Background: Consumers are more aware of the role of healthy diet in preventing food-related diseases (Cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc.). Consequently, they are looking for products with beneficial nutritional attributes that encourage the food industry to develop functional foods. Aims: In this study, we aimed at using a natural bioprocess to improve durum wheat “Triticum durum” nutritional properties for its further use as a functional ingredient. Material and Methods: Six durum wheat cultivars were tested: four high yielding and two landrace ones. Seeds were germinated for 48 hours at 22°C. Nutritional properties were evaluated through proximate composition and bioactive compounds (carotenoids, total phenol, vitamin C and tocopherols) levels. Results: Biochemical characterization of sprouted seeds showed significant modifications with a decrease in ash, starch contents and an increase in reducing sugars, and in proteins. Improvements in bioactive compounds were also observed in sprouted seeds. Vitamin C, tocopherols, total phenols, carotenoid pigments as well as antioxidant activity significantly increased after sprouting. Interestingly, durum wheat landrace cultivars showed the best performances. Conclusions: Results provided by our study proved that sprouting is an interesting natural tool to use in the food industry for the development of cereal products with added nutritional value.
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