Effect of illumination on the content of melatonin, phenolic compounds, and antioxidant activity during germination of lentils (Lens culinaris L.) and kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.)

J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Nov 5;62(44):10736-43. doi: 10.1021/jf503613w. Epub 2014 Oct 23.


This study reports the effects of two different illumination conditions during germination (12 h light/12 h dark vs 24 h dark) in lentils (Lens culinaris L.) and kidney beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) on the content of melatonin and phenolic compounds, as well as the antioxidant activity. Germination led to relative increase in melatonin content and significant antioxidant activity, while the content of phenolic compounds decreased. The highest melatonin content was obtained after 6 days of germination under 24 h dark for both legumes. These germinated legume seeds with improved levels of melatonin might play a protective role against free radicals. Thus, considering the potent antioxidant activity of melatonin, these sprouts can be consumed as direct foods and be offered as preventive food strategies in combating chronic diseases through the diet.

Keywords: antioxidant capacity; germination; legumes; melatonin; phenolic compounds; sprouts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Germination / radiation effects*
  • Lens Plant / chemistry*
  • Lens Plant / growth & development
  • Lens Plant / radiation effects
  • Light
  • Melatonin / chemistry*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phaseolus / chemistry*
  • Phaseolus / growth & development
  • Phaseolus / radiation effects
  • Phenols / chemistry*
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • Seeds / radiation effects*


  • Antioxidants
  • Phenols
  • Melatonin