Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Paving the Way for Better Dietary Zinc Test

Published: Friday, April 11, 2014
Last Updated: Friday, April 11, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Cornell research unveils a new method to test for zinc deficiency, a vital measurement that has posed problems for doctors and scientists.

After iron, zinc is the most abundant trace mineral in human cells, playing a role in immunity, protein synthesis and wound healing. Dietary zinc deficiency affects one-quarter of the world’s population, so accurate and sensitive measurements are needed. Measuring the micronutrient is complex because cells efficiently export zinc, which can be toxic.

The study, published March 20 in the journal Nutrients and led by first author Spenser Reed ’14, uses ratios between two red blood cell fatty acids. One of those fatty acids, linoleic acid, requires a zinc-dependent enzyme to produce the second fatty acid, dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA). In other words, without zinc, DGLA doesn’t get made.

By measuring the abundance of linoleic acid relative to DGLA, and vice versa – the ratio of linoleic acid to DGLA becomes higher as zinc deficiency increases – the researchers have identified a potentially sensitive biomarker for testing the body’s zinc status.

“One of the major challenges is to find a parameter that can detect differences between mild zinc deficiency and severe zinc deficiency, according to [standards set by the] the World Health Organization,” said Elad Tako, the paper’s senior author, a physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture and Health and a courtesy food science professor at Cornell. While more study is needed, the method holds promise as a nuanced biomarker, Tako added.

The researchers used broiler chickens in the study, partly due to their omnivorous appetites – which allowed the researchers to feed them purified diets – and because of their red blood cells, fatty acids and genetic similarities to humans.

In the study, one set of chickens was fed a controlled, purified diet with adequate zinc, while another set was fed a zinc-deficient but otherwise identical diet.

“We had to make sure that … the only difference was the dietary zinc and nothing else,” said Reed, who works in Tako’s lab. The researchers examined weekly blood samples, isolated the red blood cells and extracted fatty acids to determine the ratios of linoleic acid to DGLA.

Corroborating their findings, the researchers also examined zinc levels in feather and nail samples and measured the expression of 16 intestinal and liver genes related to zinc metabolism.

To measure a subject’s zinc status, a wide variety of biomarkers are necessary, Reed said. The researchers hope to “add to the compendium of different markers that could be sensitive to zinc deficiency,” said Reed, who plans to complete ongoing experiments in Tako’s lab after graduating, with an eye toward medical school later. The researchers also plan to study the use of the ratio for testing zinc levels under natural diets.

Study co-author Thomas Brenna, professor of nutritional sciences and chemistry, conducted the fatty acid analyses of samples.

Reed was funded by the Hunter Rawlings III Presidential Research Scholars Program and the National Science Foundation Biology Research Internship Program.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Pathogen Takes Control of Gypsy Moth Populations
A new fungal pathogen is killing gypsy moth caterpillars and crowding out communities of pathogens and parasites that previously destroyed these moth pests.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Eating Green Could be in Your Genes
Genetic variation uncovered that has evolved in populations that have historically favored vegetarian diets, such as in India, Africa and parts of East Asia.
Friday, April 01, 2016
$4.8M USAID Grant to Improve Food Security
To strengthen capacity to develop and disseminate genetically engineered eggplant in Bangladesh and the Philippines, the USAID has awarded Cornell a $4.8 million, three-year cooperative grant.
Friday, April 01, 2016
Proteins Seek, Attack, Destroy Tumor Cells in Bloodstream
Using white blood cells to ferry potent cancer-killing proteins through the bloodstream virtually eliminates metastatic prostate cancer in mice, Cornell researchers have confirmed.
Friday, January 15, 2016
Tumor-suppressing Gene Lends Insight to Cancer Treatment
Researchers have found that delicate replication process derails if a gene named PTEN has mutated or is absent.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Synthetic Immune Organ Produces Antibodies
Cornell engineers have created a functional, synthetic immune organ that produces antibodies and can be controlled in the lab, completely separate from a living organism.
Friday, June 12, 2015
On Planes, Savory Tomato Becomes Favored Flavor
Study shows the effect that airplane noise has on passengers' taste preferences.
Friday, May 15, 2015
$5.5M NSF Grant Aims to Improve Rice Crops with Genome Editing
Researchers to precisely target, cut, remove and replace DNA in a living cell to improve rice.
Friday, May 08, 2015
'Shield' Gives Tricky Proteins a New Identity
Solubilization of Integral Membrane Proteins with high Levels of Expression.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
DNA Safeguard May Be Key In Cancer Treatment
Cornell researchers have developed a new technique to understand the actions of key proteins required for cancer cells to proliferate.
Monday, March 09, 2015
A ‘STAR’ is Born: Engineers Devise Genetic 'On' Switch
A new “on” switch to control gene expression has been developed by Cornell scientists.
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Bacteria Be Gone!
New technology keeps bacteria from sticking to surfaces.
Monday, January 19, 2015
On the Environmental Trail of Food Pathogens
Learning where Listeria dwells can aid the search for other food pathogens.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Chemists Show That ALS is a Protein Aggregation Disease
Using a technique that illuminates subtle changes in individual proteins, chemistry researchers at Cornell have uncovered new insight into the underlying causes of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Genetics Used to Improve Plants for Bioenergy
An upcoming genetics investigation into the symbiotic association between soil fungi and feedstock plants for bioenergy production could lead to more efficient uptake of nutrients, which would help limit the need for expensive and polluting fertilizers.
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Scientific News
Ketamine Metabolism Lifts Depression
NIH-funded team finds rapid-acting, non-addicting agent in mouse study.
Faster, Cheaper Way to Produce New Antibiotics
A novel way of synthesising a promising new antibiotic has been identified by scientists at the University of Bristol.
Process Contaminants in Vegetable Oils and Foods
Glycerol-based process contaminants found in palm oil, but also in other vegetable oils, margarines and some processed foods, raise potential health concerns for average consumers of these foods in all young age groups, and for high consumers in all age groups.
Improving Natural Killer Cancer Therapy
Vanderbilt University researchers discover transcription factor critical for NK cell expansion. Findings could lead to increased therapeutic efficacy.
Molecular Mechanism For Generating Specific Antibody Responses Discovered
Study could spur more ways to treat autoimmune disease, develop accurate vaccines.
Monovar Drills Down Into Cancer Genome
Rice, MD Anderson develop program to ID mutations in single cancer cells.
It’s Now Easier To Go With The Flow
Rice University tool simplifies comparison of flow cytometry data for laboratories.
Autism, Cancer Share a Remarkable Number of Risk Genes
Researchers with the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, MIND Institute identify more than 40 common genes.
Number Of Known Genetic Risk Factors For Endometrial Cancer Doubled
An international collaboration of researchers has identified five new gene regions that increase a woman’s risk of developing endometrial cancer, one of the most common cancers to affect women, taking the number of known gene regions associated with the disease to nine.
Genetic Variant May Help Explain Why Labradors Are Prone To Obesity
A genetic variation associated with obesity and appetite in Labrador retrievers – the UK and US’s favourite dog breed – has been identified by scientists at the University of Cambridge. The finding may explain why Labrador retrievers are more likely to become obese than dogs of other breeds.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!