Selenium-enriched sprouts. A raw material for fortified cereal-based diets.

J Agric Food Chem 2000 Nov;48(11):5362-8
Lintschinger J, Fuchs N, Moser J, Kuehnelt D, Goessler W.
Oekopharm F&E GmbH, Moosham 29, A-5580 Unternberg, Austria, and Institute of Chemistry, K.F. UNI Graz, Universitaetsplatz 1, A-8010 Graz, Austria.

The selenium supply in almost all European countries, including Austria and Germany, is below the recommended daily intake. In these countries, selenium fortification of foods and the use of selenium supplements are quite popular to compensate for low Se intake from diets. In general, wheat (Triticum aestivum) is known to be a good source for bioavailable selenium, and many studies have been performed to enrich selenium in wheat by selenium fertilization of the soil. In the present work, the process of sprouting was investigated as an alternative to enrich selenium in wheat. Sprouting was chosen because it additionally improves the nutritional value of seeds, for example, by a higher vitamin content, a better quality of protein, and some other parameters. Wheat, alfalfa (Medicago sativa), and sunflower (Helianthus annuus) seeds were germinated for 5 and 7 days in solutions containing selenate. The selenium sensitivity of the sprouts was tested by measuring visible germination levels and seedling development. Uptake rates were studied by determination of total selenium using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). Metabolism of the absorbed selenium was analyzed by determination of selenium species in extracts of the sprouts using anion exchange HPLC coupled to ICP-MS. It was shown that sunflower sprouts were the most resistant and had the highest uptake rates (up to 900 mg/kg), but almost 100% of the selenium was extracted with water and found to be nonmetabolized selenate. Wheat and alfalfa were less resistant and enriched selenium up to concentrations of 100 and 150 mg of Se/kg of dry mass, respectively. The metabolism of the selenate was inversely related to the total uptake rates. At low Se enrichment (approximately 1-2 mg of Se/kg), <20% of the total selenium content within the sprouts remained as inorganic selenium, indicating a high metabolism rate. With increasing uptake the amount of selenate increased to approximately 40-50%. However, with the method used it is possible to produce sprouts containing certain amounts of selenium, which might provide substantial proportions of bioavailable selenium. In combination with the generally high nutritional value of sprouts, they might serve for production of improved cereal-based diets.