Changes of folate and other potential health-promoting phytochemicals in legume seeds as affected by germination

J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Sep 12;60(36):9137-43. doi: 10.1021/jf302403t. Epub 2012 Aug 27.


Folate deficiency associated with low dietary intake is a well-documented public health problem, resulting in serious health and socioeconomic burdens. Therefore, optimization of the germination process of different cultivars of legume seeds in relation to the content and composition of folate, vitamin C, and total phenolics and total antioxidant capacity was carried out to maximize the health-promoting properties. The content and composition of folate, vitamin C, and total phenolic and total antioxidant capacities varied between species, among cultivars, and with germination time. During germination, total folate content was maximum at 815.2 μg/100 g fresh weight in soybean sprout and at 675.4 μg/100 g fresh weight in mungbean sprout on the fourth day, which were equivalent to, respectively, 3.5- and 3.9-fold increases in the seed's content, and total folate content strongly decreased thereafter. 5-CH(3)-H(4)folate was the most abundant folate species in legume sprouts and reached a maximum on the fourth day. Vitamin C was not detected in raw seeds, and its content increased sharply in soybean and mungbean sprouts and reached a maximum at the fourth day of germination (29 and 27.7 mg/100 g fresh weight, respectively). Germination of soybean and mungbean for 4 days provided the largest amount of total folate as well as the more stable species 5-CH(3)-H(4)folate and also brought about large amounts of vitamin C and total phenolics and substantial antioxidant capacities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Ascorbic Acid / analysis
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism
  • Fabaceae / chemistry*
  • Fabaceae / growth & development
  • Fabaceae / metabolism*
  • Folic Acid / analysis
  • Folic Acid / metabolism*
  • Germination*
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Seeds / growth & development*
  • Seeds / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Folic Acid
  • Ascorbic Acid