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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DIETARY CAROTENOIDS, RETINOIDS, AND BIOACTIVATES ON HEALTHY AGING Title: Lutein, zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin content in egg yolk and their absence in fish and seafood

Authors
item Rasmussen, Helen -
item Muzhingi, Tawanda -
item Eggert, Emily M -
item Johnson, Elizabeth -

Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 18, 2012
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Citation: Rasmussen, H.M., Muzhingi, T., Eggert, E.R., Johnson, E.J. 2012. Lutein, zeaxanthin, meso-zeaxanthin content in egg yolk and their absence in fish and seafood. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 27(2):139-144.

Interpretive Summary: Lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) are carotenoids (plant pigments) common to fruits and vegetables that are selectively taken up into the central region of the retina (macula) of the eye where they are thought to protect against the development of age-related eye diseases. Meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) is also found in the macula, but is derived from L. It has been previously reported that MZ was found in certain fish and seafood. However, concentrations were not given. MZ has been reported to be used as an ingredient in poultry feed in Mexico but not currently in the U.S. Therefore, it was determined that Mexican eggs could be a potential dietary source of MZ. The purpose of this work was to determine the amount of MZ in fish, seafood, and egg yolk. Commonly consumed fish, seafood and egg yolk from California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Mexico were analyzed for L, Z, and MZ. For all fish and seafoods, L, Z, and MZ were not detected. In egg yolk from the U.S, L + Z levels ranged from 1.0 to 1.6 mg/100 g yolk with L levels being 1.3-1.6 times higher than that of Z. Only one egg yolk (California) contained a small amount of MZ (0.01 mg/100 g yolk). Carotenoid concentrations were significantly higher in Mexican eggs. In conclusion, in the U.S. the presence of MZ in the macula is not likely due to dietary sources of this compound, although this a possibility when consuming eggs of chickens fed MZ.

Technical Abstract: Lutein (L) and zeaxanthin (Z) are carotenoids that are selectively taken up into the macula of the eye where they may protect against age-related macular degeneration. Meso-zeaxanthin (MZ) is also found in the macula, but is derived from L. It has been reported that MZ was found in certain fish and seafood. However, concentrations were not quantitated. MZ is used as an ingredient in poultry feed in Mexico but not in the United States (US). The purpose of this work was to quantify MZ in fish, seafood, and egg in efforts to determine dietary contributions to its presence in the macula. Fish, seafood and eggs from California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Mexico were analyzed for L, Z, and MZ using reverse- and chiral normal-phase HPLC. For all fish and seafoods, L, Z, and MZ were not detected. In eggs from the US, L + Z levels ranged from 1.0 to 1.6 mg/100 g yolk with L levels being 1.3–1.6 times higher than that of Z. One egg (California) contained a small amount of MZ (0.01 mg/100 g yolk). Carotenoid concentrations were significantly higher in Mexican eggs (p < 0.025, 3.44 mg/100 g yolk) with the ratio of L:Z:MZ being 1:1:1.3. In the US the presence of MZ in the macula is not likely due to dietary sources, although this a possibility when consuming eggs of chickens fed MZ.

Last Modified: 12/25/2014
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