Evaluation of the antioxidant activity of wheatgrass (Triticum aestivum L.) as a function of growth under different conditions

Phytother Res. 2006 Mar;20(3):218-27. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1838.


The antioxidant activity of wheatgrass, which is consumed as a dietary supplement, was estimated at different levels. The methods employed include FRAP (ferric reducing antioxidant power), ABTS (2,2'-azobis-3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) and DPPH (1,1'-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) assays. Aqueous and ethanol extracts of wheatgrass grown under different conditions over a period of 6, 7, 8, 10 and 15 days were used. Lipid peroxidation and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) were determined and utilized to check the potency of a few selected extracts. Different conditions used for growth were (1) tap water, (2) tap water with nutrients, (3) soil and tap water, and (4) soil with nutrients. For comparison, a commercially available wheatgrass tablet was analysed. To explain the reasons behind the observed differences, the total phenolic and flavonoid contents of the extracts were measured. These contents increased with growth under all the conditions. The ethanol extracts were found to have a higher phenolic and flavonoid content than the aqueous extracts. The highest FRAP values occurred on day 15 of growth under condition 4, the values being 0.463 and 0.573 mmol of ascorbic acid and Trolox equivalents/100 g fresh wheatgrass for aqueous and ethanol extracts, respectively. In the aqueous extracts no specific trend was observed with the DPPH assay for the different conditions nor for the growth period. In the case of ethanol extracts, however, it increased with the growth period and the wheatgrass grown in condition 4 was found to be the most effective. These extracts were also found to inhibit significantly ascorbate-Fe2+ induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver mitochondria. The ORAC values of aqueous and ethanol extracts of day 10 with condition 4 were found to be 39.9 and 48.2, respectively, being higher than those reported for many natural extracts or vegetables.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Benzothiazoles
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Ethanol / chemistry
  • Female
  • Ferric Compounds / metabolism
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Free Radical Scavengers / analysis
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria, Liver / drug effects
  • Plant Shoots / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Sulfonic Acids / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Triticum / chemistry*
  • Triticum / growth & development*
  • Water / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Benzothiazoles
  • Ferric Compounds
  • Flavonoids
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sulfonic Acids
  • Water
  • 2,2'-azino-di-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline)-6-sulfonic acid
  • Ethanol