Simmondsin From Jojoba
Checked for Appetite Suppression
Harvesting a natural appetite suppressant from
jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-bah) may give U.S. farmers one more reason to
grow the plant, which is native to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico.
Jojoba oil is already a popular ingredient in cosmetics and shampoos.
But jojoba meal, left over after oil extraction, was thought to contain
compounds toxic to animals. The reason: Weanling mice ate less and lost weight
on a diet containing 15 percent jojoba meal.
In the 1990s, Belgian researcher Marnix Cokelaere discovered that simmondsin
acted as a hunger satiation ingredient. This allowed him to reinterpret earlier
experiments with mice and cattle fed diets supplemented with jojoba meal.
Rather than being toxic, the ingredient satisfied the animals' hunger, causing
the decline in feed intake. Cokelaere is now examining the prospect of a
positive outcome from the earlier negative results: a safe appetite
Researchers at the ARS National Center
for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois, are working with
Belgian scientists to study how simmondsins are metabolized. In Belgium, ARS
agricultural engineer Ronald A. Holser attached a chemical label to simmondsin
to identify its breakdown products. The purpose was to understand the mechanism
by which simmondsin affects hunger by tracking its metabolism in laboratory
"When we learned that simmondsin was a hunger satiation ingredient, we had
already been working on making its protein more valuable as a cosmetic
ingredient," says New Crops research leader Thomas P. Abbott. In 1999,
Abbott and his team patented a process of isolating and extracting simmondsin
from jojoba meal. Since then, they've used the process to produce larger
quantities of the most bioactive type of simmondsin.
Jojoba meal has 25 to 30 percent protein, making it a nutritious feed for
cattleonce the simmondsin is extracted. Before the extraction process was
developed, most jojoba meal was buried in landfills as waste. Each year 3
million pounds of jojoba seeds are harvested in the United States. Jojoba oil
sells for $30 a pound, representing a market value of $30 million.
"If simmondsin is shown to be a safe appetite suppressant for humans, we
will have derived yet another valuable product from jojoba," says
Abbott.By Linda McGraw,
Agricultural Research Service Information Staff.
Thomas P. Abbott and
Ronald A. Holser are in the
USDA-ARS New Crops Research
Unit, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, 1815 N.
University St., Peoria, IL 61604; phone (309) 681-6533 [Abbott], (309)
681-6213, [Holser], fax (309) 681-6524.
"Simmondsin From Jojoba Checked for Appetite
Suppression" was published in the
issue of Agricultural Research magazine.