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J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov 2;53(22):8421-31.

Advances in the value of eggs and egg components for human health.

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Department of Food Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.


The avian egg is an important source of nutrients, containing all of the proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and growth factors required by the developing embryo, as well as a number of defense factors to protect against bacterial and viral infection. Moreover, eggs are now understood to contain substances with biological functions beyond basic nutrition, and extensive research has been undertaken to identify and characterize these biologically active components. This review mainly focused on biological activities of proteins and peptides derived from egg components. Several biological activities have now been associated with egg components, including novel antimicrobial activities, antiadhesive properties, immunomodulatory, anticancer, and antihypertensive activities, antioxidant properties, protease inhibitors, nutrient bioavailability, and functional lipids, highlighting the importance of egg and egg components in human health and in disease prevention and treatment. Continued research to identify new and existing biological functions of hen egg components will help to define new methods to further improve the value of eggs as a source of numerous biologically active compounds with specific benefits for human and animal health and secure their role in the therapy and prevention of chronic and infectious disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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