Effect of several germination treatments on phosphatases activities and degradation of phytate in faba bean (Vicia faba L.) and azuki bean (Vigna angularis L.)

J Food Sci. 2012 Oct;77(10):C1023-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.02733.x. Epub 2012 Aug 31.


Two assays were conducted to investigate the changes of faba bean (Vicia faba L.) and azuki bean (Vigna angularis L.) phosphatases (phytase [Phy] and acid phosphatase [AcPh]) and the degradation of its substrates (inositol phosphate esters) during seed germination. The 1st assay was to establish the optimal germination conditions of faba bean and azuki bean to improve the endogenous phosphatases and increase the hydrolysis of phytate and, in the second assay, to determine the different lower phosphate esters of myo-inositol produced during the germination process. In the 1st assay, seeds were soaked for 12 and 24 h and germinated for 3 and 5 d with and without the addition of gibberellic acid (GA(3) ). In the second assay, seeds were soaked for 12 h and germinated for 1, 3, and 5 d with GA(3) . Phy (up to 3625 and 1340 U/kg) and AcPh (up to 9456 and 2740 U/g) activities, and inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) (8.23 and 7.46 mg/g), inositol pentaphosphate (IP5) (0.55 and 0.82 mg/g), and inositol tetraphosphate (IP4) (0.26 and 0.01 mg/g) were detected in ungerminated faba bean and azuki bean, respectively. The germination process caused a significant increase of Phy and AcPh activities in faba bean (up to 147% and 210%) and azuki bean (up to 211% and 596%) and a reduction in the phytate phosphorus content (up to 81% and 63%, respectively). Phytate phosphorus content was affected only by soaking time in the case of faba bean. Finally, during the course of germination, IP6 and IP5 were rapidly degraded in faba bean (88% and 39%) and azuki bean (55% and 56%), and IP4 was only a short-living intermediate, which was increased during hydrolysis and degraded to inositol triphosphate. In this manner we could obtain a low-phytate, endogenous phosphatase-rich ingredient for enhancing human nutrition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 6-Phytase / metabolism
  • Acid Phosphatase / analysis*
  • Acid Phosphatase / metabolism
  • Fabaceae / enzymology*
  • Germination*
  • Hydrolysis
  • Inositol Phosphates / pharmacology
  • Phytic Acid / metabolism*
  • Seeds / enzymology
  • Vicia faba / enzymology*


  • Inositol Phosphates
  • Phytic Acid
  • Acid Phosphatase
  • 6-Phytase