story to find out more.
By measuring the
body's metabolism of simple sugars, especially oligosaccharides used in
prebiotics, ARS scientists aim to create a baseline map charting anabolic
(constructive) activity during diets, supplement-taking and exercise. Click
the image for more information about it.
Spit: Worth Its Weight in Gold?
By Jan Suszkiw
May 1, 2006
Besides helping with eating and speakingeven singing and
whistlingsaliva is key to good oral health. Now, Agricultural Research
Service (ARS) scientists in Peoria,
Ill., are examining the secretion's potential to open a biochemical window into
the body's metabolism of sugars in food.
From such observations, ARS chemist
Price aims to create a baseline map of the body's constructive, or
anabolic, activity during exercise, dieting or supplement-taking. Of
particular interest is using the approach, called nutritional diagnostics, to
enumerate populations of friendly gut bacteria, based on the body's handling of
Derived from certain crops, these short-chain sugar molecules have
potential use as prebiotic food ingredients that can nourish
Bifidobacteria and other species whose colonic activity is tied to
gastrointestinal health in humans and poultry.
According to Price, with the ARS
Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, saliva is an ideal
medium for charting sugar metabolism because key metabolites are turned over
faster in saliva than in blood, and it's less intrusive to obtain. First,
though, saliva's assorted proteins, lipids, hormones and other components must
be identified, adds Price, in the center's
& Biocatalysis Research Unit.
To that end, he is collaborating with scientists at the
Scripps Research Institute in
San Diego, Calif., and at the University of
Rochester (UR) in New York. Their projectcalled salivary proteomics
catalogingdovetails with growing scientific interest in using saliva for
applications ranging from illegal-drug-use detection to disease diagnosis, such
as for dry mouth. This last one is an interest of ARS collaborator James
Melvin, who directs UR's Center for Oral Biology.
Price's studies in Peoria include using mass-spectrometry analysis to
measure the rate at which the body metabolizes simple sugars from food and
parcels them out as building-block material for salivary components, especially
into more complex lipids, sugars and glycoproteins.
about the research in the May 2006 issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.