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Evolution of antibacterial activity of aqueous and methanolic extracts of the truffle Terfezia claveryi against Pseudomonas aeruginosa



To investigate the antibacterial activities of aqueous and methanolic extracts, as well as, partially purified proteins extracted from Terfezia claveryi aqueous, against Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa). Five percent of the aqueous and methanolic extracts were added to growth medium of P. aeruginosa. The extract that caused growth inhibition (aqueous) was then partially purified using ammonium sulfate precipitation, gel chromatography and ion exchange chromatography. Antibacterial activities of the obtained fractions were assessed using agar-well diffusion test, and then all the results were compared with reference antibiotics. Excremental procedures were performed at the Department of Nutrition and Food Technology and the animal house of Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan during the year 2000. Five percent aqueous extract inhibited the growth of P. aeruginosa by 40.9%, while methanolic extract was ineffective. Partial purification of the aqueous extract using ammonium sulfate precipitation revealed that antimicrobial activity was within the second pellet (25-45%). This fraction was then subjected to gel permeation chromatography using Sephadex G-25. Peak one, of the 2 peaks obtained, possessed higher antimicrobial activity. Peak one was then subjected to ion exchange chromatography using DEAE Sephadex. Only peak one, of the 3 peaks obtained, showed a slight antimicrobial activity. Relative antimicrobial activities of these fractions were found to be superior to most of reference antibiotics used for comparison. Aqueous extract of the truffle Terfezia claveryi contains a potent antimicrobial agent that is protein in nature and may be used in the treatment of eye infections caused by P. aeruginosa.
Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 9 (1): 52-56, 2010
ISSN 1680-5194
© Asian Network for Scientific Information, 2010
Corresponding Author: S. Janakat, Department of Nutrition and Food Technology, Jordan University of Science and Technology, P.O.
Box 3030, Irbid, Jordan
Hepatoprotective Activity of Desert Truffle (Terfezia claveryi) in
Comparison with the Effect of Nigella sativa in the Rat
S. Janakat and M. Nassar
Department of Nutrition and Food Technology,
Jordan University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 3030, Irbid, Jordan
Abstract: Hepatoprotective activity of Terfezia claveryi aqueous, methanolic and petroleum ether extracts
was evaluated in the rat using a potent hepatotoxin carbon tetrachloride (CCl ) in comparison with the
hepatoprotective activity of a reference plant Nigella sativa. The extracts were administrated via gavage three
days prior to CCl intoxication followed by two additional doses one hour and four hours after CCl injection.
4 4
Twenty four hours after intoxication, blood samples were collected and serum bilirubin concentration,
Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP), Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
activities were measured. Body weight was measured then livers were excises and livers were weighed. The
aqueous, methanolic and petroleum ether extracts of T. claveryi and N. sativa lowered all liver function tests
significantly. However, the aqueous extract of T. claveryi almost normalized the effect of CCl and was as
effective as the petroleum ether extract of the reference plant N. sativa. Moreover, the aqueous extract of T.
claveryi normalized CCl induced hepatomegaly, which was comparable to the effect of petroleum ether
extract of N. sativa. These results demonstrate that aqueous extract of T. claveryi possesses a very powerful
hepatoprotective activity against CCl and it is as effective as petroleum ether extract of the reference plant
N. sativa.
Key words: Truffles, Terfezia claveryi, Nigella sativa, hepatoprotective, bilirubin, ALP, AST, ALT
Truffles grow naturally in many parts of the world
including particular localities of the Arabian Desert (Al-
Delaimy, 1977). Truffles are considered one of the
oldest foods used by the Arabs. They are well known for
their nutritional importance especially when compared
with meat and fish (Bokhary and Parvez, 1993). The
Bedouins use truffles as a substitute for meat in their
diet. Its preparation and cooking methods are similar to
those of meat (Al-Delaimy and Abu-Ghraib, 1970).
Truffles are healthy foods that are low in calories and fat
and rich in fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Their
protein content is higher than that of most vegetables Sample preparation: Terfezia claveryi which is dark
and their amino acid composition is comparable to that brown red in color, small in size and round in shape was
of animal proteins (Gazzani et al., 1998a; Gazzani et al., purchased from local markets of Baghdad. The sample
1998b; Murcia et al., 2002). was washed carefully, peeled and preserved at -20 C
Truffles are traditionally used in folk medicine for the until use. Nigella sativa seeds were purchased from the
treatment of eye ailments in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the local market of Irbid. The sample was sorted from
Eastern Badia of Jordan (Janakat et al., 2004). impurities, washed and air-dried then was kept at room
Furthermore, truffles have been used as convalescent temperature until use.
for several centuries due to their high content of
antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, ß-carotene and many Chemicals: Bilirubin, ALP, ALT and AST kits were
phenolic compounds, which are very specialized purchased from Cromatest, Spain. CCl was purchased
scavengers of peroxy radicals and are able to reduce from Pharmacos LTD, England.
and chelate ferric ions, which induce lipid peroxidation
(Gazzani et al., 1998a; Gazzani et al., 1998b; Murcia et Test animals: Male Wister albino rats weighing 170-200
al., 2002). The effect of truffles in general and of T. g were obtained from the Animal House Unit at Jordan
claveryi in particular on liver functions was not University of Science and Technology. The animals were
documented earlier. Since the overall incidence of liver
diseases in the general population is about 1%
(Rochling, 2001) and since truffles are very rich source
of antioxidant then most probably truffles will act as a
hepatoprotective agent. Therefore the present study was
undertaken to evaluate the hepatoprotective activity of
aqueous, methanolic and petroleum ether extracts of T.
claveryi in comparison with a reference plant N. sativa
extracts against experimental liver damage inflicted by
CCl .
Pak. J. Nutr., 9 (1): 52-56, 2010
housed in suspended screen wire cages in an air- Analysis System (SAS, 2004). Least significant
conditioned room at 20±3 C and maintained on tap difference was calculated by Students t-test. Different
water and standard diet ad libitum. All animal superscriptsdiffer significantly p<0.05.
experiments conformed to local animal care regulations.
Preparation of extracts: Frozen Iraqi truffles were
homogenized using 1:3 (w/v) of each solvent (distilled
water, methanol or petroleum ether), using a household
blender on full speed for one minute. Whereas, N. sativa
seeds were first milled using a household electric mill
then the sample was mixed with each solvent using a
household blender on full speed. The homogenates
were refrigerated overnight, filtered through cheesecloth
and then were centrifuged at 4000 rpm for 15 min. The
supernatants were then dried using rotary evaporator.
The dried matter of the aqueous and methanolic extracts
were re-suspended using distilled water while the dried
matter of the petroleum ether extracts were re-
suspended using paraffin oil and kept at -20 C until use
(Nielsen et al., 1997; Janakat et al., 2004).
Experimental design: Hepatotoxicity was induced in rats
using a (1:1) mixture of CCl :olive oil, administrated
intraperitoneally at a single dose of 2 ml CCl /kg body
weight (Janakat and Al-Merie, 2002a,b). Rats were
divided into groups of five. The control group consisted
of normal untreated rats (negative control). The other
four groups were intoxicated with CCl as described
above. Intoxicated groups were treated either with T.
claveryi or with N. sativa extracts (aqueous, methanolic,
or petroleum ether). One intoxicated group did not
receive any extracts (positive control). The test groups
were treated twice daily with the extracts using
intragastric tube for three days. On the fourth day, the
rats were intoxicated with CCl :Olive oil mixture
intraperitoneally, followed by two additional doses of
truffle extracts after 1 and 4 h of CCl injection. The
negative and positive control groups received distilled
water instead of the extracts. Blood samples were
collected 24 h after CCl administration (Janakat and Al-
Merie, 2002a,b).
Assessment of liver function: Rats were anaesthetized
with ether and then decapitated for blood collection.
Serum was separated by centrifugation at 3000 rpm for
10 min. The level of total serum bilirubin and the activity
of ALP, ALT and AST were assayed according to the
methods of Jendrassik and Groff (1938), Bergmeyer and
Brent (1974), Reitman and Frankel (1957) and Berger
and Rudolf (1963), respectively (Jendrassik and Groff,
1938; Bergmeyer and Brent, 1974; Reitman and Frankel,
1957; Berger and Rudolf, 1963).
Statistical analysis: Data were analyzed using analysis
of variance of the complete randomized design (ANOVA)
using the General Linear Model (GLM) of the Statistical
Effect of T. claveryi extracts on liver function tests:
Table 1 depicts the effect of T. claveryi extracts on liver
function tests. As expected the positive control group
which was intoxicated with the potent hepatotoxin CCl
had significantly higher bilirubin concentration (0.50
mg/dl) in comparison to the negative control group (0.14
mg/dl). This comes in accordance with the all
researchers findings since the classical article of
Recknagel, 1967 to the present day (Recknagel, 1967;
Muchizuki et al., 2009). The elevation of these
parameters is attributed to significant free radical
mediated hepatotoxicity leading to cell necrosis, fibrosis
and cirrhosis. The mechanism by which CCl causes
damage involves the biotransformation of CCl by
cytochrome P450 system into a trichloromethyl free
radical (CCl ), which in turn is transformed into a more
reactive trichloromethyl peroxyl radical (CCl O ) leading
3 2
to lipid peroxidation and hepatocellular injury [18].
Moreover, ingestion of T. claveryi extracts caused a
strong significant reduction in all liver function tests
performed. Serum bilirubin level decreased from 0.5 to
0.16, 0.31 and 0.4 mg/dl in aqueous, methanolic and
petroleum ether extracts respectively. Whereas, the
activity of ALP decreased from 144-70, 105 and 126 U/L
respectively, ALT decreased from 791-111, 356 and 511
U/L respectively and AST decreased from 795-188, 420,
and 612 U/L respectively. This can be attributed to the
high antioxidants contents in T. claveryi, such as vitamin
C and ß-carotene (Gazzani et al., 1998a; Gazzani et al.,
1998b; Murcia et al., 2002) which stop the mounting of
peroxyl radical formation and preventing plasma
membrane bleb formation, which conserve the integrity
of the plasma membrane from rupturing and cytosolic
enzymes such as ALP, ALT and ASP from being
released into the blood stream (Mehendale et al., 1994).
Effect of N. sativa extracts on liver function tests:
Table 2 depicts the effect of N. sativa aqueous,
methanolic and petroleum ether extracts on liver function
tests. Elevated bilirubin level induced by CCl decreased
significantly when aqueous, methanolic and petroleum
ether extracts of N. sativa were used (from 0.49-0.34,
0.42 and 0.21 mg/dl respectively). The activity of ALP
decreased from 142-105, 133 and 81 U/L respectively,
ALT decreased from 781-385, 553 and 196 U/L
respectively and the activity of AST decreased from 790-
404, 601 and 210 U/L respectively. As evident form the
above mentioned results all extracts were
hepatoprotective, yet the hydrophobic extract was the
most potent, this can be attributed to the volatile oil
which is abundant in N. sativa seeds that has been
Pak. J. Nutr., 9 (1): 52-56, 2010
Table 1: Effect of T. claveryi extracts on liver function tests
Aqueous Methanolic Petroleum
Group -ve control +ve control extract extract ether extract
BRN (mg/dl) 0.14±0.003 0.50±0.009 0.16±0.005 0.31±0.011 0.40±0.007
e a d c b
ALP (U/L) 46±1.034 144±1.035 70±1.409 105±1.611 126±1.034
e a d c b
ALT (U/L) 108±1.234 791±2.566 111±1.235 356±2.45 511±1.232
d a d c b
AST (U/L) 170±0.889 795±2.18 188±3.905 420±1.235 612±1.235
e a d c b
ALP; Alkaline Phosphatase, ALT; Alanine Aminotransferase, AST; Aspartate Aminotransferase, BRN; Bilirubin,-ve control; Normal rats,
+ve control; CCl intoxicated rats. Values are expressed as mean±SEM (n = 5). P-values were calculated by Students t-test.
Means with superscripts (b,c,d,e) differ significantly from the positive control group, p<0.05
Table 2: Effect of N. sativa extracts on liver function tests
Aqueous Methanolic Petroleum
Group -ve control +ve control extract extract ether extract
BRN (mg/dl) 0.12±0.005 0.49±0.009 0.34±0.041 0.42±0.008 0.21±0.009
e a c b d
ALP (U/L) 46±1.409 142±1.784 105±2.523 133±1.596 81±1.684
e a c b d
ALT (U/L) 111±1.502 781±1.491 385±1.491 553±2.016 196±1.491
e a c b d
AST (U/L) 171±1.235 790±1.491 404±1.127 601±1.008 210±1.127
e a c b d
ALP; Alkaline Phosphatase, ALT; Alanine Aminotransferase, AST; Aspartate Aminotransferase, BRN; Bilirubin,-ve control; Normal rats,
+ve control; CCl intoxicated rats. Values are expressed as mean±SEM (n = 5). P-values were calculated by Students t-test.
Means with superscripts (b,c,d,e) differ significantly from the positive control group, p<0.05
shown to contain many antioxidants such as
thymoquinone, monoterpenes (El-Tahir et al., 1993). N.
sativa seeds extracts were also found to cause
immunomodulatoion (El-Kadi and Kandil, 1987), act as
anti-inflammatory agent (Houghton et al., 1995) anti-
tumor agent (El-Daly, 1998) and prevents liver fibrosis,
cirrhosis and decreases liver enzymes elevation
induced by the potent hepatotoxin CCl in the rat (Kanter
et al., 2005; Turkdogan et al., 2001; Turkdogan et al.,
2003), the hepatoprotective effect of N. sativa was
attributed to the presence of highly potent antioxidants
such as thymoquinone, carvacrol, t-anethol and 4-
terpineol, phytosterols, phenols and tocopherols, which
prevent the transformation of CCl to trichloromethyl free
radical and trichloromethyl peroxyl radical (Houghton et Fig. 1: Effect of T. claveryi extracts on Liver weight/body
al., 1995; Ramadan et al., 2003; Daba and Abdel- weight ratio. -ve control; Normal rats, +ve control;
Rahman, 1998; Burits and Bucar, 2000; Dakhakhny et CCl intoxicated rats. Aq; Aqueous, Meth;
al., 2000). Methanolic, Ether; Petroleum ether. Values are
Effect of T. claveryi extracts on liver weight/body calculated by Students t-test. Means with different
weight ratio: Figure 1 depicts the effect of T. claveryi superscripts (a,b) differ significantly (p<0.05)
extracts on Liver Weight/Body Weight Ratio (LW/BW).
CCl intoxicated rats developed pronounced in the methanolic and petroleum ether extracts, this
hepatomegaly in comparison with the normal control, inhibited the biotransformation and mounting of CCl to
LW/BW almost doubled in the positive control. This CCl and CCl O thus decreasing the need for
hepatomegaly can be attributed to the action of detoxification enzymes and transporters (Recknagel et
Constitutive Androstane Receptor (CAR), which is a al., 1989; Huang et al., 2005).
central regulator of xenobiotic metabolism. CAR
activation induces hepatic expression of detoxification Effect of N. sativa extracts on liver weight/body weight
enzymes and transporters which increases liver size ratio: Figure 2 depicts the effect of N. sativa extracts on
(Huang et al., 2005). The ingestion of T. claveryi liver LW/BW ratio. Once again CCl intoxicated rats
aqueous extract normalized the effect of CCl on LW/BW developed pronounced hepatomegaly in comparison
ratio, whereas methanolic extract decreased LW/BW with the normal control which is attributed to the action
ratio significantly while petroleum ether extract was of CAR which increases the expression of detoxification
ineffective. This indicates that the quality and quantity of enzymes and transporters that leads to increased liver
antioxidants in the aqueous extract was superior to that size (Huang et al., 2005). Aqueous and methanolic
expressed as mean±SEM (n = 5). P-values were
3 3 2
. .
Pak. J. Nutr., 9 (1): 52-56, 2010
Fig. 2: Effect of N. sativa extracts on Liver weight/body
weight ratio. -ve control; Normal rats, +ve control;
CCl intoxicated rats. Aq; Aqueous, Meth;
Methanolic, Ether; Petroleum ether. Values are
expressed as mean±SEM (n = 5). P-values were
calculated by Students t-test. Means with different
superscripts (a,b) differ significantly (p<0.05)
extracts of N. sativa did not affect the significant increase
induced by CCl . Whereas, the ingestion of N. sativa
petroleum ether extract normalized the effect of CCl on
liver weight/body weight ratio which indicates the
abundance of fat soluble antioxidants such as
tocopherols, phytosterols, and phenols in N. sativa
crude oil plays a major role in the prevention of
hepatomegaly (Ramadan et al., 2003).
Conclusion: The aqueous extract of T. claveryi is as
potent as the effect of the reference plant N. sativa seeds
petroleum ether extract and can be used to prevent liver
damage induced by oxidative stress.
We would like to express our gratitude to the Deanship
of Research at Jordan University of Science and
Technology for the financial support of this work, grant
number (156/2004).
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... The juice of desert truffles, mainly of T. nivea, T. claveryi, and T. boudieri, has been used in the Middle East to treat eye and skin diseases1617. More recently food scientists have focused on the bioactivities of truffles, including their antioxidant, antiviral, anticancer, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, antimutagenic and antiinflammatory activities [9,12,18192021222324252627. They have been popular as functional foods in traditional medicine have been found to contain substances with powerful antioxidant activities, including ascorbic acid, anthocyanins, esterified phenols, free phenolics, flavonoids, and carotenoids [9,12,17]. ...
... The extract of T. olbiensis show lower activity against S. aureus, B. subtilis, S. mutans, P. vulgaris, S. typhi, C. tropicalis, but observed to be very active against E. coli (15 mm) when compared with the control group (Table 1). The juice of desert truffles, and mainly of T. boudieri, T. claveryi and T. nivea, has been used to treat eye diseases and skin lesions for centuries [4,18,20]. Janakat et al.1920 investigated the efficacy of aqueous and methanolic extracts of T. claveryi as well as partially purified proteins from these extracts against S. aureus and P. aeruginosa. Aldebasi et al. [35] determined the potential antibacterial activity of T. claveryi aqueous extract against S. aureus, S. epidermitis, S. faecalis, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumonia, P. mirabilis isolates causing corneal ulcer. ...
... The juice of desert truffles, and mainly of T. boudieri, T. claveryi and T. nivea, has been used to treat eye diseases and skin lesions for centuries [4,18,20]. Janakat et al.1920 investigated the efficacy of aqueous and methanolic extracts of T. claveryi as well as partially purified proteins from these extracts against S. aureus and P. aeruginosa. Aldebasi et al. [35] determined the potential antibacterial activity of T. claveryi aqueous extract against S. aureus, S. epidermitis, S. faecalis, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumonia, P. mirabilis isolates causing corneal ulcer. ...
Full-text available
In this study, the antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of Terfezia boudieri, T. claveryi, T. olbiensis, Picoa lefebvrei and P. juniperi were investigated. It was determined that the methyl alcohol extraction of T. boudieri, T. claveryi, T. olbiensis, P. lefebvrei and P. juniperi inhibit the development of E. coli, B. subtilis, P. aeruginosa, S. aureus, S. mutans, P. vulgaris, S. typhi, C. tropicalis and Trichophyton sp. at various levels (8 mm to 22 mm diameter) and their effect to remove the DPPH radical was more efficient at groups to which samples of 25 μL (1.22% to 2.58%), 50 μL (2.31% to 3.28%) and 100 μL (5.24% to 8.00%) were added. It was determined that methyl alcohol that was extracted from Terfezia species were more effective than Picoa species against test microorganisms. When the groups were compared in terms of concentration, the highest level of free radical scavenging effect at the group, to which we added a 100 μL sample, was seen at T. boudieri with 8.00%.
... This result encourages the use of natural Kamah extracts instead of synthetic antioxidants. Despite their intriguing chemical structure and antioxidant function, desert truffles have been shown to have promising antibiotic activity [26]. All of these findings point render desert truffles a fascinating crop to produce and development of a valuable antibiotic substitute to combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens. ...
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The desert truffle is a wild mushroom, also referred to as Kamah or Fagaa. Kamah is a rich source of polysaccharides that have medicinal, antitumoral, antibacterial, and immune-stimulant effects. Studies of hypogeous fungi, especially desert truffles, have recently entered traditional studies of epigeous higher Basidiomycetes. Based on the tasty desert truffle Kamah obtained from Hafr Al-Batin Governorate, Saudi Arabia, as a source of potential antimicrobial agents with both the aim of obtaining novel agents toward bacteria and Fungi of clinical significance. We specifically tested the antibacterial and antifungal efficacy of methanol extracts of Kamah against the Gram-negative bacterial pathogens reference strains E. coli ATCC® 8739, P. Aeruginosa ATCC®9027, S. aureus ATCC®6538, Enterococci NCTC®775 and opportunistic fungus C. albicans ATCC®1231.The extract had MIC (minimum inhibitory concentrations) varying from 100 g/ml to 500 g/ml against the pathogens examined. The LC-QTOF-MS (liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry) phytoconstituents assay chromatogram indicated that the methanol extracts of Kamah comprises 264 with retention periods varying from 1.04 to 18.86, which were Original Research Article Al-Mazaideh and Al-Swailmi; JPRI, 33(24B): 13-21, 2021; Article no.JPRI.67737 14 categorized as unsaturated and saturated natural ingredients sch as aromatic compounds, carboxylic acids, oxygenated hydrocarbons, fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins).The main compounds were discovered to be 21 with peak areas larger than 2X10-5 and retention periods varying from 2.3 to 9.13.The main known substances with the maximum peaks were adenosine (11.724), phenylalanine (7.711), phenprobamate (7.711), and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5.711). Such preliminary findings, we assume, are encouraging in terms of obtaining a beneficial antibiotic substitute to battle antibiotic-resistant pathogens especially eye infections.
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Black truffle, a culinary and medical fungus, is highly valued worldwide for its nutritional and therapeutic importance. To enhance the existing knowledge about the beneficial properties, this study investigates the antioxidant, antihyperlipidemic, and anti-inflammatory effects of black truffle extract in in vitro biochemical assays and animal study. Briefly, black truffle extract was administered orally to treat streptozotocin- (STZ-) induced diabetic Wistar rats for 45 days. At the end of the experimental duration, rats were sacrificed to perform biochemical and gene expression analyses related to lipid regulatory and inflammatory pathways. Our results indicated that total cholesterol, triglycerides, free fatty acids, phospholipids, and low-density lipoprotein in different tissues and circulation were significantly increased in diabetic rats. Furthermore, the β-hydroxy β-methylglutaryl-CoA enzyme was also significantly increased; lipoprotein lipase and lecithin–cholesterol acyltransferase enzymes were significantly decreased in diabetic rats. However, the above conditions were reversed upon black truffle extract feeding. Furthermore, black truffle extract was also found to downregulate the expression of proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6) and lipid regulatory genes (serum regulatory element-binding protein-1 and fatty acid synthase). The truffle extract-treated effects were comparable to glibenclamide and medication commonly used to treat diabetes mellitus. Overall, our results suggested that black truffle possesses strong antihyperlipidemic and anti-inflammatory effects on diabetic rats. These findings will enhance the current knowledge about the therapeutic importance of black truffles. They might be exploited as a possible food supplement or even as a natural source of pharmaceutical agents for diabetes prevention and treatment.
(Changed) Truffles are rich in proteins, essential amino acids, carbohydrates, fibre and minerals, and although the edible portion of desert truffles has a size ranging from that of a walnut to a large apple, it could be an important and alternative source of proteins for a good part of the population in developing countries that suffer from protein malnutrition. Terfezia and Picoa truffles showed a very good antioxidant capacity and scavenged free radicals such as lipoperoxyl (LOO·), hydroxyl (OH·) and H2O2. When the Rancimat test was used to obtain information on whether the antioxidant activity resists heating at high temperature, raw Terfezia was observed to provide higher antioxidant protection than Picoa. When the antioxidant activity was measured for 30 days by the linoleic acid assay, both truffles showed high antioxidant activity. The quantitative evaluation of antioxidant capacity based on TEAC is used to provide a ranking order of antioxidants. Both raw Terfezia and Picoa showed a TEAC value of around 4. The enrichment of stews and casseroles with desert truffles would represent an increase in antioxidants in our diet. Desert truffles can be considered promising candidates for industrial processing, to replace synthetic antioxidants with natural truffle extracts. Several studies carried out on the sensory and nutritional quality and various biological activities of desert truffles in recent years indicate their potential for use as a functional food and therapeutic agent, but further investigations are recommended on how to incorporate their chemical and biological properties into value-added truffle or truffle-related products.
Fresh truffles are a highly prized commodity and a delicacy of food dishes in many Arabian and other countries of the world. The main problem is to maintain their quality, freshness and flavour since they are highly perishable, susceptible to many fungal and microorganisms infestations if not preserved properly. The quality, freshness and flavour can be maintained by adopting many preservation methods. Refrigeration, drying, freezing, canning, ultrasounds, modified atmosphere packaging and irradiation technological processes are analysed and discussed in this chapter. While some of these are used as hygiene controls, or for inactivating microorganisms or natural toxins, all are preservation methods that can be used alone or in combination to prolong the shelf life of desert truffles. In general, none of these preservation methods generates great losses in the nutritional composition of foods. However, some of the methods may result in the loss of up to 85 % of the antioxidant activity of truffles. Different cooking methods—boiling, pressure cooking, frying, microwaves, griddling and baking—used to prepare desert truffles and also as preservation methods are revised. Although losses of up to 61 % of their nutritional value were recorded depending on the cooking method used, these techniques are cost effective and contribute to preserving this valuable food item.
Throughout human history, desert truffles have been used for their nutrition, as functional foods for health promotion and disease prevention, and as treatments for a variety of diseases, particularly eye diseases and skin lesions. Many of the details of this long history have been lost through time, due to the largely oral traditions of the populations that have used desert truffles. Nonetheless, valuable information about the medicinal uses of desert truffles has survived through the traditional medicines that are still practiced in the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahara, the African Kalahari, and the Australian Outback. The use of desert truffles in traditional medicine has led to modern scientific investigation into their bioactive properties. This research has revealed that desert truffles are nutritious and contain multiple antioxidants and has demonstrated that desert truffle extracts have antimicrobial properties that are effective against common pathogens that cause disease in humans. The research reviewed in this chapter suggests that desert truffles may potentially represent an untapped source of novel pharmaceuticals that could treat a wide variety of modern-day ailments.
The first evidence of the use of desert truffles (hypogeous Ascomycetes), which have nourished populations in the world’s arid and semiarid areas throughout history, is found among the oldest records of human culture. Desert truffles were coveted by the Bronze Age Amorites, mentioned in the Bible, and discussed by the Classic Greeks, Romans, and in the Jewish Talmud. Islam’s Prophet Muhammad recommended their medicinal use. The vernacular terms for desert truffles have changed little through the millennia, suggesting a common desert truffle culture. Travelers throughout history have recorded the culinary, medicinal, and artistic uses of desert truffles among the local communities they passed through, observing that desert truffles have often been a survival food for these communities. The desert truffles with the longest record of use are the species of Tirmania and Terfezia. The people with the longest recorded use of desert truffles are the Bedouins. The Khoisan of the Kalahari and the Aborigines of Australia have also had a long, yet mostly unrecorded, history of desert truffle use. These three different cultures show similarities in their cooking techniques and medicinal uses of desert truffles. Efforts to cultivate them in their growing habitats may slow down the demise of desert truffles in the wild, offer local economic incentives, and protect the desert truffle culture among indigenous peoples. This chapter will attempt to offer a glimpse into the long and rich history of the use of desert truffles among the different populations that have gathered them and depended on them throughout history.
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This research focuses on the activity of the desert truffle Terfezia boudieri Chatin against its associated microflora. It consists of the enumeration and pre-identification of soil microflora associated with ascocarps of T. boudieri Chatin, in contact with fungus ascocarps and at 10 cm deep. Enumeration reveals that the number of some microorganisms is higher when in contact with ascocarps of T. boudieri than at 10 cm deep. Also, bacteria are more dominant than fungi and actinomycetes (especially Bacillus sp., Pseudomonas sp., Micrococcus sp., Streptococcus sp.,Proteus sp.). The number of bacteria is estimated to be 8.3 - 8.6x107 ± 0.5x107 CFU/g of dry soil, while fungal genera (with a dominance of Penicillium sp., Aspergillus sp., Mucor sp. and Alternariasp.) are between 8.6x104 ± 0.8x104 and 4.5x105±0.8x105 CFU/g and actino-mycetes (especiallyStreptomyces sp.) are between 8.2x102 ± 0.3x102 and 2.2 x 103 ± 0.3 x 103 CFU/g. Microorganisms included in the nitrogen cycle are represented by free nitrogen fixing bacteria (Azotobacters) (2.2x101 ± 0.8x101MPN/g), ammonifying bacteria (4x103 ±1.0 x 101 MPN/g), nitric bacteria (between 6.8X103 ±1.0x103 and 0.6x101 ±1.0x101 MPN/g), and nitrous bacteria (between 4x101 ±1.0x101 and 0.3X101 ±1.0x101 MPN/g). Bacteria included in the degradation of organic matter are mainly proteolytic (between 1.2x106 ±0.8 x 106 and 2.4X104 ±0.8 x 104 CFU/g), amylolytic (between 6.8 x 103 ± 0.2 x 103 and 0.6 x 101 ± 0.2 x 101 CFU/g) and cellulolytic bacteria (between 1.3x104 ±0.7x104 and 1.5x103 ±0.7x103 MPN/g) but lipolytic and denitrifying bacteria are absent. These results suggest that T. boudieri Chatin stimulate soil microflora in contact with their ascocarps.
The essential oil of black cumin seeds, Nigella sativa L., was tested for a possible antioxidant activity. A rapid evaluation for antioxidants, using two TLC screening methods, showed that thymoquinone and the components carvacrol, t-anethole and 4-terpineol demonstrated respectable radical scavenging property. These four constituents and the essential oil possessed variable antioxidant activity when tested in the diphenylpicrylhydracyl assay for non-specific hydrogen atom or electron donating activity. They were also effective ·OH radical scavenging agents in the assay for non-enzymatic lipid peroxidation in liposomes and the deoxyribose degradation assay.
Topical and subconjunctival therapy with gentamicin sulfate were compared in rabbits following the induction of Pseudomonas and lye corneal ulcers. The concentrations of antibiotic in the cornea were significantly higher with the subconjunctival than with the topical route for Pseudomonas ulcers. In the case of lye ulcers, however, the difference was not statistically significant. Therapeutic levels of gentamicin were maintained in corneal ulcers for at least six hours after a subconjunctivally given injection. In contrast, less than 1μg of the agent was detectable per gram of cornea one hour after cessation of topical application. This study suggests that bacterial ulcers of the cornea might best be managed with a combination of subconjunctival and frequent topical treatment.
Samples of Terfezia claveryi Chatin ascocarps were collected for chemical analysis yearly from 1983 to 1987 from northeastern, northern and central parts of Saudia Arabia. T. claveryi ascocarps contain l6% total protein (% dry weight), 28% total carbohydrate, 4% total crude fiber, and 2% total crude fat. T. claveryi was rich in mineral and carbohydrate contents. Nine saturated and four unsaturated fatty acids and 29 amino acids were also detected.