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BMC Res Notes. 2013 May 17;6:197. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-6-197.

Housefly larvae hydrolysate: orthogonal optimization of hydrolysis, antioxidant activity, amino acid composition and functional properties.

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  • 1State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, School of Life Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China.



Antioxidant, one of the most important food additives, is widely used in food industry. At present, antioxidant is mostly produced by chemical synthesis, which would accumulate to be pathogenic. Therefore, a great interest has been developed to identify and use natural antioxidants. It was showed that there are a lot of antioxidative peptides in protein hydrolysates, possessing strong capacity of inhibiting peroxidation of macro-biomolecular and scavenging free redicals in vivo. Enzymatic hydrolysis used for preparation of antioxidative peptides is a new hot-spot in the field of natural antioxidants. It reacts under mild conditions, with accurate site-specific degradation, good repeatability and few damages to biological activity of protein. Substrates for enzymatic hydrolysis are usually plants and aqua-animals. Insects are also gaining attention because of their rich protein and resource. Antioxidative peptides are potential to be exploited as new natural antioxidant and functional food. There is a huge potential market in medical and cosmetic field as well.


Protein hydrolysate with antioxidant activity was prepared from housefly larvae, by a two-step hydrolysis. Through orthogonal optimization of the hydrolysis conditions, the degree of hydrolysis was determined to be approximately 60%. Fractionated hydrolysate at 25 mg/mL, 2.5 mg/mL and 1 mg/mL exhibited approximately 50%, 60% and 50% of scavenging capacity on superoxide radicals, 1, 1-Diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radicals and hydroxyl radicals, respectively. Hydrolysate did not exhibit substantial ion chelation. Using a linoneic peroxidation system, the inhibition activity of hydrolysate at 20 mg/mL was close to that of 20 μg/mL tertiary butylhydroquinone, suggesting a potential application of hydrolysate in the oil industry as an efficient antioxidant. The lyophilized hydrolysate presented almost 100% solubility at pH 3-pH 9, and maintained nearly 100% activity at pH 5-pH 8 at 0°C- 4°C and room temperature during the first 6 months of storage. Essential amino acids in the hydrolysate accounted for 43% of the total amino acids.


The results suggesting that hydrolysate could be added to food oils as an efficient antioxidant. It might be useful for food additives, diet nutrients and pharmaceutical agents.

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