PHYTOCHEMICAL PROFILES AND ANTIOXIDANT PROPERTIES OF WHEAT
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The present study examined and compared wheat grain, bran, aleurone, and micronized aleurone for their antioxidant properties and phytochemical profiles. The results showed that wheat antioxidants were concentrated in bran fraction, particularly in the aleurone layer of wheat bran. Micronized aleurone demonstrated the highest antioxidant activities (scavenging activities against ABTS+, DPPH, ORAC, and chelating activity), and the highest total phenolics and phenolic acids concentration, suggesting that post-harvest treatment may affect the availability of wheat antioxidants. The present +study also investigated bran samples of seven wheat varieties from four different countries for their antioxidant properties and phytochemical profiles. The bran samples exerted enormous differences in concentrations among their phenolic acids, tocopherols and carotenoids. Their antioxidant activities were also notably different from 13% (scavenging capacity against O2-) to 99% (ORAC). These data suggest that wheat varieties and growing conditions might alter wheat antioxidant properties and phytochemical compositions. In addition, eight selected Maryland grown soft wheat varieties or experimental lines were examined for potential beneficial components and antioxidant properties. These soft wheat varieties significantly differed in their ABTS+ scavenging activity and chelating activity. Significant amount of phenolic acids have been demonstrated in all soft wheat grain. But their phenolic acid content markedly differed among different varieties which mainly (89% - 94%) existed as the insoluble bound form with ferulic acid as the predominant phenolic acid. These data suggest the possibility to produce soft wheat varieties rich in selected health beneficial factors for optimum human nutrition through breeding programs. Finally, five phenolic acids commonly present in wheat grain and fractions were examined and compared for their radical scavenging properties and chelating capacities using spectrophotometric and electron spin resonance measurements. These phenolic acids differed in their properties to react with and quench HO, O2-, ABTS+, and DPPH, as well as their capacities to form chelating complexes with transition metals. Strong structure-activity relationships were observed in the present study. Both substitutes on the phenyl ring and the conjugated carbon skeleton may influence the antioxidant properties of these phenolic acids.