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Servillo L.,The Second University of Naples | Giovane A.,The Second University of Naples | D'Onofrio N.,The Second University of Naples | Casale R.,The Second University of Naples | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2014

The distribution of tyramine and its methylated derivatives, N-methyltyramine and N,N-dimethyltyramine, was investigated in tissue parts (leaves and fruits) of several plants of Citrus genus by liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS). In the course of our study we discovered the occurrence of N,N,N- trimethyltyramine in all citrus plants examined. This quaternary ammonium compound, known to act in animals as a neurotoxin, was recognized and characterized by mass spectrometric analysis. The substance, never described before in the Citrus genus, is also known as candicine or maltoxin. Results indicate that N,N,N-trimethyltyramine is consistently expressed in leaves of clementine, bitter orange, and lemon. Conversely, low levels were found in the leaves of orange, mandarin, chinotto (Citrus myrtifolia), bergamot, citron, and pomelo. In the edible part of the fruits, N,N,N-trimethyltyramine was found at trace levels. © 2014 American Chemical Society. Source

Servillo L.,The Second University of Naples | Giovane A.,The Second University of Naples | Casale R.,The Second University of Naples | Balestrieri M.L.,The Second University of Naples | And 7 more authors.
Food Chemistry | Year: 2016

Chestnut fruits, being poor of simple sugars and consisting mainly of fibers and starch, are among the constituents of Mediterranean diet. While numerous studies report on content of proteins and amino acids in chestnut, no one has appeared so far on betaines, an important class of nitrogen compounds ubiquitous in plants for their protective action in response to abiotic stress. In this study, we analyzed by HPLC-ESI-tandem mass spectrometry, in fruits and flours of varieties of chestnut cultivated in Italy, the composition of betaines and ammonium compounds intermediates of their biosynthesis. Besides the parent amino acids, the compounds quantified were choline, glycerophosphocholine, phosphocholine, glycine betaine, N-methylproline, proline betaine (stachydrine), β-alanine betaine, 4-guanidinobutyric acid, trigonelline, N,N,N-trimethyllysine. Interestingly, some uncommon derivatives of pipecolic acid, such as N-methylpipecolic acid, 4-hydroxypipecolic acid and 4-hydroxy-N-methylpipecolic acid were identified for the first time in chestnut samples and characterized by MSn tandem mass spectrometry. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Servillo L.,The Second University of Naples | Castaldo D.,Stazione Sperimentale per le Industrie Delle Essenze e Dei Derivati Dagli Agrumi | Casale R.,The Second University of Naples | D'Onofrio N.,The Second University of Naples | And 3 more authors.
Free Radical Biology and Medicine | Year: 2015

Ergothioneine (ESH), an aromatic thiol occurring in the human diet and which accumulates in particular cells, is believed to act as an antioxidant. However, its redox mechanism remains unclear and it does not seem to provide any advantage compared to other antioxidants, such as alkylthiols, which are better reducing agents and generally present in cells at higher levels. Here, we investigated by ESI-MS the products of ESH oxidation produced by neutrophils during oxidative burst and, to further elucidate ESH redox behavior, we also analyzed the oxidation products of the reaction of ESH with hypochlorite in cellfree solutions. Indeed, neutrophils are the main source of hypochlorite in humans. Furthermore, we also tested other biologically relevant oxidants, such as peroxynitrite and hydrogen peroxide. Our results indicate that treatment of human neutrophils with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate in the presence of ESH leads to a remarkable production of the sulfonated form (ESO3H), a compound never described before, and hercynine (EH), the desulfurated form of ESH. Similar results were obtained when ESH was subjected to cell-free oxidation in the presence of hypochlorite, as well as hydrogen peroxide or peroxynitrite. Furthermore, when the disulfide of ESH was reacted with those oxidants, we found that it was also oxidized, with production of EH and ESO3H, whose amount was dependent on the oxidant strength. These data reveal a unique ESH redox behavior, entirely different from that of alkylthiols, and suggest a mechanism, so far overlooked, through which ESH performs its antioxidant action in cells. © 2015, Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source

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