Despite the common beans' nutritional and phytochemical value, in Portugal its consumption decreased more than 50% in the last decade. The present study aimed to characterize phenolic composition of the Portuguese traditional varieties and corresponding soaked seed fractions (including soaking water). With such purpose, the phenolic composition (total content of soluble phenolics, flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins) and in vitro antioxidant activity were evaluated in the raw whole flour of 31 Portuguese common bean varieties. The phenolic composition of the soaked fractions was respectively compared to the raw flour. Phenolic compounds' identification and relative quantification were achieved by UPLC-TripleTOF-MS for one representative variety and their fractions. The highest phenolic content was found in colored varieties and the brown market class highlighted as the richest one. The loss of phenolic compounds to the soaking water was highly dependent on variety. The predominant phenolic compounds' classes were flavan-3-ols (soaking water and coats), flavonols (coats), and phenolic acids (cotyledons). This characterization study showed the diversity on the phenolic composition of Portuguese varieties and the need to adjust the soaking and peeling processes to the variety (considering the possible loss of potential health promoter compounds, e.g., phenolic compounds).
Keywords: Phaseolus vulgaris; Portuguese varieties; UPLC-TripleTOF-MS; peeling; phenolic compounds; soaking; spectrophotometry.