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Phytic Acid / Phytate - Phytase Enzymes Break down Phytate in Foods

PHYTASE enzymes break down phytate

WHAT IS PHYTASE and what does it do?

Phytase is any type of phosphatase enzyme that breaks down phytic acid (chemically called dephosphorylation, produces a phosphate ion and a molecule with a free hydroxyl group) - phytase catalyzes the hydrolysis (requires water) of phytic acid by removing a phosphate group from its substrate to release a usable form of inorganic phosphorus. Phytase activity is measured in FTU (a worldwide standard).

The break down of phytic acid by phytases results in two pointed beneficial effects – both of which increase mineral availability and absorption(esp. bone-beneficial phosphorus)

(1) Allows the utilization/absorption of bound/stored nutrients in phytate – phytase can hydrolyze phytic acid, releasing phosphorus and other nutrients bound by phytic acid(E.g. minerals, protein and starch );

The binding is possible within a phosphate group or between two phosphate groups

on either the same or different phytic acid molecules;

(2) Prevents phytic acid from binding to important minerals in the digestive tract – which would otherwise make them unavailable to the body.

Humans (and other non-ruminants) produce very few phytase enzymes for breaking down phytate –Humans and animals with one stomach (i.e. do not chew the cud) are unable to access the nutrients tied up in phytate. Note that even mice have 30 times more phytase than humans and therefore the results of rodent studies examining phytic acid breakdown and therefore do not likely apply to humans.

In whole seed/grain,germination activates phytase - which breaks down phytate and releases phosphorus and otherminerals needed by the developing plant embryo for new growth.

-Some grains contain more phytase than others – E.g. wheat contains 14 times more phytase than rice; rye contains over twice as much phytase as wheat.30 (the reason rye is preferred as a starter for sourdough breads).

Some grains contain insufficient phytase to eliminate their phytate - E.g. corn, oats, brown rice, millet), even when properly prepared.

PHYTASE ACTIVITY DEPENDS ON pH

Phytase activity depends on pH with Ideal pHbeing somewhere in the ~4.5 - 5.5 range– adding a mild acid to soaking water of phytate foods creates that “just right”pH environment for phytase action.Note that the stomach acid pH is much lower and not conducive to phytase activity.

-“pH was the most important factor in reducing the content of phytic acid during bread making as phytic acid in doughs with pH 4.3–4.6 was more effectively reduced than in doughs with higher pH.”

Phytase activity and degradation of phytic acid during rye bread making by Merete Møller Nielsen •Marianne Linde Damstrup •Agnete Dal Thomsen •Søren KjærsgËš rd Rasmussen •Ã…se Hansen Eur Food Res Technol 2007

-Reale et al concluded that lactic acid bacteria improved conditions for degrading phytate simplyby lowering pH – they determined the idealpH to be ~ 5.5

Reale A, Konietzny U, Coppola R, Sorrentino E, and Greiner R, 2007, ‘The importance of lactic acid bacteria for phytate degradation during cereal dough fermentation', Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 55 (8), pp 2993-2997ACSPub

-Phytase activities are pH dependent with the highest activities being observed at a slightly acidic pH ( 5.1).

Food Reviews International Phytic Acid by Lori Oatway a; Thava Vasanthan b; James H. HelmField Crop Development Centre, Lacombe, Canada b Department of Agricultural Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

-Bacterial flora in the colon produce phytase and also lactic acid that affects pH in favorof phytase activity – dephosphorylation ofphytate releases Calcium ions, which are absorbed from the colon

Sandström, B., Cederblad, A., Stenquist, B., & Andersson, H. (1990). Effect of inositol

hexaphosphate on retention of zinc and calcium from the human colon.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 44, 705–708.

PHYTASE ACTIVITY DEPENDS ON TEMPERATURE

Phytase activity is increased within an ideal temperature range

Phytase is reduced/destroyed by:

-Steam heat - 176 ⁰F in 10 mins. or less

-Heat-processing –such as being in a wet solution at 131-149 ⁰F

Peers FG. Phytase of Wheat. The Biochemical Journal 1953 53(1):102-110.

Commercial oats have high phytic acid content but no phytase (destroyed by heat processing)

Freezing and long storage times - Campbell J and others. Nutritional Characteristics of Organic, Freshly stone-ground sourdough and conventional breads. http://eap.mcgill.ca/publications/EAP35.htm.

Cooking alone is NOT enough to activate phytase for a significant reduction of phytic acid in grains and legumes and cooking temperatures eventually destroy phytase altogether. To reduce phytic acid to a healthy level requires some preparation before cooking:

Legumes should ideally be sprouted or soaked in acidulated water as another option

Grains should either acid soaked then optionally sprouted OR they should be soured

Phytate Links

PHYTIC ACID /PHYTATE

Related Links

Phytic Acid - “Malabsorption Agent

- World consumption of phytic Acid

- Phytic Acid –Good or Bad?

Detrimental health Effects

Therapeutic Benefits

- What foods contain phytic acid?

- Phytase enzymes degrade phytic acid/phytate

- Conclusions on phytic acid consumption

- Methods to reduce phytic acid in food

SORRY - STILL WORKING ON POSTING THIS

Grains, nuts, seeds, legumes –Require preparation for healthy consumption

- How to prepare grains

- How to prepare nuts, seeds and legumes

- Acidic Solutions

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