The orange peel polar fraction extract containing a compound called feruloylputrescine has the potential to alleviate cardiovascular disease, according to a study by researchers from the University of Florida, Texas State University and USDA.

Lee et al. compared the inhibitory effects of orange peel polar fraction (OPP) and orange peel nonpolar fraction (OPNP) on trimethylamine (TMA) and trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) production in response to l-carnitine treatment in vivo and in vitro.

Recent research has shown that some gut bacteria help develop cardiovascular disease.

When they feed on certain nutrients during digestion, gut bacteria produce trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). Levels of TMAO can help predict future cardiovascular disease.

In new research, University of Florida’s Dr. Yu Wang and her colleagues investigated the potential of orange peel extracts to reduce TMAO and trimethylamine (TMA) production.

They tested two types of extracts: a polar fraction and a non-polar fraction.

To get the polar fractions, they used polar and non-polar solvents to extract the orange peel.

“If you imagine your salad dressing, anything in the water or vinegar part are the polar fraction; anything in the oil away from water is the non-polar fraction,” Dr. Wang said.

“The solvents we used were not exactly like water and oil, but they possess similar polarity.”

The authors found that the orange peel non-polar fraction extract effectively inhibits the production of harmful chemicals.

They also identified a compound called feruloylputrescine in the orange peel polar fraction extract that also significantly inhibits the enzyme responsible for TMA production.

“This is a novel finding that highlights the previously unrecognized health potential of feruloylputrescine in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Wang said.

“The orange peel finding is significant because 5 million tons of orange peels are produced each year in orange juice production nationwide.”

“Nearly 95% of Florida oranges are used for juice. About half of the peels go to feed cattle. The rest goes to waste.”

“But FDA considers natural orange peel extracts safe for human consumption. So, we hope to put the peels to better use.”

“These findings suggest that orange peels, often discarded as waste in the citrus industry, can be repurposed into valuable health-promoting ingredients, such as diet supplements or food ingredients,” Dr. Wang said.

“Our research paves the way for developing functional foods enriched with these bioactive compounds, providing new therapeutic strategies for heart health.”

The results appear in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.


Hana Lee et al. 2024. Discovery of a Novel Bioactive Compound in Orange Peel Polar Fraction on the Inhibition of Trimethylamine and Trimethylamine N-Oxide through Metabolomics Approaches and In Vitro and In Vivo Assays: Feruloylputrescine Inhibits Trimethylamine via Suppressing cntA/B Enzyme. J. Agric. Food Chem 72 (14): 7870-7881; doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.3c09005

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