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Phytic acid

| Section2 = {{Chembox Properties | C = 6 | H = 18 | O = 24 | P = 6 | Density = | MeltingPt = | BoilingPt = }} }} Phytic acid (known as inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6), inositol polyphosphate, or phytate when in salt form), discovered in 1903, a saturated cyclic acid, is the principal storage form of phosphorus in many plant tissues, especially bran and seeds. Phytic acid. phytochemicals.info It can be found in cereals and grains. Catabolites of phytic acid are called lower inositol polyphosphates. Examples are inositol penta- (IP5), tetra- (IP4), and triphosphate (IP3).

Significance in agriculture

Phosphorus and inositol in phytate form are not, in general, bioavailable to non ruminant animals because these animals lack the digestive enzyme phytase required to remove phosphate from the inositol in the phytate molecule. Ruminants are readily able to digest phytate because of the phytase produced by rumen microorganisms. In most commercial agriculture, nonruminant livestock, such as swine, fowl, and fish, are fed mainly grains, such as maize, legumes, and soybeans. Because phytate from these grains and beans is unavailable for absorption, the unabsorbed phytate passes through the gastrointestinal tract, elevating the amount of phosphorus in the manure. Excess phosphorus excretion can lead to environmental problems, such as eutrophication. Also, viable low-phytic acid mutant lines have been developed in several crop species in which the seeds have drastically reduced levels of phytic acid and concomitant increases in inorganic phosphorus. However, germination problems have reportedly hindered the use of these cultivars thus far. This may be due to phytic acid's critical role in both phosphorus and metal ion storage. The use of sprouted grains will reduce the quantity of phytic acids in feed, with no significant reduction of nutritional value. Phytate variants also have the potential to be used in soil remediation, to immobilize uranium, nickel and other inorganic contaminants.

Biological and physiological roles

Although indigestible for many animals, phytic acid and its metabolites as they occur in seeds and grains have several important roles for the seedling plant. Most notably, phytic acid functions as a phosphorus store, as an energy store, as a source of cations and as a source of myoinositol (a cell wall precursor). Phytic acid is the principal storage form of phosphorus in plant seeds. In animal cells, myoinositol polyphosphates are ubiquitous, and phytic acid (myoinositol hexakisphosphate) is the most abundant, with its concentration ranging from 10 to 100 µM in mammalian cells, depending on cell type and developmental stage. This compound is not obtained from the animal diet, but must be synthesized inside the cell from phosphate and inositol (which in turn is produced from glucose, usually in the kidneys). The interaction of intracellular phytic acid with specific intracellular proteins has been investigated in vitro, and these interactions have been found to result in the inhibition or potentiation of the physiological activities of those proteins. The best evidence from these studies suggests an intracellular role for phytic acid as a cofactor in DNA repair by nonhomologous end-joining. Other studies using yeast mutants have also suggested intracellular phytic acid may be involved in mRNA export from the nucleus to the cytosol. There are still major gaps in the understanding of this molecule, and the exact pathways of phytic acid and lower inositol phosphate metabolism are still unknown. As such, the exact physiological roles of intracellular phytic acid are still a matter of debate.

Food science

Phytic acid, mostly as phytate, is found within the hulls of seeds, including nuts, grains and pulses. In-home food preparation techniques can break down the phytic acid in all of these foods. Simply cooking the food will reduce the phytic acid to some degree. More effective methods are soaking in an acid medium, sprouting and lactic acid fermentation such as in sourdough and pickling. "Phytates in cereals and legumes". fao.org. No detectable phytate (less than 0.02 % of wet weight) was observed in vegetables such as scallion and cabbage leaves or in fruits such as apples, oranges, bananas, or pears.Degradation of Phytate in Foods by Phytases in Fruit and Vegetable Extracts B.Q. PHILLIPPY AND C.J. WYATT Phytic acid has a strong binding affinity to important minerals, such as calcium, iron, and zinc, although the binding of calcium with phytic acid is pH-dependent. The binding of phytic acid with iron is more complex, although there certainly is a strong binding affinity, molecules like phenols and tannins also influence the binding. When iron and zinc bind to phytic acid they form insoluble precipitates and are far less absorbable in the intestines. This process can therefore contribute to iron and zinc deficiencies in people whose diets rely on these foods for their mineral intake, such as those in developing countries and vegetarians. As a food additive, phytic acid is used as the preservative E391. Chestnuts contain 47 mg of phytic acid for 100g. Oak acorn of Quercus ilex contains 127 mg of phytic acid for 100g.

Medical uses

Studies examining the effects of phytic acid demonstrate that they are important in regulating vital cellular functions. Both in vivo and in vitro experiments have demonstrated striking anticancer (preventive as well as therapeutic) effects of phytic acid. Research shows anti-carcinogenic effects, albeit to a lesser extent and it acts in inhibiting cancer. In addition to reduction in cell proliferation, phytic acid increases differentiation of malignant cells often resulting in reversion to the normal phenotype.: Listed as IP-6 Inositol Hexaphosphate The study concludes that: "Given the numerous health benefits, phytates participation in important intracellular biochemical pathways, normal physiological presence in our cells, tissues, plasma, urine, etc., the levels of which fluctuate with intake, epidemiological correlates of phytate deficiency with disease and reversal of those conditions by adequate intake, and safety – all strongly suggest for phytates inclusion as an essential nutrient, perhaps a vitamin."

See also

References

"green air" © 2007 - Ingo Malchow, Webdesign Neustrelitz
This article based upon the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytic_acid, the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Further informations available on the list of authors and history: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Phytic_acid&action=history
presented by: Ingo Malchow, Mirower Bogen 22, 17235 Neustrelitz, Germany