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Drying of red spring wheat seedlings (Triticum aestivum L.) by various methods and investigation of its phenylalanine ammonialyase stability in an in vitro protein digestion Lam, Melanie


Phenylketonuria and hyperphenylalanemia are autosomal recessive inborn errors of phenylalanine metabolism that are caused by mutations in the phenylalanine hydroxylase gene. Due to the stringency of the present dietary therapy, alternative treatments are being studied. Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL) is one of the potential dietary supplements for these patients. PAL is a well-studied plant enzyme which breaks down phenylalanine into trans-cinnamic acid and ammonia (Camm and Towers, 1973). It is found in the cytoplasm of the plant cells and is naturally encapsulated by plant cell walls which may protect it against the acidic pH environment in the gastrointestinal tract. It presumably degrades ingested Phe that circulates in the intestinal lumen. In this study, red spring wheat seedlings (Triticum aestivum L.) found to contain high PAL activity naturally were investigated as a potential alternative oral therapy. Specifically, the objectives were (1) to evaluate different drying methods on generating concentrated and dried preparation of wheat seedlings containing high levels of PAL activity; (2) to examine the retention of PAL activity over three months of storage under various storage conditions; (3) to determine the stability of PAL activity in simulated human digestion condition to establish if further study of using plant source enzyme in vivo is warranted. Freeze-drying (FD) was found to have retained the most activity (>90 % recovery dry wt basis) compared to air-drying (AD) and vacuum-microwave drying (VMD) for both leaf and residual seed/root samples. Pre-freezing of leaf tissues at -18 °C before FD significantly retained the highest PAL activity compared to pre-freezing at -25 °C, -35 °C, and -80 °C (P

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