Walnut (Juglans regia L.) contains approximately 20-25 % protein with abundant essential amino acids. The enzymatic hydrolysate of Persian walnut (Chandler) seed proteins was prepared by incubation with three different proteases, including pancreatic chymotrypsin and trypsin, and a microbial enzyme proteinase K. The hydrolysates were found to possess excellent antioxidant capacities. The peptide fractions scavenged the 2, 2'-anizo-bis-(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) free radicals and inhibited the activity of reactive oxygen species. Walnut protein hydrolysates were also tested, for the first time, against the viability of human breast (MDA-MB231) and colon (HT-29) cancer cell lines. MTT, [3-(4, 5dimethylthiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide], assay was used to assess in vitro cancer cell viability upon treatment with the peptide fractions. The peptide fractions showed cell growth inhibition of 63 ± 1.73 % for breast cancer and 51 ± 1.45 % for colon cancer cells. Thus, a direct correlation between antioxidant and anticancer activities of walnut peptide fractions exists and supports their potential therapeutic benefit.
Keywords: Anticancer; Antioxidant; Bioactive peptides; Protease; Walnut proteins.