Journal Articles

Quinoa seeds leach phytoecdysteroids and other compounds with anti-diabetic properties

May 22, 2014

Quinoa seeds leach phytoecdysteroids and other compounds with anti-diabetic properties. Food Chemistry. November 15, 2014. Brittany L. Grafa, Alexander Pouleva, Peter Kuhna, Mary H. Graceb, Mary Ann Lilab, Ilya Raskina,

A Department of Plant Biology & Pathology, Rutgers University, 59 Dudley Rd, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA; Plants for Human Health Institute, North Carolina State University, 600 Laureate Way, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) contains high levels of biologically active phytoecdysteroids, which have been implicated in plant defense from insects, and have shown a range of beneficial pharmacological effects in mammals. We demonstrated that the most prevalent phytoecdysteroid, 20-hydroxyecdysone (20HE), was secreted (leached) from intact quinoa seeds into water during the initial stages of seed germination. Leaching efficiency was optimized by ethanol concentration (70% ethanol), temperature (80 °C), time (4 h), and solvent ratio (5 ml/g seed). When compared to extraction of macerated seeds, the leaching procedure released essentially all the 20HE available in the seeds (491 μg/g seed). The optimized quinoa leachate (QL), containing 0.86% 20HE, 1.00% total phytoecdysteroids, 2.59% flavonoid glycosides, 11.9% oil, and 20.4% protein, significantly lowered fasting blood glucose in obese, hyperglycemic mice. Leaching effectively releases and concentrates bioactive phytochemicals from quinoa seeds, providing an efficient means to produce a food-grade mixture that may be useful for anti-diabetic applications.

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