Bioactive peptides in amaranth (Amaranthus hypochondriacus) seed

J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Feb 27;56(4):1233-40. doi: 10.1021/jf072911z. Epub 2008 Jan 23.


Amaranth seeds are rich in protein with a high nutritional value, but little is known about their bioactive compounds that could benefit health. The objectives of this research were to investigate the presence, characterization, and the anticarcinogenic properties of the peptide lunasin in amaranth seeds. Furthermore, to predict and identify other peptides in amaranth seed with potential biological activities. ELISA showed an average concentration of 11.1 microg lunasin equivalent/g total extracted protein in four genotypes of mature amaranth seeds. Glutelin fraction had the highest lunasin concentration (3.0 microg/g). Lunasin was also identified in albumin, prolamin and globulin amaranth protein fractions and even in popped amaranth seeds. Western blot analysis revealed a band at 18.5 kDa, and MALDI-TOF analysis showed that this peptide matched more than 60% of the soybean lunasin peptide sequence. Glutelin extracts digested with trypsin, showed the induction of apoptosis against HeLa cells. Prediction of other bioactive peptides in amaranth globulins and glutelins were mainly antihypertensive. This is the first study that reports the presence of a lunasin-like peptide and other potentially bioactive peptides in amaranth protein fractions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amaranthus / chemistry*
  • Amaranthus / genetics
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Apoptosis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Genotype
  • Glutens / chemistry*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nutritive Value
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Seeds* / chemistry
  • Species Specificity


  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Plant Proteins
  • Glutens