Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is known for its exceptional nutritional value and potential health benefits. The present study identified the composition of different forms of extractable phenolics and betacyanins of quinoa cultivars in white, red and black, and how they contribute to antioxidant activities. Results showed that at least 23 phenolic compounds were found in either free or conjugated forms (liberated by alkaline and/or acid hydrolysis); the majority of which were phenolic acids, mainly vanillic acid, ferulic acid and their derivatives as well as main flavonoids quercetin, kaempferol and their glycosides. Betacyanins, mainly betanin and isobetanin, were confirmed for the first time to be the pigments of the red and black quinoa seeds, instead of anthocyanins. Darker quinoa seeds had higher phenolic concentration and antioxidant activity. Findings of these phenolics, along with betacyanins in this study add new knowledge to the functional components of quinoa seeds of different cultivar background.
Keywords: Antioxidant activity; Betacyanin; Betanin; Conjugated phenolics; Free phenolics; Polyphenols; Quinoa.
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