Availability and antiperoxidative
effects of ␤-carotene from Dunaliella
bardawil in alcohol-drinking rats
Moshe J. Werman, Ami Ben-Amotz, and Shoshana Mokady
Department of Food Engineering and Biotechnology, Technion; and The National Institute of
Oceanography, Haifa, Israel
The present study demonstrated the high bioavailability and antiperoxidative capacity of the natural ␤-carotene
isomer mixture of Dunaliella bardawil compared with synthetic ␤-carotene under alcohol-induced oxidative
stress. Weanling rats were adapted to ethanol by increasing ethanol levels in their drinking water to 30% at 5%
intervals per week; other rats received water with no added ethanol. One water-drinking group and one
alcohol-drinking group with no dietary carotene were used as controls. Two water-drinking groups were
supplemented with 1 g/kg diet ␤-carotene either from Dunaliella or a synthetic source, and due to reduced food
intake, two ethanol-fed groups received 2 g ␤-carotene per kilogram of diet from each source. Following 3
months of ethanol consumption, both carotene sources were found to prevent ethanol-induced lipid peroxidation
as expressed by the hepatic conjugated oxidized dienes level. However, in the algal-fed rats, hepatic carotene and
vitamin A levels were higher. In addition to a lower performance of the group fed ethanol and synthetic
␤-carotene, there were three deaths in this group. (J. Nutr. Biochem. 10:449–454, 1999) © Elsevier Science
Inc. 1999. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Dunaliella bardawil; ␤-carotene; alcohol; lipid peroxidation; vitamin A; rats
In recent years the consumption of foods rich in ␤-carotene
has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of several
pathologic events. Thus, a large number of epidemiologic
and controlled studies have indicated the role of dietary
␤-carotene in the prevention of certain types of cancer.
addition, Gey et al.
demonstrated an inverse relationship
between ␤-carotene intake or plasma level and the risk of
cardiovascular disease. The properties of ␤-carotene as a
potent free radical quencher, singlet oxygen scavenger, and
antioxidant—not its activity as provitamin A—have been
implicated as paramount in this protective role.
Chronic alcohol consumption, which is known to be
responsible for the generation of free radicals,
liver injury accompanied by decreased hepatic vitamin A
content in rats, baboons, and humans.
mentation of ␤-carotene as a vitamin A precursor as well as
an antioxidant was recommended. However, recent studies
using alcohol-fed baboons
supplementing synthetic ␤-carotene in the diets of these
animals resulted in histologic changes in the liver and
potentiation of the hepatotoxicity of alcohol. Furthermore,
Ahmed et al.
suggested that dietary fortification with
synthetic ␤-carotene during active drinking in humans
might lead to hepatotoxic alcohol–␤-carotene interactions.
Recently, two human intervention studies noted the
possible carcinogenicity of the synthetic all-trans ␤-caro-
Therefore, attention was drawn to ␤-carotene from
natural sources, such as that found in fruits and vegetables,
which also contain small amounts of other ␤-carotene
The unicellular algae Dunaliella bardawil has received
much attention in recent years as a natural rich source of
␤-carotene, due to its ability to accumulate large amounts of
Address correspondence to Dr. Moshe J. Werman, Department of Food
Engineering and Biotechnology, Technion, Haifa, 32000, Israel.
Received November 18, 1998; accepted April 13, 1999.
J. Nutr. Biochem. 10:449–454, 1999
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