BIOLOGICAL ACTIVE SUBSTANCES OF AMARANTH: RESULTS OF RESEARCHES CONDUCTED IN NOVOSIBIRSK

Автор - | 05.02.2019

We present to your attention the results of research amaranth. The work was carried out by G. I. Vysochina, T. A. Kukushkin, N. B. Zheleznova, A. V. Zheleznov. The place of research is the Central Siberian Botanical Garden of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The work describes in detail exactly what biologically active substances are contained in amaranth.

Studies were conducted in Siberia, but they are still useful and indicative. Because they allow us to understand what exactly an amaranth is and how much it is valuable to humans.

Note! The article below summarizes the research. We have prepared excerpts for you – they are enough to evaluate the entire work as a whole and understand the results of the research.

Multipurpose Culture
Amaranth contains more than 70 species growing in zones with a temperate climate. Most of the plant species are found in South America – the homeland of amaranth. Also a large number of varieties and types of amaranth grows:

  • in North America;
  • India;
  • China

Note! A great contribution to the development of amaranth was made by Ukrainian breeders and farmers.

Amaranth is a very valuable vegetable, decorative, fodder, grain and industrial crops. The plant has a long history. It was actively cultivated by the ancient Indians – Maya, Incas, Aztecs. In European countries, amaranth was originally used as an ornamental plant, and only in the 18th century it began to grow as a grain crop.

In Asian countries, amaranth was initially popular as a grain crop. It was cultivated by mountain peoples:

  • China;
  • India;
  • Nepal;
  • Pakistan

Today amaranth is becoming increasingly popular in all regions of the planet. The grain obtained as a result of the cultivation of the plant is used for the production of: gluten-free amaranth flour

  • cereals;
  • vegetable oil;
  • flour;
  • bran;
  • cereal;
  • starch.

The high content in the amaranth of biological active substances and compounds make amaranth and products made from it, a good raw material for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.

In particular, in the grains of the plant – no more than 18% of high-quality vegetable protein and from 5 to 7% of vegetable fat.

The researchers note the fact that most of the amaranth protein is globulins and albumin, which have been found to have a balanced amino acid composition.

In the basis of fat present in amaranth, unsaturated fatty acids. The lipid fraction of seeds contains up to 10% squalene, an extremely important and valuable substance.

It was found that amaranth is – of course, not all species, but individual varieties – a promising forage crop. It is suitable for the production of animal feed, silage.

Substances of secondary origin contained in large quantities in amaranth affect its medicinal properties. Many pharmacological studies have been conducted. Their results proved that amaranth has the following properties and characteristics:

  • radioprotector;
  • hepatoprotective;
  • anti-inflammatory;
  • antipyretic;
  • antidiabetic;
  • antihepatotoxic;
  • antifungal;
  • antiproliferative;
  • and others.

Comprehensive studies of amaranth greens allowed to establish that the leaves of the plant contain the following important and even incredibly valuable substances:

  • quercetin;
  • rutin;
  • trefolin.

In the above-ground part of the greenery of the plant, up to 10% is observed. But in the seeds of amaranth pectins are insoluble protopectin.

Separately, researchers have noted the high value of amaranth oil. They focused on its ability to regulate the level of unsaturated fatty acids in the blood, suppress the growth of tumors, have a positive effect on the body in atherosclerosis, help in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension.

Note! The oil obtained from amaranth seed is characterized as an excellent tool for correcting the immunodeficiency states of the body.

Amaranth oil is recommended for the preparation of drugs for people suffering from celiac disease and diabetes.

Purpose of research
As noted in the work, the main goal of the research is to evaluate the types and lines of amaranth, available in the collection of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and to determine how many and what biological active substances are contained in amaranth.

For research, scientists selected 11 species of amaranth, 10 samples of uncertain species and 11 lines, which are grown every year at a special site of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Novosibirsk. Scientists selected plant samples for research in the amaranth flowering phase.

To determine the amount of biological active substances used special research methods.

The indicators obtained as a result of research were calculated strictly on the mass of absolutely dry raw materials. All the data presented below is the average of 3 parallel definitions of each indicator.

The results: what scientists were able to establish
The following species of amaranth were selected for research: Amaranthus caudatus L., A. mangostanus L., A. cruentus L. (Syn. A. paniculatus L.), A. bouchjnii Thell., A. edulis L., A. aureus L ., A. deflexus L., A. gangeticus l., A. powellis L., A. mantegazzianus Passerini, A. hybridus L.

Notes that each species has a different degree of knowledge. Naturally, separate data was obtained for each individual species.

A. caudatus or Tailed Amaranth
Most common in mountainous areas:

  • Argentina;
  • Bolivia;
  • Peru.

It is from these countries that amaranth was distributed in other regions of the planet. This type of amaranth has long been cultivated for grain, so it received the second name “Inca wheat”.

The study of the plant allowed to obtain data that it contains compounds of 4 classes:

  • sterols;
  • triterpenol;
  • polyprenols;
  • carbohydrates.

The obtained leaf extract made it possible to establish that the plant contains 7th triterpenic saponins.

In species such as A. caudatus, A. paniculatus and A. hypochondriacus, actively cultivated by farmers in Slovakia, the following were found:

  • carotenoids;
  • saponins;
  • flavonoids;
  • tannins.

As a result of research, it was possible to empirically experimentally isolate 2 new flavonoids, 3,5,7-trihydroxy-6-methyl-4′-methoxydihydroflavonol and 5,7-dihydroxy-8-methyl-4′-methoxy flavanone, from the flowers of the species A. caudatus as well as previously known substances – 5,7-dihydroxy-8-methyl-4′-methoxyisoflavone.

By the way! Scientists have found that amaranth leaves are a great source of red pigment, referred to as amarantine. It is a really valuable food coloring.

The researchers note that a large number of biologically active substances present in different parts of the A. Caudatus species is directly related to the high antioxidant activity of amaranth. In particular, data were obtained, according to which this species contains:

  • in leaves from 0.6 to 1.7% of flanols;
  • in inflorescences – from 0.2 to 1.8% of flanols.

And this is despite the fact that in most species, the leaves of these substances contain more than directly in the inflorescences.

A. cruentus (Syn. A. paniculatus) – purple amaranth, paniculate.
This type of plant is most common in the following regions: A. cruentus

  • the highlands of Mexico;
  • India;
  • Burma.

Actively cultivated in many countries of Central America and East Asia. This variety is distinguished by dark cherry and bright red panicles of inflorescences.

Phenolic compounds were found in the aboveground part of plants of this species, 2 coumarins – umbelliferone and scopoletin, a derivative of pilostigmine chromone, three flavonoids – 8 di-C-methylquercetin-3-Me-ether, eucalyptin and gnafalin, four new triterpenoid glycosides.

It was found that beta-cyanine varieties present in the inflorescences can be used as high-quality, natural dyes. In particular, with their help, it is worth coloring food products such as:

  • the drinks;
  • ice cream;
  • jelly, etc.

It was found that this species is characterized by high antioxidant, radioprotective properties. And all thanks to the increased content of substances such as:

  • proteins;
  • various minerals;
  • carotenoids;
  • lysine;
  • vitamin C;
  • methionine.

The researchers note that the leaves of the species contain the following substances:

  • vegetable protein (from 17.9 to 20.0%);
  • ascorbic acid (38-40 mg%);
  • carotene (2.4-4.5 mg%).

According to the researchers, the authors of the scientific work, the following substances are present in the inflorescences and the green part of amaranth:

  • 0.8-1.0% flavonols;
  • 0.21-0.33% catechins.

It is noted that tannins are present in the leaves. They are also available in inflorescences.

A. hybridus – hybrid amaranth
This type of plant grows in South America. Residents of South American countries use it mainly as a vegetable. Also, hybrid amaranth can be found in other regions of the planet:

  • in the Baltic countries;
  • in the Caucasus countries;
  • in Crimea.

Hybrid amaranth is also growing in Africa – it was this plant that was studied by scientists. They found that in the green leaves of hybrid amaranth in large quantities contain important and nutrients – minerals and trace elements, vitamins and amino acids.

In particular, the content of the following substances was found (indicated in milligrams for every 100 grams of product):

  • alkaloids 3.54;
  • flavonoids 0.83;
  • saponins 1.68;
  • tannins 0.49;
  • phenols 0.35;
  • hydrocyanic acid 16.22;
  • phytic acid 1.32.

Studies of the seeds of hybrid amaranth were conducted. Various acids were found in them, such as protocatechic, caffeic, ferulic and some others.

A. tricolor (Syn. A. gangeticus) – tricolor amaranth, annual. gangeticus
This type of plant mainly grows in the countries of Southeast Asia, as well as on Chinese, Indian embers, is found in Africa.

Researchers emphasize the content of substances in the leaves of this type of carotene and vitamin C, as well as polyphenols. The presence of such substances gives the leaves of amaranth tricolor antioxidant activity and radioprotective effect.

Some types of amaranth require additional study.
However, researchers note that some species require additional, more detailed study of their composition and properties. In particular, the following varieties and types are not as good as we would like:

  • aureus;
  • bouchjnii;
  • deflexus;
  • edulis;
  • mangostanus;
  • mantegazzianus;
  • powellis.

However, the available fragmentary data suggests that varieties such as A. bouchjnii and A. Edulis may be possible sources of biologically active substances. Among them are vegetable protein, ascorbic acid, carotenes, carotenoids, catechins and many others.

Summarizing
The researchers presented experimental data on the content of biological active substances in more than forty samples of amaranth. In particular, these are substances such as:

  • flavonols;
  • catechins;
  • tannins;
  • carotenoids.

We studied plants growing in different regions and climatic zones, but grown on the experimental plot of the Institute of Cytology and Genetics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Novosibirsk). This experiment is also interesting because earlier in Siberia only weeds of amaranth grew.

If we summarize the data obtained, the content of biologically active substances in amaranth will be as follows:

  • the amount of flanol in leaves is from 0.5 to 3.2%, in flowers – from 0.2 to 3.1%;
  • the number of catechins in the leaves is from 0.03 to 0.33, in flowers – from 0.02 to 0.19%;
  • the amount of tannins in the leaves – from 2.6 to 10.7%, in flowers – from 2.1 to 11.3%;
  • the amount of carotenoids in the leaves is from 7.6 to 101.4 mg%, in flowers – from 3.7 to 32.3 mg%.

The obtained research results allowed to establish that the varieties differ significantly in the content of biologically active substances. Therefore, the data provided information on which varieties and types of selection should be maintained. However, the data are relevant primarily for Siberia, because it was there that cultivated varieties were grown for research. But the information will be useful for Ukrainian farmers, breeders, because it provides some food for thought and analysis.

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