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Preliminary Study of the Nutritional Content of Malaysian Edible Bird's Nest

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Malaysian edible bird's nests (EBN) are from the swiflet species, Aerodromus fuciphagus. The objective of this study was to determine and compare the nutrient composition of EBN obtained from different parts of Peninsular Malaysia, collected at three different harvesting seasons, to four commercial brands. A total of 18 raw, unprocessed EBN samples from the North, South and East Coast zones of Peninsular Malaysia and duplicate samples of 4 commercial brands (processed) of EBN samples were analysed. The protein and mineral contents of unprocessed EBN samples between zones and harvesting seasons were comparable. Mean (± SEM) protein content of unprocessed EBN was 61.5 ± 0.6 g/100g and the top four minerals detected were calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium with mean (± SEM) concentration of 553.1 ± 19.5 mg/100g, 187.9 ± 10.4 mg/100g, 92.9 ± 2.0 mg/100g and 6.3 ± 0.4 mg/100g respectively. Sialic acid content ranged between 0.7 to 1.5%, and remained comparable between samples from different zones and harvesting seasons. The commercial brands were found to contain higher amounts of calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus compared to unprocessed EBN, warranting further investigation and verification with more samples. Since the nutrient contents of EBN may be affected by seasonal variations and even breeding sites, it is recommended that a more comprehensive study be conducted involving more samples and breeding sites as such data are important to ensure sustainability of the EBN industry in this country.
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Preliminary Study of the Nutritional Content of Malaysian Edible Bird’s Nest 389
Mal J Nutr 16(3): 389 - 396, 2010
Preliminary Study of the Nutritional Content of Malaysian
Edible Bird’s Nest
Norhayati MK,1 Azman O2 & Wan Nazaimoon WM1
1Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Nutrition Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala
Lumpur
2Biodiversity Conservation Division, Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Kuala Lumpur
ABSTRACT
Malaysian edible bird’s nests (EBN) are from the swiflet species, Aerodromus
fuciphagus. The objective of this study was to determine and compare the nutrient
composition of EBN obtained from different parts of Peninsular Malaysia,
collected at three different harvesting seasons, to four commercial brands. A
total of 18 raw, unprocessed EBN samples from the North, South and East Coast
zones of Peninsular Malaysia and duplicate samples of 4 commercial brands
(processed) of EBN samples were analysed. The protein and mineral contents of
unprocessed EBN samples between zones and harvesting seasons were
comparable. Mean (± SEM) protein content of unprocessed EBN was 61.5 ± 0.6 g/
100g and the top four minerals detected were calcium, sodium, magnesium and
potassium with mean (± SEM) concentration of 553.1 ± 19.5 mg/100g, 187.9 ± 10.4
mg/100g, 92.9 ± 2.0 mg/100g and 6.3 ± 0.4 mg/100g respectively. Sialic acid
content ranged between 0.7 to 1.5%, and remained comparable between samples
from different zones and harvesting seasons. The commercial brands were
found to contain higher amounts of calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium
and phosphorus compared to unprocessed EBN, warranting further investigation
and verification with more samples. Since the nutrient contents of EBN may be
affected by seasonal variations and even breeding sites, it is recommended that
a more comprehensive study be conducted involving more samples and breeding
sites as such data are important to ensure sustainability of the EBN industry in
this country.
Keywords: Edible bird’s nest, Malaysia, protein, minerals, sialic acid
* Correspondence author: Wan Nazaimoon Wan Mohamud; Email: : nazaimoon@imr.gov.my
INTRODUCTION
Edible bird’s nests (EBN) found in Malaysia
are from the swiflet species, Aerodromus
fuciphagus. Their size is about that of a
sparrow with wingspan wider than that of
a pigeon. Swiftlets feed on insects caught in
flight such as from the order Hymenoptera
(winged ants, fig wasps and bees), Diptera
(flies), Coleoptera (small beetles), Homoptera
(leafhoppers) and Ephemenoptera (mayflies)
(Lim & Cranbrook, 2002). They construct
their nests with glutinous strands of starch-
like saliva produced by a pair of large,
salivary glands under their tongue and
thereafter mate and breed their young in the
nest (Goh et al., 2001). The first breeding
season usually begins in December and
Norhayati MK, Azman O & Wan Nazaimoon WM
390
continues through March followed by April
to July and then August to November (Lim
& Oswald, 2004).
Traditionally used as a food delicacy,
EBN is also an important ingredient in
traditional Chinese medicine for health-
enhancing effects ranging from enhancing
complexion, alleviating asthma, and
strengthening the immune system (Lim &
Cranbrook, 2002). EBN extract has been
shown to stimulate mitosis hormones and
the growth factor for epidermal growth
(Kong et al., 1987; Ng, Chan & Kong, 1986)
and is known to have exerted strong
inhibitory effect on influenza viruses in a
host range-independent manner (Guo et al.,
2006). The major nutrient components of
EBN are carbohydrates and glycoproteins
(Kathan & Weeks, 1969), and essential trace
elements such as calcium, sodium,
magnesium, zinc, manganese and iron
(Marcone, 2005). Despite the many health
claims associated with EBN consumption,
the mechanism of action is unknown and
there is no clinical evidence to support those
claims. In a recent report, the carbohydrate
in EBN was found to contain among others,
sialic acid and glucosamine (Tung et al.,
2008). While sialic acid has been associated
with enhanced brain functions in infants
(Colombo et al., 2003), the presence of
glucosamine could perhaps explain some of
the immuno-modulating effects of EBN.
High in demand and highly priced in
the global market, EBN cultivation has
increased dramatically in EBN-producing
countries including Malaysia (Hobbs, 2004).
The main areas of EBN cultivation in
Peninsular Malaysia are Sitiawan, Teluk
Intan, Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Parit
Buntar, Bukit Mertajam, Nibong Tebal,
Kuantan, Muar, Segamat and many other old
townships (Burhanuddin, 2004). Hence
efforts have been made by the Department of
Wildlife and National Parks (PERHILITAN),
Ministry of Natural Resources and
Environment, Malaysia to increase the
number of producers and at the same time,
ensure that the quality, especially the
nutritional contents of this commodity is
maintained. The objective of this study,
which was carried out in collaboration with
PERHILITAN, was to determine whether
breeding places and harvesting seasons
could affect the nutritional contents of
Malaysian EBN.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Materials
A total of 18 unprocessed EBN samples from
3 zones in Peninsular Malaysia; North
(Kedah, Pulau Pinang, Perlis and Perak),
South (Johor, Malacca and Negeri Sembilan)
and the East Coast (Pahang, Terengganu
and Kelantan) and duplicate samples of 4
different brands of processed EBN samples
(dried and in the shape of a natural nest)
were supplied by PERHILITAN. For this
preliminary report, the brand names of the
processed EBN samples will not be revealed.
Preparation of samples
All nests were cleaned by soaking in water
to soften nest cement. Feathers and fine
plumages were manually removed with
forceps. The nests were allowed to dry in an
oven at 60oC for 5 days and then finely
grounded using a food grinder. The finely
grounded EBN samples were transferred
into air tight containers and kept at ambient
temperature until further analysis.
Protein analysis
Protein analysis was performed using
Kjeldahl method, as prescribed in FOSS
Analytical AB (2003) Aplication Note, using
the Tecator Kjeltec System. Briefly, finely
grounded EBN sample (0.1g) was digested
with 12 ml concentrated sulphuric acid in
the presence of a catalyst (3.5g potassium
sulphate, 0.4g copper sulphate).
Preliminary Study of the Nutritional Content of Malaysian Edible Bird’s Nest 391
Minerals (Ca, P, Fe, Na, K, Mg, Cu and Zn)
analysis
For mineral analysis, 1.0 g of oven dried nest
from ash determination was digested in
concentrated hydrochloric acid as described
by Tee et al. (1996). The elements, Ca, Fe, Na,
K, Mg and Zn were measured by atomic
absorption spectrophotometry (Atomic
absorption spectrophotometer model GBC
940 AA). Phosphorus (P) was measured
spectrophotometrically at 420 nm using
Shimadzu UV 120-01. Present as
orthophosphate, phosphorous reacted with
a vanadate-molybdate reagent to produce a
stable yellow-orange complex of vanadi-
molybdisphoshoric acid.
Sialic acid analysis
The sialic acid analysis was performed as
described in Dionex Technical Note 41 with
slight modifications. The sialic acid content
was analysed using Agilent 1200 Series
HPLC with ESA Coulochem®III
electrochemical detector. The separation was
performed on CarboPac PA20 column (3 X
150mm) with gradient elution of 100 mM
Sodium hydroxide and 100 mM sodium
hydroxide/1 M Sodium acetate. Sialic acid
in EBN was extracted by hydrolysis method
using 0.1M hydrochloric acid followed by
incubation at 800C for 1 hour. The
hydrolysate was subjected to vacuum
drying to remove traces of HCl solution.
Dried hydrolysate powder was then re-
dissolved in about 1000 µl of ultrapure
water, filtered with 0.22 micron nylon
membrane filter and then subjected to HPLC
analysis.
Statistical analysis
A Statistical Package for Social Science
(SPSS) for Windows version 11.5 was used
to analyse the data. All results are reported
as mean ± SEM.
RESULTS
Unprocessed EBN samples
Although it could not be confirmed
statistically due to the small sample size,
there seemed to be seasonal variations in the
amount of protein present in the EBN
samples collected from the 3 zones at
different seasons (Figure 1). Protein content
ranged from 60.3 to 63.6 g/100g, 61.8 to 65.2
g/100g and 57.9 to 61.2 g/100g for samples
obtained from the North, South and East
Coast Zones respectively. For the North and
East Coast Zones, the highest protein level
was found in samples collected during
December to March, while for the South Zone,
samples harvested during August to
November had the highest protein content.
The mineral contents of unprocessed
EBN obtained from different zones and
harvesting seasons are as shown in Table 1.
The order of highest to lowest level of
minerals detected was found to be similar
for all zones; highest being calcium with
content ranging from 467.8 to 673.4 mg/
100g. Due to the small sample size, no
statistical comparison could be made to
determine whether the amount of minerals
present in the unprocessed EBN samples
was affected by breeding sites and
harvesting seasons. Sialic acid content
ranged between 0.7 to 1.5%, and remained
comparable between samples from different
zones and harvesting seasons.
Commercial EBN samples
The protein, minerals and sialic acid
contents of four commercial EBN samples
are shown in Table 2. The amount of protein
present in the commercial EBN samples was
comparable to the mean protein content of
unprocessed EBN samples. The level of
calcium detected in the commercial EBN
samples varied according to brands.
Norhayati MK, Azman O & Wan Nazaimoon WM
392
Calcium content in Brands A and B was
comparable to that detected in unprocessed
EBN samples but for Brands X and Y, the
levels were four-fold higher. On the other
hand, Brands A and B contained much
higher levels of sodium, potassium and
phosphorus compared to the other two
brands and the unprocessed EBN samples.
DISCUSSION
One of the basic requirements for swiflets
habitat and productivity is their food source.
Swiflets feed on insects from species
Hymenoptera (winged ants, fig wasps and
bees), Coleoptera (small beetles), Homoptera
(leafhoppers) and Ephemenoptera (mayflies).
It has been reported that nests harvested
during the rainy season when food is most
abundant, are the most expensive because
they are big and thick, highly swollen and
contained fewer impurities (Azman, Siti
Hawa & Norazlinda, 2004). Similar
observations were also reported in Indonesia
where the quality of EBN depended on the
habitats and the best harvests were found
to be during the early and late raining
seasons (Ani Mardiastuti & Boedi, 2004). In
Peninsular Malaysia, maximum rainfall for
the East coast states usually occurs in the
months of November till January while, in
the western part of the country, the rainy
season normally occurs between October to
November or December. As shown in this
study, unprocessed EBN samples harvested
during the raining seasons had higher
amounts of protein compared to those
collected in the other two seasons. The
overall mean protein content of 61.5% for
the unprocessed EBN samples analysed in
this study was comparable to that reported
by Marcone (2005) who also studied EBN
samples from Malaysia. In contrast, EBN
samples obtained from several locations in
Figure 1. Mean ± (SEM) crude protein content of unprocessed EBN samples
according to harvesting season and region
Preliminary Study of the Nutritional Content of Malaysian Edible Bird’s Nest 393
North Zone South Zone East Coast Zone
Dec-March April-July Aug-Nov Dec-March April-July Aug-Nov Dec-March April-July Aug-Nov
(n=2) (n=2) (n=2) (n=2) (n=2) (n=2) (n=2) (n=2) (n=2)
Minerals (mg/100g)
Calcium 616.1(31.9) 673.4(130.0) 514.0(46.5) 569.7(10.8) 563.8(18.6) 467.8(57.0) 508.3(26.3) 572.5(0.6) 492.5(15.3)
Sodium 208.5(3.7) 154.6(66.1) 210.1(38.6) 209.7(8.9) 189.7(31.2) 189.8(64.1) 202.2(18.6) 183.9(21.9) 142.8(0.8)
Magnesium 93.3(8.3) 97.8(5.2) 96.0(9.1) 97.1(4.5) 99.1(8.0) 82.8(2.1) 88.7(1.9) 94.5(5.6) 86.7(7.8)
Potassium 5.6(0.3) 6.7(0.1) 6.9(2.1) 5.0(0.5) 6.2(1.4) 5.7(1.0) 6.5(1.4) 8.0(1.9) 6.4(0.4)
Phosphorus 1.8(1.0) 1.1(0.6) 5.2(3.1) 2.0(0.7) 2.0(0.2) 4.6(2.7) 0.9(0.6) 0.5(0.0) 3.0(1.6)
Iron 1.1(0.3) 0.9(0.1) 2.0(1.1) 0.8(0.2) 1.4(0.0) 1.4(0.4) 1.2(0.2) 1.2(0.5) 1.0(0.1)
Zinc 0.8(0.0) 0.9(0.2) 0.9(0.3) 0.7(0.1) 0.9(0.1) 1.5(0.5) 0.9(0.4) 1.0(0.3) 1.0(0.2)
Copper 0.5(0.0) 0.6(0.1) 0.5(0.1) 0.6(0.1) 0.6(0.0) 0.5(0.1) 0.6(0.1) 0.5(0.1) 0.4(0.1)
Glycoprotein (%)
Sialic Acid 0.8(0.0) 1.5(0.6) 0.7(0.1) 0.8(0.0) 0.7(0.7) 0.7(0.2) 0.8(0.2) 0.3(0.3) 0.4(0.0)
Table 1. Mean (SEM) concentration of minerals and sialic acid in unprocessed EBN samples according to zones and harvesting seasons
Norhayati MK, Azman O & Wan Nazaimoon WM
394
Penang were found to contain less protein,
ranging between 24 to 49% (Nurul Huda et
al., 2008). The reason for this difference
could not be explained but it may be possible
that as Penang is a more industrialised state,
the clearing of forest for development could
have had an impact on the diversity of insects
and hence reduction in food supply for the
swiflets as proposed by Burhanuddin
(2004).
Due to the high retail price per kilogram
of this commodity, there have been several
reported cases of adulteration with less
expensive materials, usually incorporated
during the processing stages in an effort to
increase the net weight or nutrient content
prior to sale. (Goh et al., 2001; Law & Melville,
1994). Among the more common adulterants
found in retail EBN are karaya gum, red
seaweed and Tremella fungus (Marcone,
2005) but in a recent report, even pork skin
had been detected in EBN products (Tung et
al., 2008). Due to their similarity in color,
appearance, taste and texture to the EBN
material, detection has been difficult. Using
crude protein determination, it was found
that these adulterants which typically
accounted for 2-10% of the finished product,
could reduce the overall crude protein
content of the genuine EBN by as much as
1.1- 6.2% (Marcone, 2005).
The presence of sialic acid in EBN,
reported to be about 9% (Kathan & Weeks,
1969), has been widely used by retailers to
promote and sell their EBN. Results of past
studies that showed the association of sialic
acid supplementation with improvement in
neurological and intellectual development
of infants (Colombo et al., 2003) and
enhancement in the viscosity of mucus to
prevent bacterial and viral infection
(Alessandri et al., 1990) are often quoted in
product inserts to convince the consumers.
On the contrary, none of the EBN samples,
including the commercial samples analysed
in this study contained such high amounts
of sialic acid.
Another important finding of this study
which may be of health concern, was the
high level of minerals detected in the four
different brands of processed EBN
compared to the unprocessed samples.
Whether this was naturally present or due
to adulteration needs to be further
investigated and verified with more samples.
While calcium is important for bone
Brand X Brand Y Brand A Brand B Unprocessed EBN
(n=2) (n=2) (n=2) (n=2) (n=18)
Crude Protein (g/100g) 58.7(2.8) 56.2(0.7) 61.5(4.0) 56.7(0.2) 61.5(0.6)
Minerals (mg/100g)
Calcium 2071.3(37.4) 2071.3(16.3) 503.6(4.9) 524.8(5.7) 553.1(19.5)
Sodium 110.8(2.2) 39.8(0.9) 509.6 (4.7) 505.9(0.2) 187.9(10.4)
Magnesium 79.0(0.4) 67.5(2.1) 97.0(1.0) 99.6(1.2) 92.9(2.0)
Potassium 7.0(0.7) 33.7(3.7) 107.2(0.1) 75.2(8.8) 6.3(0.4)
Phosphorus 4.1(0.1) 4.2(0.5) 12.5(1.9) 7.7(0.5) 2.3(0.5)
Iron 2.9(0.3) 2.2(0.7) 0.9(0.2) 2.0(0.7) 1.2(0.1)
Zinc 1.3(0.0) 1.0(0.0) 1.4(0.6) 0.7(0.1) 0.9(0.1)
Copper 0.4(0.0) 0.4(0.0) 0.4(0.0) 0.3(0.0) 0.5(0.0)
Glycoprotein (%)
Sialic Acid ND 1.5(0.9) 0.7(0.2) 0.7(0.2) 0.7(0.1)
Table 2. Mean (SEM) concentration of protein, minerals and sialic acid in processed EBN samples
ND - not detactable
Preliminary Study of the Nutritional Content of Malaysian Edible Bird’s Nest 395
development, nerve transmission, regulation
of heart muscle function and serves as
required co-factor for several enzymatic
reactions in the human body (Mahan &
Escott-Stump, 2000), consumers should be
protected as excessive intake of minerals can
be detrimental to health (Wooltorton, 2003).
In conclusion, this study has shown that
EBN is a good source of protein and minerals
and its consumption may have some
nutritional benefits. However, since the
nutrient contents may be affected by seasonal
variations and even breeding sites, it is
therefore recommended that a more
comprehensive study be conducted
involving more samples and breeding sites
in order to confirm the present findings, and
more importantly, gather relevant data to
ensure the sustainability of the EBN industry
in this country.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors would like to thank the Director
General and Deputy Director of Health
Malaysia (Research and Support Services)
and the Director of Institute for Medical
Research (IMR) for permission to publish the
findings of this study. The authors wish to
acknowledge the technical assistance
provided by the laboratory staff of the
Nutrition Unit, IMR. This study was funded
by PERHILITAN.
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... The quality of the EBN is closely related to the environment in which the swiftlet nests and forages (e.g., soil, climate, pollutants, food sources, "insects") (Chen et al., 2015;Chua & Zukefli, 2016;Sheikha & Menozzi, 2019;Elfita et al., 2020;Kew et al., 2014;Kew et al., 2015;Norhayati et al., 2010;Quek et al., 2018). Chua et al. (2014) showed that the original EBN environment plays an important role in the EBN quality control (Chua et al., 2014). ...
... Chua et al. (2014) showed that the original EBN environment plays an important role in the EBN quality control (Chua et al., 2014). Huda et al. (2008) and Norhayati et al. (2010) reported that the nutrient composition of EBN varied by breeding location (Huda et al., 2008;Norhayati et al., 2010). Paydar et al. (2013) found that the nitrite content of cave EBN was significantly higher than that of house EBN (Paydar et al., 2013). ...
... Chua et al. (2014) showed that the original EBN environment plays an important role in the EBN quality control (Chua et al., 2014). Huda et al. (2008) and Norhayati et al. (2010) reported that the nutrient composition of EBN varied by breeding location (Huda et al., 2008;Norhayati et al., 2010). Paydar et al. (2013) found that the nitrite content of cave EBN was significantly higher than that of house EBN (Paydar et al., 2013). ...
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... The fiber content analysis was excluded as studies reported that the fiber content in ESN was insignificant with less than 0.01%. [43][44][45] Sample Preparation: Double-boiling, Enzymatic Hydrolysis, and Processing of Bioactive ESN Hydrolyzate ...
... These were also reported in previous studies. [7,45,[58][59][60] The raw ESN's protein, carbohydrate, moisture, fat, and ash content were determined as one of the crucial procedures for the hydrolysis process. In which, the hydrolysis of ESN was performed based on the protein content in ESN. ...
... Based on the past proximate results and Table 1, ESN has revealed a significantly low fat content. [45,59] This feature was desirable for the hydrolysis process which reduces the protein-lipid complex formation affecting the production of stable protein hydrolyzate. [11,63] The enzymatic hydrolysis depends on the type of enzyme used that specifically cleave peptide bond in certain peptide chain and molecular weight and fractions. ...
... Industri SBW di Malaysia merupakan salah satu industri berimpak tinggi dengan jumlah eksport sebanyak 5,654 tan metrik bernilai RM1.2 billion pada tahun 2020 (Jabatan Perkhidmatan Veterinar Malaysia 2021). SBW mengandungi glikoprotein yang banyak dan kaya dengan asid amino, karbohidrat, kalsium, natrium dan kalium (Norhayati et al. 2010). Glikoprotein SBW mengandungi kira-kira 9% asid sialik, 7.2% galaktosamina, 5.3% glukosamina, 16.9% galaktosa dan 0.7% fukosa (Kathan & Weeks 1969;Tung et al. 2008). ...
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... Like many medicinal plants (Hambali et al. 2021;Hamid et al. 2020;Kamil et al. 2020Kamil et al. , 2018Lina et al. 2018;Prom-in et al. 2020), the EBN of A. fuciphagus has been believed to have health benefits (Chua et al. 2021), forming the basis of a multi-billion-dollar industry worldwide. EBN is known to enhance skin complexion (Matsukawa et al. 2011), alleviate asthma, strengthen the immune system (Chau et al. 2003) and also has pro-proliferative effects on corneal keratocytes (Argüeso et al. 2003), and antioxidative (Norhayati et al. 2010) and bone-strengthening effects (Matsukawa et al. 2011). ...
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Consumption of edible bird's nest (EBN) has been a common practice for the health benefits it is believed to provide. Hence, this study aimed to investigate the effects of both traditional edible bird's nest (TEBN) and convenient edible bird’s nest (CEBN) on the spatial learning of male Sprague Dawley rats in a radial arm maze (RAM). A total of 24 male rats (270-300 g) were allocated into three groups based on diet given namely pellet only (control group), pellet mixed with TEBN (300 mg/kg) and pellet mixed with CEBN (300 mg/kg). The rats were fed with the aforementioned diet throughout the study for 42 days and exposed to RAM for spatial learning assessments which consisted of shaping (3 days), acquisition (8 days) and retention (1 day) trials. In the acquisition trials, CEBN reduced working memory error (WME) on day 5 compared to control, and day 6 compared to the TEBN group. TEBN markedly reduced reference memory error (RME) on day 1 and 8, time spent (day 3) and percentage of correct choices made (day 3) during the acquisition trials compared to CEBN. TEBN and CEBN significantly reduced WME, however, only CEBN increased RME during the retention trial. CEBN significantly affected the total entries produced in the RAM which indicated the non-specific effects of CEBN on the locomotion of the rats. Our findings suggested that TEBN may work better than CEBN in improving spatial learning considering the fact that CEBN markedly reduced the locomotion of the rats during the retention trial.
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This study was conducted to recover edible bird’s nest (EBN) hydrolysates from different grades of EBN, including the industrial by-products, using enzymatic treatment. The nutrient, physicochemical properties and antioxidant activities of the recovered hydrolysates at different hydrolysis times were evaluated. Results showed that the recovery yield of enzymatic hydrolysis was above 89 % for all grades of EBN and the degree of hydrolysis increased over time. Nitrite content (0.321–0.433 mg/L) was below the permissible tolerance level for all samples. Interestingly, the antioxidant activities (DPPH and ABTS scavenging activities and ferric reducing antioxidant powder (FRAP) activity) were significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) in hydrolysates recovered from EBN by-products (EBNhC and EBNhD) as compared to the high grade EBN hydrolysates (EBNhA and EBNhB). The in-vitro probiotic activity of EBN and its hydrolysates were examined using the probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus plantarum. Evidently, EBN by-products hydrolysate (EBNhD) recorded the highest number of L. plantarum (1.1 × 10¹¹ CFU/mL), indicating that low grade EBN has the potential as prebiotic material that promotes probiotic activity. This study demonstrated the concept of using EBN by-products hydrolysates for various applications, such as functional ingredients with enhanced bioactivities, to improve its economic value.
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Edible bird’s nest (EBN) hydrolysates have been proven to exhibit enhanced bioactivities. However, being a macromolecule, fractions with different molecular weights would have different properties and bioactivities. Hence, this research was aimed to determine the chemical properties and antioxidant activities of freeze-dried (EBNFD) and spray-dried EBN (EBNSD) hydrolysates fractionated using gel permeation chromatography (GPC). Overall, two well-separated fractions were identified (EBNfFD1, EBNfFD2, EBNfSD1 and EBNfSD2). EBNFD demonstrated significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) peptide (3.6%), total carbohydrate (27.7%) and sialic acid (18.2%) contents than that of EBNSD. Similar trend was observed in low molecular weight fractionates (EBNfFD2 and EBNfSD2). Meanwhile, the first fractionates (EBNfFD1 and EBNfSD1) exhibited significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) hydroxyl radical (•OH) scavenging activity. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy demonstrated that all EBN fractionates have similar spectrum, except in the region of N—H (amide II) and C—H alkyl group. In conclusion, EBN fractionates with different molecular weights showed different chemical properties and antioxidant activities.
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Cave-harvested edible bird nest (EBN) is a high-priced commodity, that often being counterfeited with lower-priced house-farmed EBN. In this study, cave-harvested EBN and house-farmed EBN were classified based on to the concentration of calcium (Ca), sodium (Na), magnesium (Mg) and potassium (K) present. To solve the convergence failure problem caused by the complete separation of the EBN data, a logistic regression model analysis on 48 EBN samples harvested from Malaysia and Indonesia through a mineral ratio approach was adopted. Out of the 3 logistic regression models developed, the model consisting of Ca/Na ratio and Mg/K ratio gave the best performance showing no convergence failure of Maximum Likelihood Estimation (MLE) and both the explanatory variables were highly significant. The result indicated that both Ca/Na ratio and Mg/K ratio, affecting the probability of EBN type to be cave-harvested EBN in a positive manner. The logistic regression model developed with the Ca/Na ratio and Mg/K ratio gave a 100% specificity and 91.67% sensitivity in classifying the EBN type. The results of the analysis were verified using the Receiver Operating Characteristics curves. The validation result indicated that the model has a very good overall diagnostic accuracy in classifying the EBN type based on the mineral ratio.
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Edible bird’s nest (E-BN) or “Caviar of the East” is a premium and expensive cuisine well-known for the Chinese. It is saliva secreted from two specific swiftlets (Aerodramus maximus and Aerodramus fuciphagus). Two types of E-BN, namely house nests, and cave nests, are abundant in the South-East Asia region. The constituents, especially nitrate and nitrite, can be varied, depending on habitat, or feed available, etc. Protein (e.g., glycoprotein) is the major component of E-BN, followed by carbohydrates. Sialic acid is another essential constituent related to health promotion. E-BN is commonly utilized for the manufacturing of beverages or instant soup. E-BN in other forms such as capsules can serve as a supplement in the future due to its health promoting impact. In addition, the selected technology for quality improvement of E-BN especially from broken nests or flakes or other co-products is still required, while maintaining the eating quality to meet consumer’s demand. Thus, E-BN can be fully exploited and is still considered a valuable bird’s product with health benefits.
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Abstract: This study was performed with the aim to evaluate the proximate, elemental and fatty acid analysis of pre-processed edible birds&apos; nests ( Aerodramus fuciphagus) and their comparison between the regions and type of nests . The samples of edible birds&apos; nests ...
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Due to the value of their nests, there is great pressure on the populations of black-nest swiftlets (Collocalia maximus) and white-nest swiftlets (Collocalia fuciphagus) in the Malaysian provinces of Sarawak and Sabah. The problems are particularly acute at Gunung Mulu National Park, in spite of a complete ban on collection there, and at Niah National Park, where every participant in a complex collection and trading system has an incentive to take more nests than permitted. More successful harvest systems function in Sabah''s Gomantong and Madai Caves. Recommendations for improved management of the nest harvest include addressing corruption, ensuring that local people with traditional rights to collect nests do not lose income to illegal immigrant labor and to traders, improving research and education about the swiftlets'' behavior and ecology, and moving value-added processing of the nests closer to the caves where they originate and to the people who collect them.
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A simple high performance ion liquid chromatography with pulsed amperometric detector (HPAE-PAD) was applied to the saccharide profile analysis for the authenticity identification of edible bird's nests. The glycoproteins in authentic edible bird's nests, as reference materials for this study, contain fucose (Fuc) 0.44%, rhamnose (Rha) 0.20%, galactosamine (GalN) 4.19%, glucosamine (GlcN) 5.29%, galactose (Gal) 5.03%, mannose (Man) 0.75% and N-acetylneuraminic acid (NeuAc) 10.8% ± 0.76. The NeuAc content was used as an index to estimate the content of authentic bird's nest contained in dried powder. The dried powder was prepared by using bird's nests obtained from retail stores, or from the gel substance of bottled products of bird's nest steeped in rock sugar solution (BNsrss). The quality of dried bird's nest was also judged by the NeuAc/GalN ratio. The NeuAc/GalN ratios in commercial products claimed as edible dried bird's nest ranged from 2.3 to 3.0, while those in dried powders from gel substance claimed as BNsrss ranged from 0.03 to 3.0.
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A few species of swiflets (genus Aerodramus) build edible nests that are consumed by humans worldwide, as a delicacy known as the “Caviar of the East” or as a medicinal food. This study reports on the compositional properties of two types of nest, the white nest and the red “blood” nest. The order of composition (from lowest to highest) was found to be identical for both types of nests, i.e., lipid (0.14–1.28%), ash (2.1%), carbohydrate (25.62–27.26%) and protein (62–63%). It was also found that both nests share a common 77 KDa protein that has properties similar to those of the ovotransferrin protein in eggs. This protein may be partially responsible for the severe allergic reactions that sometimes occur among young children who consume edible bird’s nest products. It was found that SDS–PAGE electrophoretic fingerprinting might serve as a useful analytical technique for differentiating between white and red nests and for determining if the more expensive “blood” nest was adulterated with the less expensive white nest. Also evaluated were different analytical methodologies for detecting adulterants. Three of the most common adulterants found in retail bird’s nests are karaya gum, red seaweed, and tremella fungus, and they are routinely incorporated during commercial processing prior to final sale. Using crude protein determination, it was found that these adulterants (which typically accounted for 2–10% of the finished nest), reduce the overall crude protein content of the genuine white bird’s nest by as much as 1.1–6.2%. A modified xanthoproteic nitric acid test for proteins proved to be a rapid, and simple test to detect adulteration in both whole and finely ground nests, and would be suitable in the field where analytical facilities are not readily available.
1. An epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like activity was detected and partially purified from swiftlet's nest extract. 2. The partially purified EGF-like activity was able to (a) generate competitive binding curves parallel to the standard curves in radioreceptor assay and (b) stimulate thymidine incorporation in quiescent culture of 3T3 fibroblasts and the latter activity can be suppressed by mouse EGF antibody. 3. Partial characterization of the EGF-like activity in terms of pI, molecular weight and its behavior on gel filtration column suggest that it bears similar physical properties to the EGFs isolated from the mouse and the shrew.
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Alterations in lipids linked to intestinal maturation and enterocyte differentiation were reviewed. The 3 main lipid components of cell membranes, ie cholesterol, phospholipids and glycolipids, were examined. Cell phospholipid content increases from the crypts to the mid-villus, which accounts for membrane development and organelle growth in differentiating cells. Changes in the proportion of phospholipid polar head groups occur in brush border membrane during postnatal maturation of the small intestine. The possibility that phospholipid fatty acid composition in differentiating cells might be altered by dietary lipids is discussed. Cholesterol biosynthesis mainly occurs in crypt and lower villus cells whereas its absorption from luminal content and esterification into lipoproteins occur in upper villus mature cells. Cholesterol cell content increases in mature cells in comparison to immature cells on the one hand, and in the distal by comparison with proximal parts of the intestine on the other. Increasing cholesterol content is generally correlated with decreasing membrane fluidity, which in turn could modulate functional properties of the mucosa. Glycosphingolipids are mainly found in the brush border membrane, which contains 20-30% glycolipids by weight of total lipids. These components tend to reinforce the membrane stability and significantly contribute to the surface properties of epithelial cells. The latter undergo noticeable changes during cell differentiation and postnatal maturation. Significant changes in both the glycosidic and lipophilic parts of glycosphingolipid molecules occur in differentiating cells and are of possible importance in the process of mucosal maturation. It is possible that the addition of a terminal sialic acid (sialyltransferase activity) instead of a terminal galactose (galactosyltransferase) to an endogenous acceptor (lactosylceramide) could constitute an important event in the differentiation process, and may account for the increasing content of hematosides along the intestinal villus of rat. Alterations in lipid counterpart mainly consist of hydroxylation of fatty acids in hematosides during postnatal maturation or in glucosylceramides during cell differentiation. Collectively these intestinal lipid changes may contribute in part to the development of mucosal barrier, selective permeability and functional properties of the mature intestinal mucosa.
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The edible bird's nest extract from Collocalia spp. was found to contain a glycoprotein which could potentiate mitogenic response of human peripheral blood monocytes to stimulation with Concanavalin A or Phytohemagglutinin A. The potentiating effect of the extract was most marked at suboptimal mitogenic concentrations of these lectins, decreasing the 50% optimal concentration of Con A and PHA by 6- and 2.5- folds respectively. The potentiating effect was exerted early during the first 10 hours following stimulation with Con A. This potentiation activity was not dialysable, but it was stable to limited digestion with trypsin, alkaline pH and extraction with ether.
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Quantitative analyses were made of carbohydrates and amino acids in Collocalia mucoid. The glycoprotein contains about 9% sialic acid, 7.2% galactosamine, 5.3% glucosamine, 16.9% galactose, and 0.7% fucose. The sialic acid is probably N-acetyl-4-O-acetylneuraminic acid. The most abundant amino acids are serine, threonine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, proline, and valine.