds

a-Amylase Inhibition Activity (%)

a-Glucosidase Inhibition Activity (%)

Raw Seeds

Cooked Seeds

Raw Seeds

Cooked Seeds

1

Total phenolics

17.45b ± 0.14

20.51a ± 0.15

52.32ab ± 0.16

55.12a ± 0.18

2

Tannins

28.48a ± 0.08

32.82a ± 0.08

65.76a ± 0.21

68.66a ± 0.12

3

Flavonols

09.21b ± 0.14

10.14a ± 0.15

45.32b ± 0.06

48.56a ± 0.11

4

Anthocyanins

10.28b ± 0.05

11.46a ± 0.24

48.33b ± 0.17

52.62a ± 0.12

5

Tartaric esters

08.14b ± 0.24

09.15a ± 0.15

41.24a ± 0.20

38.49b ± 0.15

6

Flavonoids

19.16b ± 0.15

21.33a ± 0.21

55.19a ± 0.15

53.38a ± 0.18

7

L-dopa

12.73b ± 0.16

15.24a ± 0.06

46.41a ± 0.25

48.33a ± 0.14

8

Phytic acid

ND

ND

ND

ND

Values are mean ± standard deviation of three separate determinations. Values In the same row with different superscripts are significantly different (P < 0.05). ND, not detected.

Data from Vadivel (2009), PhD Thesis.

Values are mean ± standard deviation of three separate determinations. Values In the same row with different superscripts are significantly different (P < 0.05). ND, not detected.

Data from Vadivel (2009), PhD Thesis.

I To experimentally assess the in vitro hypoglycemic activity of PCF seeds, the a-amylase and a-glucosidase enzyme inhibition activities of different bioactive compounds of the seeds were analyzed, since these enzymes play a key role in the management of hyperglycemia (Pinto et al., 2008). Among the various bioactive compounds, the tannins exhibited the highest levels of a-amylase and a-glucosidase inhibition activity (28.48 and 65.76%, respectively) in raw PCF seeds (Table 111.4) (Vadivel, 2009).

Purple camel's foot seeds were found to possess a lower level of a-amylase inhibition activity than that of a-glucosidase inhibition activity. It is a well-known fact that the dietary management of hyperglycemia-linked type 2 diabetes can be targeted through whole foods 946 that have high a-glucosidase inhibition and moderate a-amylase inhibition activity. This is because excessive a-amylase inhibition leads to the accumulation of undigested starch in the intestine, and consequent stomach distension and discomfort (Pinto et al., 2008). Hence, cooked PCF seeds with high a-glucosidase inhibition and moderate a-amylase inhibition activity could be considered as a potential candidate for further in vivo studies as a part of more comprehensive dietary designs to manage the early stages of hyperglycemia-linked type 2 diabetes, or in the prevention of diabetes.

Even though earlier clinical studies on the genus Bauhinia began in 1929, there are no concrete reports available with human subjects. In one toxicological study, where B. forficata seeds were evaluated for their hypoglycemic effect in randomized cross-over double-blind studies, no acute or chronic effect on plasma glucose levels or glycated hemoglobin was found when using a group of 10 normal human subjects and another group of 16 type 2 diabetic patients, indicating that the infusion had no hypoglycemic effect on either normal subjects or type 2 diabetic patients. Therefore, additional investigations are necessary to confirm the antidiabetic potential of this plant in human beings. Nonetheless, it is recognized that Bauhinia seed materials are not toxic, which has been confirmed by several experimental investigations using animal models (Filho, 2009).

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