Quantitative analysis of sialic acids in Chinese conventional foods by HPLC-FLD


Background: Sialic acids are a family of ninecarbon sugar compounds with carboxylic acyl derivatives. It exists in bacteria, fish, mammals and other living organisms, participates in and regulates many important life events, such as cell recognition, membrane flow, endocytosis and so on. Sialic acid is usually located in the outermost layer of the sugar part of the cell membrane and the key positions of secreted glycoconjugates (glycolipids, glycoprotein and lipopolysaccharide). Sialic acid (Sia) is an important material foundation for variety of the structure and founction of glycoconjugates. Sia has been known as nearly 50 members, including N-acetylneuraminic acid (Neu5Ac), N-glycoulylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc) and deaminoneuraminic acid (KDN) as its core monomer. The rest of the sialic acids are derived from these three monomers. The contents of Sia in Chinese food products are unknown. Objective: To determine the contents of Sia in raw and cooked red meat, seafood, poultry and so on. Design: The following food products were purchased from a Chinese supermarket: pork, beef, lamb, salmon, cod, tuna, cow milk, cheese, butter, duck, chicken and chicken eggs. Human milk was collected from Xiamen Maternity and Child Health Care Hospital (Xiamen, China). All tissues were homogenized and hydrolyzed with 0.05 M, 0.1 M and 0.2 M TFA for 150 min at 80°C in dark, respectively. The concentrations of Neu5Ac, Neu5Gc and KDN were determined by using HPLC with fluorescence detector. Results: The contents of total Sia (μg/g tissue or μg/mL liquid sample) in Chinese raw meat were highest in lamb (269.60), followed by pork (254.88), duck (200.63), chicken (162.86) and beef (88.03). The percentages of Neu5Gc were 36.08%, 26.48%, 0%, 0% and 28.40%, respectively. Cod contained higher levels of Sia (171.63) than salmon (104.43) and tuna (77.98). Only Neu5Ac was 50 found in detected aquatic product. Egg yolk contained the highest level of Sia (682.04), and a higher level of Sia (390.67) was found in the egg white. Also our result showed that human milk contained extremely high level of Sia (602.55). Neu5Ac was the predominant form of Sia in all the deteced samples. KDN was found in cow milk only among the samples, the content was 1.14 μg/g. Conclusion: The highest content of Sia in examined Chinese foods was found in 56 eggs, followed by lamb, pork, duck, cod, chicken, salmon, beef and tuna. Knowledge of the Sia content in conventional foods may help us to better understand possible medical disorders involving the uptake of the “non-human” Neu5Gc from our diet.

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Li, H. and Fan, X. (2014) Quantitative analysis of sialic acids in Chinese conventional foods by HPLC-FLD. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4, 57-63. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2014.42009.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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