Polyamines in foods: development of a food database

Food Nutr Res. 2011 Jan 14;55. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v55i0.5572.


Background: Knowing the levels of polyamines (putrescine, spermidine, and spermine) in different foods is of interest due to the association of these bioactive nutrients to health and diseases. There is a lack of relevant information on their contents in foods.

Objective: To develop a food polyamine database from published data by which polyamine intake and food contribution to this intake can be estimated, and to determine the levels of polyamines in Swedish dairy products.

Design: Extensive literature search and laboratory analysis of selected Swedish dairy products. Polyamine contents in foods were collected using an extensive literature search of databases. Polyamines in different types of Swedish dairy products (milk with different fat percentages, yogurt, cheeses, and sour milk) were determined using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) equipped with a UV detector.

Results: Fruits and cheese were the highest sources of putrescine, while vegetables and meat products were found to be rich in spermidine and spermine, respectively. The content of polyamines in cheese varied considerably between studies. In analyzed Swedish dairy products, matured cheese had the highest total polyamine contents with values of 52.3, 1.2, and 2.6 mg/kg for putrescine, spermidine, and spermine, respectively. Low fat milk had higher putrescine and spermidine, 1.2 and 1.0 mg/kg, respectively, than the other types of milk.

Conclusions: The database aids other researchers in their quest for information regarding polyamine intake from foods. Connecting the polyamine contents in food with the Swedish Food Database allows for estimation of polyamine contents per portion.

Keywords: food polyamines; polyamine contents; putrescine; spermidine; spermine.