Improvement of Chia Seeds with Antioxidant Activity, GABA, Essential Amino Acids, and Dietary Fiber by Controlled Germination Bioprocess

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2017 Dec;72(4):345-352. doi: 10.1007/s11130-017-0631-4.


Chia (Salvia hispanica L.) plant is native from southern Mexico and northern Guatemala. Their seeds are a rich source of bioactive compounds which protect consumers against chronic diseases. Germination improves functionality of the seeds due to the increase in the bioactive compounds and associated antioxidant activity. The purpose of this study was to obtain functional flour from germinated chia seeds under optimized conditions with increased antioxidant activity, phenolic compounds, GABA, essential amino acids, and dietary fiber with respect to un-germinated chia seeds. The effect of germination temperature and time (GT = 20-35 °C, Gt = 10-300 h) on protein, lipid, and total phenolic contents (PC, LC, TPC, respectively), and antioxidant activity (AoxA) was analyzed by response surface methodology as optimization tool. Chia seeds were germinated inside plastic trays with absorbent paper moisturized with 50 mL of 100 ppm sodium hypochlorite dissolution. The sprouts were dried (50 °C/8 h) and ground to obtain germinated chia flours (GCF). The prediction models developed for PC, LC, TPC, and AoxA showed high coefficients of determination, demonstrating their adequacy to explain the variations in experimental data. The highest values of PC, LC, TPC, and AoxA were obtained at two different optimal conditions (GT = 21 °C/Gt = 157 h; GT = 33 °C/Gt = 126 h). Optimized germinated chia flours (OGCF) had higher PC, TPC, AoxA, GABA, essential amino acids, calculated protein efficiency ratio (C-PER), and total dietary fiber (TDF) than un-germinated chia seed flour. The OGCF could be utilized as a natural source of proteins, dietary fiber, GABA, and antioxidants in the development of new functional beverages and foods.

Keywords: Antioxidant activity; Chia; GABA; Germination; Optimization; Phenolic compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Essential / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Dietary Fiber / analysis
  • Flour / analysis
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Food, Fortified / analysis
  • Germination / physiology*
  • Lipids / analysis
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plant Proteins / analysis
  • Salvia / chemistry*
  • Salvia / growth & development
  • Salvia / metabolism
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Seeds / growth & development
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / chemistry
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Amino Acids, Essential
  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Lipids
  • Plant Proteins
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid