Authors: Shalini Gaur Rudra, Neha Saini, Kanika Walia
It is well known that plants generally contain anti-nutrients acquired from fertilizer and pesticides and several naturally-occurring chemicals. Some of these chemicals are known as ‘‘secondary metabolites’’ and they have been shown to be highly biologically active. These include saponins, tannins, flavonoids, alkaloids, trypsin (protease) inhibitors, oxalates, phytates, haemagluttinins (lectins), cyanogenic glycosides, cardiac glycosides, coumarins and gossypol. The list is inexhaustible.
Most of these secondary metabolites elicit very harmful biological responses, while some are widely applied in nutrition and as pharmacologically-active agents. The anti-nutritional factors (ANFs) may be defined as those substances generated in natural food stuffs by the normal metabolism of species and by different mechanisms (e.g. inactivation of some nutrients, diminution of the digestive process, or metabolic utilization of feed) which exert effects contrary to optimum nutrition. Besides, anti-nutritional factors may occur endogenously or may be formed during heat/ alkaline processing of proteins. Examples of important anti-nutritional factors formed during the heat/alkaline treatments of protein products include Maillard reaction products (MRP), oxidized forms of sulphur amino acids, D-amino acids and lysine-alanine (LAL, an unnatural nephrotoxic amino acid derivative).
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About Author / Additional Info:
I am a food scientist working in the area of functional foods.