Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 2
  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: June 2012

13 - Dietary analysis II: Food chemistry



Chapter 12 introduced dietary analysis and discussed physical aspects of potential foods as they might influence feeding behaviour. Here, we deal with chemical aspects of potential foods. Attempts to explain the influence of chemical factors on primate nutrition, and the dietary factors that promote or deter the uptake of nutrients, are limited by our understanding of how the primate gut operates. We are still not sure what the optimal dietary requirements are for humans (Challem, 1999). Research is developing both on theoretical (e.g. Jumars, 2000a, b) and practical levels (Minekus et al., 1999), but the effective rate of uptake is not simply a question of enzymatic action. The quantity of plant fibre that a primate ingests is a major influence on the rate of passage of food through the gut and thus digestibility. A variable gut population of micro-organisms and parasites also play a large positive or negative role, as do specialisations in the stomach or large intestine. The situation is even less clear when it comes to chemical compounds that act as feeding deterrents, toxins or anti-nutritional factors. These have largely been bred or processed out of the agricultural products on which humans feed, so they have received relatively little attention in food science. Currently, these chemicals are assessed by crude measures, such as total phenolics, which, of necessity, ignore the wide range of variation within each class of chemicals in the nature and intensity of the biological effect.

Appel, H. M., Governor, H. L., D'Ascenzo, M., Siska, E. & Schultz, J. C. (2001). Limitations of Folin assays of foliar phenolics in ecological studies. J. Chem. Ecol. 27, 761–78
Barker, D., Fitzpatrick, M. P. & Dierenfeld, E. S., (1998). Nutrient composition of selected whole invertebrates. Zoo Biol. 17, 123–34
Bell, G. P. (1990). Birds and mammals on an insect diet: a primer on diet composition analysis in relation to ecological energetics. Studies Avian Biol. 13, 416–22
Challem, J. J. (1999). Toward a new definition of essential nutrients: is it now time for a third ‘vitamin’ paradigm?Med. Hypoth. 52, 417–22
Chamberlain, J., Nelson, G. & Milton, K., (1993). Fatty acid profiles of major food sources of howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) inneotropicsExperientia 49 820–4
Chaplin, M. F. & Kennedy, J. F. (1994). Carbohydrate Analysis: A Practical Approach. Oxford: IRL Press
Conklin-Brittain, N. L., Dierenfeld, E. S., Wrangham, R. W., Norconk, M. & Silver, S. C., (1999). Chemical protein analyses: a comparison of Kjeldahl crude protein and total ninhydrin protein from wild, tropical vegetation. J. Chem. Ecol. 25, 2601–22
Dominy, N. J., Lucas, P. W., Osorio, D. & Yamashita, N., (2001). The sensory ecology of primate food perception. Evol. Anthropol. 10, 171–86
Ganzhorn, J. U., (1995). Low-level forest disturbance effects on primary production, leaf chemistry, and lemur populations. Ecology 76, 2084–96
Ganzhorn, J. U. & Wright, P. C., (1994). Temporal patterns in primate leaf eating: the possible role of leaf chemistry. Folia Primatol. 63, 203–8
Glander, K. E., Wright, P. C., Seigler, D. S., Randrianasolo, V. & Randrianasolo, B., (1989). Consumption of a cyanogenic bamboo by a newly discovered species of bamboo lemur. Am. J. Primatol. 19, 119–24
Gunstone, F. D., (1996). Fatty Acid and Lipid Chemistry. London: Blackie Academic & Professional
Hagerman, A. E., (1987). Radial diffusion method for determining tannin in plant extracts. J. Chem. Ecol. 13, 437–49
Hagerman, A. E., (1988). Extraction of tannin from fresh and preserved leaves. J. Chem. Ecol. 14, 453–61
Hagerman, A. E.,(1998). The Tannin Handbook. Website: <∼hagermae>
Hagerman, A. E., Zhao, Y. & Johnson, S. (1997). Methods for determination of condensed and hydrolyzable tannins. In Antinutrients and Phytochemicals in Foods, ed. F. Shahadi, pp. 209–22. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society
Harborne, J. B., (ed.)(1998). Phytochemical Methods: A Guide to Modern Techniques of Plant Analysis, 3rd edn. London: Chapman and Hall
Hladik, C. M., (1977). Chimpanzees of Gabon and chimpanzees of Gombe: some comparative data on the diet. In Primate Ecology: Studies of Feeding and Ranging Behaviour in Lemurs, Monkeys and Apes, ed. T. H. Clutton-Brock, pp. 481–501. London: Academic Press
Jumars, P. A., (2000a). Animal guts as ideal chemical reactors: maximizing absorption rates. Am. Nat 155, 527–43
Jumars, P. A. (2000b). Animal guts as non-ideal chemical reactors: partial mixing and axial variation in absorption kinetics. Am. Nat 155, 544–55
Laska, M., Kohlmann, S., Scheuber, H., Salazar, L. T. H. & Luna, E. R., (2001). Gustatory responsiveness to polycose in four species of nonhuman primates. J. Chem. Ecol. 27, 1997–2011
Leitão, G. G., Mensor, L. L., Amaral, L. F. G., Floriano, N., Limeira, V. L. G., Menezes, F. S., & Leitão, S. G., (1999). Phenolic content and antioxidant activity: a study on plants eaten by a group of howler monkeys (Alouatta fusca). In Plant Polyphenols 2: Chemistry, Biology, Pharmacology, Ecology, ed. G. G. Gross, R. W. Hemingway & T. Yoshida, pp. 883–95. New York: Kluwer Academic
Lucas, P. W., Beta, T., Darvell, B. W., Dominy, N. J., Essackjee, H. C., Lee, P. K. D., Osorio, D., Ramsden, L., Yamashita, N. & Yuen, T. D. B., (2001). Field kit to characterize physical, chemical and spatial aspects of potential foods of primates. Folia Primatol. 72, 11–15
Marston, A., Wolfender, J. L., & Hostettmann, K., (2000). Analysis and isolation of saponins from plant material. In Saponins in Food, Feedstuffs and Medicinal Plants, ed. W. Oleszek & A. Marston, pp. 1–12. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic
Milton, K. & Jenness, R., (1987). Ascorbate content of neotropical plant parts available to monkeys and bats. Experientia 43, 339–42
Minekus, M., Smeets-Peeters, M., Bernalier, A., Marol-Bonnin, S., Havenaar, R., Marteau, P., Alric, M., Fonty, G. & Huis in't Veld, J. H., (1999). A computer-controlled system to simulate conditions of the large intestine with peristaltic mixing, absorption of fermentation products and a high-density microflora. Appl. Microbiol. Technol. 53, 108–14
Molnár-Perl, I., Tisza, S. & Sass, P., (1994). Optimization of the simultaneous quantification of acids and sugars as their silyl(oxime) derivatives by GC/MS. Acta Hort. 368, 291–309
Mowry, C. B., Decker, B. S. & Shure, D. J., (1996). The role of phytochemistry in dietary choices of Tana River red colobus monkeys. Int. J. Primatol. 17, 63–84
Ntiamoa-Baidu, Y., (1997). Wildlife and Food Security in Africa. Rome: FAO
O'Brien, T. G., Kinnaird, M. F., Dierenfeld, E. S., Conklin-Brittain, N. L., Wrangham, R. W. & Silver, S. C., (1998). What's so special about figs?Nature 392, 668
Orians, C. M., (1995). Preserving leaves for tannin and phenolic glycoside analyses: a comparison of methods using three willow taxa. J. Chem. Ecol. 21, 1235–43
Pettersson, S. & Knudsen, J. T., (2001). Floral scent and nectar production in Parkia biglobosaBot. J. Linn. Soc. 135 97, –106
Read, S. M. & Northcote, D. H., (1981). Minimization of variation in the response to different proteins of the Coomassie Blue G dye-binding assay for protein. Anal. Biochem. 116, 53–64
Remis, M. J., Dierenfeld, E. S., Mowry, C. B. & Carroll, R. W., (2001). Nutritional aspects of Western lowland gorilla Gorilla gorilla gorillaInt. J. Primatol. 22 807–36
Reynolds, V., Plumptre, A. J., Greenham, J. & Harborne, J., (1998). Condensed tannins and sugars in the diet of chimpanzeesPan troglodytes schweinfurthii Oecologia 115 331–6
Sapan, C. V., Lundblad, R. L. & Price, N. C., (1999). Colorimetric protein assay techniques. Biotechnol. Appl. Biochem. 29, 99–108
Schulz, H., Drews, H.-H., Quilitzsch, R. & Krüger, H., (1998). Application of near infrared spectroscopy for the quantification of quality parameters in selected vegetables and essential oil plants. Near Infrared Spectrosc. 6, A125–A130
Silver, S. C., Ostro, L. E. T., Yeager, C. P. & Dierenfeld, E. S., (2000). Phytochemical and mineral components of foods consumed by black howler monkeys Alouatta pigra at two sites in Belize. Zoo Biol 19 95–109
Simmen, B. & Sabatier, D., (1996). Diets of some French Guianan primates: food composition and food choices. Int. J. Primatol. 17, 661–93
Simonne, E. H., Harris, C. E. &; Mills, H. A., (1998). Does the nitrate fraction account for differences between Dumas-N and Kjeldahl-N values in vegetable leaves?J. Plant Nutr. 21, 2527–34
Smith, A. C., (2000). Composition and proposed nutritional importance of exudates eaten by saddleback (Saguinus fuscicollis) and mustached Saguinus mystax) tamarins. Int. J. Primatol. 21, 69–83
Ungar, P. S., (1995). Fruit preferences of four sympatric primate species at Ketambe, northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Int. J. Primatol. 16, 221–35
Waterman, P. G., (1984). Food acquisition and processing as a function of plant chemistry. In Food Acquisition and Processing in Primates, ed. D. J. Chivers, B. A. Wood & A. Bilsborough, pp. 177–211. New York: Plenum Press
Waterman, P. G., & Mole, S., (1994). Analysis of Phenolic Plant Metabolites. Oxford: Blackwell
White, D. W. & Stiles, E. W., (1985). The use of refractometry to estimate nutrient rewards in vertebrate-dispersed fruits. Ecology 66, 303–7
Wrangham, R. W., Conklin-Brittain, N. L. & Hunt, K. D., (1998). Dietary response of chimpanzees and cercopithecines to seasonal variation in fruit abundance. I. Antifeedants. Int. J. Primatol. 19, 949–69