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[L. albumen, white of egg]
Any of a group of simple proteins widely distributed in plant and animal tissues. Albumin is found in the blood as serum albumin, in milk as lactalbumin, and in the white of egg as ovalbumin. In the blood, albumin acts as a carrier molecule and helps maintain blood volume and blood pressure. In humans the principal function of albumin is to provide colloid osmotic pressure, preventing plasma loss from the capillaries. Albumin, like all the plasma proteins, can act as a source for rapid replacement of tissue proteins. In the stomach, coagulated albumins are made soluble by peptidases, which break them down to smaller polypeptides and amino acids. In general, albumins from animal sources are of higher nutritional quality than those from vegetable sources because animal proteins contain greater quantities of essential amino acids.
SYN: SEE: albumen (2)
SEE: amino acid; SEE: peptone

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