Microwave-Induced Stimulation of L-DOPA, Phenolics and Antioxidant Activity in Fava Bean (Vicia faba) for Parkinson's Diet

Process Biochemistry
Volume 39, Issue 11, 30 July 2004, Pages 1775-1784

Reena Randhir and Kalidas Shetty
Chenoweth Laboratory, Department of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA  

Fava bean sprouts are rich in levo-dihydroxy phenylalanine (L-DOPA), the precursor of dopamine, and are being investigated for use in the management of Parkinson's disease. The phytopharmaceutical value was improved during germination by a microwave treatment of the seeds, the phenolic content of the germinated sprouts increasing 700% and L-DOPA content by 59% compared to control. A higher antioxidant activity that was observed correlated with total phenolics and L-DOPA contents. The glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity peaked on the seventh day of germination with a concurrent increase in phenolics indicating enhanced mobilization of carbohydrates. A higher guaiacol peroxidase activity was observed indicating an increased polymerization of phenolics. The elevated superoxide dismutase activity was proportional to the stimulation of antioxidant activity. The major implication from this study is that microwave treatment can significantly stimulate the phenolic antioxidant activity and Parkinson's relevant L-DOPA content of fava beans sprouts.