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Keywords:

  • quercetin diglucoside;
  • silkworm pupae;
  • vitamin B2;
  • α-linolenic acid

Abstract

Silkworm pupae have much potential and many applications as a natural medicine to promote human health. However, their chemical components have not been fully characterized or understood. HPLC analysis was conducted to determine the content ratio (%) of individual amino acids in total protein of the pupae. It showed that glutamic acid (18.3%), histidine (14.6%) and alanine (10.2%) are the most common amino acids in silkworm pupae. Fatty acid composition of silkworm pupae oil was revealed by high-pressure liquid chromatography and gas chromatography – mass spectroscopy analyses. They contain a high ratio of essential fatty acids, [α-linolenic acid (ω-3 fatty acid]+ linoleic acid) (49.0%), and also contain non-essential fatty acids, oleic acid (19.9%), palmitoleic acid (2.5%), palmitic acid (19.7%), stearic acid (8.6%), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (0.3%). In addition, they also contain antioxidants, quercetin diglucoside and nutritionally important riboflavin (vitamin B2). This study suggests that silkworm pupae are a nutritionally valuable food product and are applicable as cosmetic components with essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins. The animal experiment showed that alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) activity was significantly higher in the liver of mice orally administered with 0.5 mg/mL of silkworm extract and alcohol than with commercial Dawn808™ and alcohol, indicating that silkworm pupae extracts have alcohol detoxification activity.