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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Healthy Processed Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #395780

Research Project: Prevention of Obesity Related Metabolic Diseases by Bioactive Components of Food Processing Waste Byproducts and Mitigation of Food Allergies

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Title: Culinary history and health benefits of Brasenia schreberi leaf and hydrocolloids

item Yokoyama, Wallace - Wally
item Pan, James
item KIM, HYUNSOOK - Hanyang University

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2022
Publication Date: 12/1/2022
Citation: Yokoyama, W.H., Pan, J., Kim, H. 2022. Culinary history and health benefits of brasenia schreberi leaf and hydrocolloids. In: Kobori, M., Nabetani, H., Yokoyama, W., Liu, LS. Washoku, Japanese Food. ACS Symposium Series 1430. Washington, DC. American Chemical Society. p. 55-61.

Interpretive Summary: Brasenia schreberi, called Watershield in the United States or Junsai in Asian countries, is cultivated for food in Asia but is regarded as an invasive species in the United States. It’s culinary uses has been recorded in historical documents over 2000 years ago. B. schreberi is unique in producing a gel-like coating on its leaves. We analyzed the polysaccharide composition and molecular weight of the coating. The hypocholesterolemic effects of the gel were also investigated in an animal model of obesity and hypercholesterolemia.

Technical Abstract: Brasenia schreberi or watershield or junsai is a perennial water plant that is widely distributed in North America, the West Indies, northern South America, eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea), Australia, the Indian Subcontinent, and parts of Africa. It is cultivated in Japan and China for use in pricey soups. In Hangzhou, China the West Lake Watershield Soup is famous throughout the country. In Japan Akita Precture is known for its Junsai ponds. Junsai also has medicinal properties. Its astringent leaves are crushed and used to cure boils and abcesses. The young leaves are coated with a mucilaginous polysaccharide coating composed mainly of galactose and alduronic acids. Viscous polysaccharides are known to have cholesterol reducing properties. We fed hamsters diets containing high fat and cholesterol supplemented with the mucilage. The Junsai diet reduced total and LDL cholesterol, however, overall weight gain as greater compared to control animals. Despite the higher weight gain, total liver lipids and liver cholesterol were lower than control animals.