Germination is considered to be an effective process for improving the nutritional quality and functionality of cereals. In this study, changes of nutritional ingredients, antinutritional components, chemical composition, and antioxidant activities of buckwheat seeds over 72 h of germination were investigated, and the reasons for these changes are discussed. With the prolonged germination time, the contents of crude protein, reducing sugar, total phenolics, total flavonoids, and condensed tannins increased significantly, while the levels of crude fat, phytic acid, and the activity of trypsin inhibitor decreased. Phenolic compounds, such as rutin, vitexin, isovitexin, orientin, isoorientin, chlorogenic acid, trans-3-hydroxycinnamic acid, and p-hydroxybenzoic acid increased significantly during the germination process, which may be due to the activation of phenylalanine ammonialyase. The improvement of flavonoids led to significant enhancement of the antioxidant activities of germinated buckwheat. Germinated buckwheat had better nutritional value and antioxidant activities than ungerminated buckwheat, and it represented an excellent natural source of flavonoids and phenolic compounds, especially rutin and C-glycosylflavones. Therefore, germinated buckwheat could be used as a promising functional food for health promotion.
Keywords: C-glycosylflavones; antioxidant activity; buckwheat; germination; phenolic compounds.
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