The aim of this study was to investigate the application of elicitors (500 μM ascorbic acid, 50 μM folic acid, 5 mM glutamic acid and 50 ppm chitosan in 5 mM glutamic acid) during lentil germination up to 8 days as a strategy to increase germination rate and to enhance the accumulation of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and phenolic compounds. The effect of elicitation on the protein profile and antioxidant and angiotensin I converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activities of sprouted lentils was also evaluated. The application of elicitors did not negatively affect the germination yield of lentils and no significant changes on the protein pattern of lentils germinated in the presence of elicitors were observed. Chitosan/glutamic acid increased by 1.6-fold the GABA content in lentil sprouts, whilst ascorbic and folic acids as well as chitosan/glutamic acid were highly effective to enhance the total content of phenolic compounds and the antioxidant activity of sprouted lentils. All elicited lentil sprouts showed ability to inhibit ACE activity (IC50: 9.5-11.9 μg peptides/mL). Therefore, elicitation can be considered a promising approach to improve the content of compounds with antioxidant and potential antihypertensive activities in lentil sprouts.
Keywords: Antihypertensive compounds; Antioxidant activity; Elicitation; Lentils; Sprouts.