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Silk in The Food Industry

The digestibility of silk fibroin with 18 amino acids, 8 of which is essential, is 5 times higher than other protein structures. In recent years, studies have focused on the use of proteins obtained from silkworm cocoons as a healthy food source for human consumption in parallel with the developments in the protein market.

Before mentioning the health benefits of using silk proteins in the food field, it is necessary to review the general evaluation of protein powders that are widely used in this field.

Today, there are different opinions and recommendations about protein supplements among scientists. In the EU, the scientific communities widely support moderate protein intake in the recommendations of national assessment bodies and organizations such as EFSA. In addition, some scientists think that it is supportive for athletes, the elderly, those in weight control and weight loss diets.

It is thought that protein bars and other food products produced for this purpose will have harmful effects due to the high content of ultra-processed vegetable oils, sugars, salts and artificial sweeteners. They reported that long-term use may cause adverse effects, however, in a controlled manner and diversified with different protein sources such as fish, eggs, dairy products, legumes and cereals, protein intake supports the well-being of the microbiota.

the scientific committee on this subject should carefully plan the marketing and advertisements of high protein and amino acid products both in sports nutrition and in the nutrition plans of active individuals, and should be guided according to individual needs.

Key points to consider when using protein powders:
• It is the fastest growing market for sports supplement products due to increased health awareness and easy access by consumers.
• Excessive consumption of dietary proteins, in combination with other diets and regimens, can produce harmful effects. May cause harmful consequences for human metabolism and intestine.
• Studies on athletes show that protein and amino acid supplements can increase muscle protein synthesis, eliminate fatigue, muscle soreness and exercise-related damage.
• It has been mentioned that long-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplements have negative effects on metabolic disorders and intestinal microbiota.

In the light of the expansion of the use of hydrolyzed silk peptides and biotechnological developments, the effects of silk peptides on skin inflammation were investigated in a study conducted in Korea. It is mentioned that silk peptides, which are emphasized as biocompatible, degradable, easily processed, mechanical and structural properties as a natural biomaterial, are widely used not only in the pharmaceutical, biomedical and cosmetic industries, but also in the food industry. Functional diet products are obtained by adding it to the structure of foods with its antioxidant feature.

Hydrolyzed silk peptides have been proven to be a bioactive compound that regulates blood pressure and wound healing, regulating gastrointestinal function.

Solar ultraviolet (sUV) radiation is essential for human metabolic reactions but also has adverse effects on the skin. Exposure of the skin to suUV induces DNA damage and reduces skin barrier function, causing photoaging, chronic inflammatory skin disease and skin carcinogenesis.

In order to prevent these ailments, studies have been carried out on many bioactive foods. It has been reported that blackberry is effective on UVB by inhibiting 8-oxodG, CPD, PCNA and cyclin D1. Soybean has been shown to exert a UVB protective effect by controlling IL-6 and MAPK signaling.

Silk proteins are known to suppress the expression of COX-2 and iNOS genes and nitric oxide production. COX (cyclooxygenase) is an enzyme involved in the regulation of inflammation that converts arachidonic acid to protoglandins. It is well known that COX-2 expression can be induced by a variety of inflammatory processes such as tumor promoters, growth factors and cytokines. It is known that COX-2 inhibitors can prevent atherothrombotic events due to their anti-inflammatory properties. (Silk peptide production from whole silkworm cocoon using ultrasound and enzymatic treatment and its suppression of solar ultraviolet-induced skin inflammation; Su JinEomaNam HyouckLeeaMin-CheolKangaYoung HoKimaTae-GyuLimbKyung-MoSonga)

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