Quinoa seeds leach phytoecdysteroids and other compounds with anti-diabetic properties

Brittany L. Graf, Alexander Poulev, Peter Kuhn, Mary H. Grace, Mary Ann Lila, Ilya Raskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) contains high levels of biologically active phytoecdysteroids, which have been implicated in plant defense from insects, and have shown a range of beneficial pharmacological effects in mammals. We demonstrated that the most prevalent phytoecdysteroid, 20-hydroxyecdysone (20HE), was secreted (leached) from intact quinoa seeds into water during the initial stages of seed germination. Leaching efficiency was optimized by ethanol concentration (70% ethanol), temperature (80 °C), time (4 h), and solvent ratio (5 ml/g seed). When compared to extraction of macerated seeds, the leaching procedure released essentially all the 20HE available in the seeds (491 μg/g seed). The optimized quinoa leachate (QL), containing 0.86% 20HE, 1.00% total phytoecdysteroids, 2.59% flavonoid glycosides, 11.9% oil, and 20.4% protein, significantly lowered fasting blood glucose in obese, hyperglycemic mice. Leaching effectively releases and concentrates bioactive phytochemicals from quinoa seeds, providing an efficient means to produce a food-grade mixture that may be useful for anti-diabetic applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)178-185
Number of pages8
JournalFood chemistry
StatePublished - Nov 15 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecdysterone
  • Flavonoids
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Nutraceutical
  • Phytoecdysteroids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science


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