The egg and life

Álvaro arrived from kindergarten with a small box in his hands, which he hastily deposited on the family’s religious altar under the argument that it was a treasure. Natalia, his mother, explained to the rest of the family that it was a simple empty shell that she had to take care of for a month. Within the child’s imagination that was a living body, life came from the egg, and thus human evolution and natural life would be explained.

For the rest of his relatives it was a shell and the inside of it had been part of breakfast days ago. However, analyzing the situation a bit, the egg is a phenomenon of animal evolution that today allows us to prepare everything from a basic breakfast to any pastry delicacy.

The egg is made up of 11% shell, 58% white -also known as albumin- and 31% yolk. In turn, the egg white is divided into 88% water, 11% protein and 0.2% fat, which is why its consumption is suggested when following a diet to treat high concentrations of triglycerides and cholesterol.

Of that percentage of albumin it is subdivided into ovalbumin in 54%; conalbumin, 15%; ovomucoid, 11%; globulins, 8%; lysozyme, 3.5% and ovomucin, 1.5%. Most of them react to heat, help stabilize emulsifications, give resistance to doughs through baking and are foaming.

The opposite is the case with the yolk, which is composed of 48% water, 17.5% protein and 32% fat, the latter divided between triglycerides (46%), sterols or cholesterol (3%) and phospholipids (20%), the latter auxiliary in anti-inflammatory processes and, in the kitchen, responsible for achieving emulsification, the union between fat and water through the shake.

As for its proteins, they are divided as follows: vitelline (33%), livetin (30%), fosvitin (8.5%), low-density lipoproteins (27%). However, none of this would be relevant without a deeper question: how did the evolutionary step between a zygote and an egg take place?

For Jonathan Silvertown, the egg is one of the most fascinating examples of both animal adaptation and human nutrition. From his perspective, the transition from zygote to shell occurred thanks to a membrane called the amnion, which protects the embryo. This also made it possible to contain a nutrient capsule that, as we already mentioned, includes proteins and fats. These nutrients, when combined with fiber, sugars, minerals and vitamins, paved the way for the development of food. Although the biological process is more complex, the fact of consuming it allows us to reflect on how human beings took advantage of animal evolution to sustain their own survival. In addition to understanding the symbol of the egg as a container of life.

Benjamin Ramirez