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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Biological activities of the egg

2007, INRA Prod. Anim., 20, 337-348


INRA, UR83 Recherches Avicoles, F-37380 Nouzilly, France


The chicken egg is a model that is particularly interesting since it contains all the components that are essential for embryonic development.These molecules are specifically distributed within the entire egg, each compartment (eggshell, albumen, yolk and membranes)having its own specific function. Besides the nutrients essential for embryogenesis, there are many molecules that participate in the growthand defence of the embryo including the physical defence mainly ensured by the eggshell and the membranes, and the chemical defenceinvolving all the antimicrobial proteins. Thus, for humans, the egg is known for its highly nutritive value but it is also a putative sourceof numerous active molecules that are of major interest for different industrial areas such as the food industry, biotechnologies, cosmeticsor human health. Antimicrobial activities of some egg white proteins have been known for a long time but more recently some additionalactivities including antiviral, antioxidant, anti-adhesive, immuno-modulating, anti-hypertensive, anti-cancer or anti-inflammatoryactivities have been reported. Some of these biological characteristics are attributed to native proteins but also to peptides generated invitro by limited proteolysis. Altogether, these bioactive proteins and peptides constitute a promising potential and many investigations arecurrently underway to better define their industrial and pharmaceutical applications

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