International Journal of Current Research and Review
ISSN: 2231-2196 (Print)ISSN: 0975-5241 (Online)
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IJCRR - 6(23), December, 2014

Pages: 75-79

Date of Publication: 10-Dec-2014

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Author: Omi Laila, Imtiyaz Murtaza

Category: General Sciences

Abstract:Seed sprouting is gaining importance commercially because it not only improves the nutritional and antioxidant value of seeds but also removes some anti-nutrients like enzyme inhibitors in them and thus makes them safer for diet. Sprouts are the richest source of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals as well as secondary metabolite composition (including phenols, flavonoids, steroids and alkaloids) and thus serve as a better source of nutrients and antioxidant rich phytochemicals as compared to seeds. Improvement of nutritional and nutraceutical value of seeds by sprouting is beneficial for human health and can be incorporated in Pharmaceutical preparations or can be directly consumed as a functional food. Such dietary constituent are preferred over drugs as comparatively they pose very little or no possible side effect even though consumed for long time. Due to their simple and inexpensive solutions to the global health problems their use in prevention and treatment of common oxidative stress linked diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers is emerging. However, there remains much work to be done for an optimal outcome and in gaining their dietary acceptability as drug if handled properly in accordance to safety guidelines

Keywords: Seed sprouting, Bioactive compounds, Oxidative stress, Antioxidant activity, Functional food

Full Text:

Sprouts are four to ten days old seedlings formed from seeds during germination and are termed to be authentic “super” foods, that are really easy to grow, and don’t require an outdoor garden. Sprouts mainly originate from the Leguminosae family and there are different varieties of sprouts existing in the market, such as the alfalfa, mung bean, radish, and soy sprouts [1]. As the sprouts are consumed at the beginning of the growing phase, their nutrient concentration remains very high [2]. They have long been used in the diet as “health food”. It has been widely reported that sprouts provide higher nutritive value than raw seeds and their production is simple and inexpensive [3]. Although the use of sprouts as a food source for man is as old as the use of seeds, it is only in recent times that science has begun to unravel the chemistry of a sprouting  seed, and its potential significance in both human and animal nutrition. Epidemiological studies have shown that consumption of sprouts may help to protect against certain chronic diseases and cancers. Due to the high content of bioactive agents that function as natural antioxidants and aid in cancer prevention[4]. Thus, consumption of sprouts can bring about a host of IJCRR Section: General Science health benefits. However, due to number of outbreaks associated with sprouts due to presence of pathogenic organisms, proper safety guidelines should be followed.

Nutritional benefits of sprouts When a seed sprouts, the original composition essentially changes during the germination process and the nutrientdensity of a seed is enhanced at the expense of calories. The stored food and enzymes needed for growth of the mature plant are mobilized. The protein, carbohydrate and fat are broken down to free amino acids, simple sugars and soluble compounds [5]. The quantity of the protein fraction significantly changes; the proportion of the nitrogen containing fractions shifts towards the smaller protein fractions, oligo-peptides and free amino acids. Beyond this, the quantity of the amino acids (some of them increase, others decrease or do not alter) is altered and some of the non-protein amino acids are also produced during germination. In consequence of these changes, the biological value of the sprout protein increases, and greater digestibility has been also established in the animal experiments. The vitamins including A, B-complex (B-12), C, E and K, increase to meet the growth needs of a young plant whereas, the essential minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc are supplied in organic form, “chelated” for better assimilation [6]. The composition of the triglycerides also changes, owing to their hydrolysis to free fatty acids originates and can be considered as a certain kind of pre-digestion. Generally, the ratio of the saturated fatty acids increases compared to unsaturated fatty acids, and the ratio within the unsaturated fatty acids shifts to the essential linoleic acid. The quantity of the anti-nutritive components such as the flatulence-producing α-galactosides, trypsin and chymotrypsin inhibitors, which affect the digestion of proteins, are reduced after germination, while as the utilization of the macro and micro elements are increased due to germination [7,8]. Furthermore, in addition, to being a rich source of nutritional compounds, the sprouts contain as many phytochemicals (sulphoraphane, sulphoraphene, isothiocyanates, glucosinolates, enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins) as an entire plant. Research has shown that phytochemical rich foods possess diverse disease preventive and health promoting properties [9]. Therefore, the improvement of nutritional and nutraceutical value of seeds will be beneficial for human health [10]. In the last decades of the past century, the attention of experts dealing with the healthy nutrition turned more and more towards the determination of the biological value of the nutritionally rich sprouts [11]. Thus, overall germination can lead to the development of such functional foods that have various positive effects on the humans and thus can be helpful in maintaining the proper health [12]. Enhanced phytochemical composition of seeds due to sprouting During the recent years, an increased interest in the area of research related to secondary metabolite production during the germination process has arisen, which can have valuable health promoting properties and can act as bioactive or functional components in foods. All this requires knowledge and know-how of the germination process and the biochemistry behind it. Among the secondary products of plant metabolism, phenolic compounds have attracted more and more attention as potential agents for preventing and treating many oxidative stress-related diseases [13]. Several studies have been conducted to compare the phenolic content, flavonoid content, antioxidant activity and antioxidant enzyme activity in seeds and sprouts of various leguminous plants. In a recent study, Chon et al [6] studied the effect of sprouting on total phenols and antioxidant activity of soybean, mungbean and cowpea and observed that sprouting increased the nutritive value of seeds, in terms of phenolics and flavonoids in a natural way. The total phenols content and total flavonoid levels were found to be highest in soybean sprout extracts, followed by cowpea and mung bean sprout extracts while DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picryl hydrazyl radical) free radical scavenging activity was higher in cowpea or mung bean sprouts than in soybean sprouts. Similar kind of results were also obtained [14] while demonstrating the effect of sprouting on phenolic content and antioxidant activity in chickpea seed. Guoet al [15] also reported that germination dramatically increased total phenols, total flavonoids and antioxidant activity in mung bean sprouts in a time dependent manner, upto 4.5, 6.8 and 6 times higher respectively than the original concentration of mung bean seeds. In another important study, total phenolics, quercetin and ascorbic acid in buckweed sprouts were reported to be maximized on 8th day of germination, when compared to their un-germinated counterparts [16]. Likewise, fenugreek sprouts have also been found to show significant increase in their total phenol content as well as their antioxidant activity through elicited sprouting [10, 17, 18]. Natural elicitors also play a great role in increasing the phytochemical content in sprouts. Recently, Perez-Bablibrea et al [19] proved that elicitation of broccoli sprouts with salicylic acid solution increased their flavonoids. In the salicyclic treatments flavonoids content including rutin and quercetin of buckwheat sprouts was found to maximise drastically on seventh day during the germination process [20]. Literature survey also suggests that the germination caused a clear increase of saponin content of seeds as the germination proceeds. In one of the studies, Jyothi et al [21] reported that compared to seeds, the saponin content was increased to almost 3.2 times after soybean germination. In parallel to this, while studying the sapogenin make up of fenugreek plant at various stages of growth along with the different parts of the seeds, the seedlings were found to have the highest diosgenin (and other steroid sapogenin) content, compared to all other stages of growth [22]. In a recent report, Guajardo-Flores [23] concluded that the saponin concentration was increased in sprouts and cotyledons of germinated black beans to 1.9 and 2.1-fold, respectively. Germination, in addition to cause increase in protein content, dietary fibre, vitamins and bioavailability of trace elements and minerals, is one of the most common processes for the reduction of some anti-nutritive compounds, [24]. In one of the study, in comparison to their seeds, the anti-nutritional factors of lupin sprouts including oligosaccharides (RFOs),alkaloids, globulin and residual fraction content showed a clear decrease during the germination process whereas, a distinct increase of their non-protein fraction was observed [25]. A decrease in trigonelline content (alkaloid) in germinating beans, lentils and peas as well as in cotyledons of germinating mungbean (Phaseolusaureus) seeds has also been documented [26]. Kamal and Ahmad [27] also observed a time dependent decrease of alkaloid content in Nigella Sativa during germination.

Health benefits of sprouts Currently, there is much work underway to develop proper treatments for various oxidative stress related diseases. The seeds and sprouts represent excellent examples of such functional foods, defined as lowering the risk of various degenerative diseases including diabetes and several types of cancers [6]. Therefore, the consumption of seeds and sprouts has become increasingly popular among people interested in improving and maintaining their health status by changing dietary habits. A number of reports documented till date supports that sprouts can act as a potential anti-diabetic functional food. One of the recent studies on phenolic enriched pea sprouts suggests them to possess much higher hypoglycemic activity than their seeds, in relation to diabetes management. Sprouts including mung bean sprouts [28, 29], broccoli sprouts [30], sunflower sprouts [31], buckwheat sprouts [32], Macunapruriens sprouts [33] and chickpea sprouts [34] have been demonstrated to exhibit a strong antidiabetic activity under in vivo conditions. In a four weeks randomized double-blind clinical trial, broccoli sprouts have been found to improve insulin resistance among type 2 diabetic human patients [30]. Similarly, anti-diabetic mung bean sprouts improves glucose tolerance and increases insulin immunological reactivity as five weeks dietary intake of mung bean sprout has been reported to lower blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetic KK-A(y) mice [35]. Likewise, wheat sprouts are reported to be therapeutic for diabetes through the stimulation of insulin secretion [34]. As dietary sprouts possess potential benefits to ameliorate blood glucose levels, and reduces the production of hazardous AGEs that damage tissue physiology. Thus, consumption of sprouts in diet can be also helpful to decrease the incidence of secondary complications associated with diabetes [37]. In this regard, sunflower sprouts are anti-glycative and it potentially inhibits the formation of advanced glycation end products and strongly scavenges damaging free radicals caused by excess blood glucose [38]. Sprouts are also known to improve serum lipid profile and protect against coronary diseases. In one of the study, buckwheat sprouts on the eighth day of germination are reported to contain optimal nutrients for lowering plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels (39). The sprouts of broccoli [40], alfalfa [41], chickpea [34], and radish [42] also significantly improve fat metabolism, reduces blood cholesterol and lowers blood glucose levels. They are known to significantly increase the survival rates by reducing inflammatory hazards that precede obesity [43]. Dietary sprouts also possess protective effects against various types of cancers. Broccoli sprouts have been found to inhibit the development and growth of lung cancer, skin tumour urinary bladder cancer, prostate cancer cells, ovarian cancer and breast cancer [44, 45, 46]. Likewise, Japanese radish sprouts are reported to prevent breast cancer and flaxseed sprouts inhibit human breast cancer cell growth [47]. Similarly, antidiabetic mung bean sprouts suppresses human melanoma tumour and anti-diabetic wheat sprouts induces apoptosis of human cancer cells [48]. Thus, when handled and distributed in accordance to safety guidelines, sprouts are affordable and accessible solutions to the global burden of chronic diseases.

The present review indicates that germination can lead to the development of such type of foods which have various positive effects in the humans. If proper interventions are utilized to minimize pathogenic microbes and other risks in sprouts, such metabolites enriched foods can be incorporated in pharmaceutical preparations for maintaining optimal human health or can be directly consumed as a functional food. However, there remains much work to be done as their mechanism of action to protect against a certain kind of disease at a cellular, biochemical and molecular level have not been comprehensively defined. A better knowledge on the chemistry of bioactive compounds synthesised during sprouting process, their isolation, their characterisation and finally their molecular interactions with target may have much higher impacts for novel drug discovery.

Authors acknowledge the immense help received from the scholars whose articles are cited and included in references of this manuscript. The authors are also grateful to authors / editors / publishers of all those articles, journals and books from where the literature for this article has been reviewed and discussed


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A Study by Amr Y. Zakaria et al. entitled "Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms of ATP-Binding Cassette Gene(ABCC3 rs4793665) affect High Dose Methotrexate-Induced Nephrotoxicity in Children with Osteosarcoma" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 19
A Study by Kholis Ernawati et al. entitled "The Utilization of Mobile-Based Information Technology in the Management of Dengue Fever in the Community Year 2019-2020: Systematic Review" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 18
A Study by Bhat Asifa et al. entitled "Efficacy of Modified Carbapenem Inactivation Method for Carbapenemase Detection and Comparative Evaluation with Polymerase Chain Reaction for the Identification of Carbapenemase Producing Klebsiella pneumonia Isolates" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 17
A Study by Gupta R. et al. entitled "A Clinical Study of Paediatric Tracheostomy: Our Experience in a Tertiary Care Hospital in North India" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 16
A Study by Chandran Anand et al. entitled "A Prospective Study on Assessment of Quality of Life of Patients Receiving Sorafenib for Hepatocellular Carcinoma" is awarded Best article for Vol 13 issue 15
A Study by Rosa PS et al. entitled "Emotional State Due to the Covid – 19 Pandemic in People Residing in a Vulnerable Area in North Lima" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 14
A Study by Suvarna Sunder J et al. entitled "Endodontic Revascularization of Necrotic Permanent Anterior Tooth with Platelet Rich Fibrin, Platelet Rich Plasma, and Blood Clot - A Comparative Study" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 13
A Study by Mona Isam Eldin Osman et al. entitled "Psychological Impact and Risk Factors of Sexual Abuse on Sudanese Children in Khartoum State" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 12
A Study by Khaw Ming Sheng & Sathiapriya Ramiah entitled "Web Based Suicide Prevention Application for Patients Suffering from Depression" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 11
A Study by Purushottam S. G. et al. entitled "Development of Fenofibrate Solid Dispersions for the Plausible Aqueous Solubility Augmentation of this BCS Class-II Drug" is awarded Best article for Vol 13 issue 10
A Study by Kumar S. et al. entitled "A Study on Clinical Spectrum, Laboratory Profile, Complications and Outcome of Pediatric Scrub Typhus Patients Admitted to an Intensive Care Unit from a Tertiary Care Hospital from Eastern India" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 09
A Study by Mardhiah Kamaruddin et al. entitled "The Pattern of Creatinine Clearance in Gestational and Chronic Hypertension Women from the Third Trimester to 12 Weeks Postpartum" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 08
A Study by Sarmila G. B. et al. entitled "Study to Compare the Efficacy of Orally Administered Melatonin and Clonidine for Attenuation of Hemodynamic Response During Laryngoscopy and Endotracheal Intubation in Gastrointestinal Surgeries" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 07
A Study by M. Muthu Uma Maheswari et al. entitled "A Study on C-reactive Protein and Liver Function Tests in Laboratory RT-PCR Positive Covid-19 Patients in a Tertiary Care Centre – A Retrospective Study" is awarded Best Article of Vol 13 issue 06 Special issue Modern approaches for diagnosis of COVID-19 and current status of awareness
A Study by Gainneos PD et al. entitled "A Comparative Evaluation of the Levels of Salivary IgA in HIV Affected Children and the Children of the General Population within the Age Group of 9 – 12 Years – A Cross-Sectional Study" is awarded Best Article of Vol 13 issue 05 Special issue on Recent Advances in Dentistry for better Oral Health
A Study by Alkhansa Mahmoud et al. entitled "mRNA Expression of Somatostatin Receptors (1-5) in MCF7 and MDA-MB231 Breast Cancer Cells" is awarded Best Article of Vol 13 issue 06
A Study by Chen YY and Ghazali SRB entitled "Lifetime Trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder Symptoms and Early Adolescence Risk Factors for Poor Physical Health Outcome Among Malaysian Adolescents" is awarded Best Article of Vol 13 issue 04 Special issue on Current Updates in Plant Biology to Medicine to Healthcare Awareness in Malaysia
A Study by Kumari PM et al. entitled "Study to Evaluate the Adverse Drug Reactions in a Tertiary Care Teaching Hospital in Tamilnadu - A Cross-Sectional Study" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 05
A Study by Anu et al. entitled "Effectiveness of Cytological Scoring Systems for Evaluation of Breast Lesion Cytology with its Histopathological Correlation" is awarded Best Article of Vol 13 issue 04
A Study by Sharipov R. Kh. et al. entitled "Interaction of Correction of Lipid Peroxidation Disorders with Oxibral" is awarded Best Article of Vol 13 issue 03
A Study by Tarek Elwakil et al. entitled "Led Light Photobiomodulation Effect on Wound Healing Combined with Phenytoin in Mice Model" is awarded Best Article of Vol 13 issue 02
A Study by Mohita Ray et al. entitled "Accuracy of Intra-Operative Frozen Section Consultation of Gastrointestinal Biopsy Samples in Correlation with the Final Histopathological Diagnosis" is awarded Best Article for Vol 13 issue 01
A Study by Badritdinova MN et al. entitled "Peculiarities of a Pain in Patients with Ischemic Heart Disease in the Presence of Individual Combines of the Metabolic Syndrome" is awarded Best Article for Vol 12 issue 24
A Study by Sindhu Priya E S et al. entitled "Neuroprotective activity of Pyrazolone Derivatives Against Paraquat-induced Oxidative Stress and Locomotor Impairment in Drosophila melanogaster" is awarded Best Article for Vol 12 issue 23
A Study by Habiba Suhail et al. entitled "Effect of Majoon Murmakki in Dysmenorrhoea (Usre Tams): A Standard Controlled Clinical Study" is awarded Best Article for Vol 12 issue 22
A Study by Ghaffar UB et al. entitled "Correlation between Height and Foot Length in Saudi Population in Majmaah, Saudi Arabia" is awarded Best Article for Vol 12 issue 21
A Study by Siti Sarah Binti Maidin entitled "Sleep Well: Mobile Application to Address Sleeping Problems" is awarded Best Article for Vol 12 issue 20
A Study by Avijit Singh"Comparison of Post Operative Clinical Outcomes Between “Made in India” TTK Chitra Mechanical Heart Valve Versus St Jude Mechanical Heart Valve in Valve Replacement Surgery" is awarded Best Article for Vol 12 issue 19
A Study by Sonali Banerjee and Mary Mathews N. entitled "Exploring Quality of Life and Perceived Experiences Among Couples Undergoing Fertility Treatment in Western India: A Mixed Methodology" is awarded Best Article for Vol 12 issue 18
A Study by Jabbar Desai et al. entitled "Prevalence of Obstructive Airway Disease in Patients with Ischemic Heart Disease and Hypertension" is awarded Best Article for Vol 12 issue 17
A Study by Juna Byun et al. entitled "Study on Difference in Coronavirus-19 Related Anxiety between Face-to-face and Non-face-to-face Classes among University Students in South Korea" is awarded Best Article for Vol 12 issue 16
A Study by Sudha Ramachandra & Vinay Chavan entitled "Enhanced-Hybrid-Age Layered Population Structure (E-Hybrid-ALPS): A Genetic Algorithm with Adaptive Crossover for Molecular Docking Studies of Drug Discovery Process" is awarded Best article for Vol 12 issue 15
A Study by Varsha M. Shindhe et al. entitled "A Study on Effect of Smokeless Tobacco on Pulmonary Function Tests in Class IV Workers of USM-KLE (Universiti Sains Malaysia-Karnataka Lingayat Education Society) International Medical Programme, Belagavi" is awarded Best article of Vol 12 issue 14, July 2020
A study by Amruta Choudhary et al. entitled "Family Planning Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Among Women of Reproductive Age from Rural Area of Central India" is awarded Best Article for special issue "Modern Therapeutics Applications"
A study by Raunak Das entitled "Study of Cardiovascular Dysfunctions in Interstitial Lung Diseas epatients by Correlating the Levels of Serum NT PRO BNP and Microalbuminuria (Biomarkers of Cardiovascular Dysfunction) with Echocardiographic, Bronchoscopic and HighResolution Computed Tomography Findings of These ILD Patients" is awarded Best Article of Vol 12 issue 13 
A Study by Kannamani Ramasamy et al. entitled "COVID-19 Situation at Chennai City – Forecasting for the Better Pandemic Management" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 12
A Study by Muhammet Lutfi SELCUK and Fatma entitled "Distinction of Gray and White Matter for Some Histological Staining Methods in New Zealand Rabbit's Brain" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 11
A Study by Anamul Haq et al. entitled "Etiology of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding in Adolescents – Emphasis Upon Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 10
A Study by entitled "Estimation of Reference Interval of Serum Progesterone During Three Trimesters of Normal Pregnancy in a Tertiary Care Hospital of Kolkata" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 09
A Study by Ilona Gracie De Souza & Pavan Kumar G. entitled "Effect of Releasing Myofascial Chain in Patients with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome - A Randomized Clinical Trial" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 08
A Study by Virendra Atam et. al. entitled "Clinical Profile and Short - Term Mortality Predictors in Acute Stroke with Emphasis on Stress Hyperglycemia and THRIVE Score : An Observational Study" is awarded best article for  Vol 12 issue 07
A Study by K. Krupashree et. al. entitled "Protective Effects of Picrorhizakurroa Against Fumonisin B1 Induced Hepatotoxicity in Mice" is awarded best article for issue Vol 10 issue 20
A study by Mithun K.P. et al "Larvicidal Activity of Crude Solanum Nigrum Leaf and Berries Extract Against Dengue Vector-Aedesaegypti" is awarded Best Article for Vol 10 issue 14 of IJCRR
A study by Asha Menon "Women in Child Care and Early Education: Truly Nontraditional Work" is awarded Best Article for Vol 10 issue 13
A study by Deep J. M. "Prevalence of Molar-Incisor Hypomineralization in 7-13 Years Old Children of Biratnagar, Nepal: A Cross Sectional Study" is awarded Best Article for Vol 10 issue 11 of IJCRR
A review by Chitra et al to analyse relation between Obesity and Type 2 diabetes is awarded 'Best Article' for Vol 10 issue 10 by IJCRR. 
A study by Karanpreet et al "Pregnancy Induced Hypertension: A Study on Its Multisystem Involvement" is given Best Paper Award for Vol 10 issue 09

List of Awardees

A Study by Ese Anibor et al. "Evaluation of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders Among Delta State University Students in Abraka, Nigeria" from Vol 13 issue 16 received Emerging Researcher Award

A Study by Alkhansa Mahmoud et al. entitled "mRNA Expression of Somatostatin Receptors (1-5) in MCF7 and MDA-MB231 Breast Cancer Cells" from Vol 13 issue 06 received Emerging Researcher Award

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Disclaimer: International Journal of Current Research and Review (IJCRR) provides platform for researchers to publish and discuss their original research and review work. IJCRR can not be held responsible for views, opinions and written statements of researchers published in this journal.


International Journal of Current Research and Review (IJCRR) provides platform for researchers to publish and discuss their original research and review work. IJCRR can not be held responsible for views, opinions and written statements of researchers published in this journal


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