Quantification of bioactive compound content in advanced fenugreek lines selected in Alberta: levels of galactomannan
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum L.) was initially introduced to Alberta as a spice and forage crop. Numerous animal and clinical studies have associated the medicinal properties of the plant with galactomannan, diosgenin and 4-hydroxyisoleucine, the three major bioactive compounds found in fenugreek seed. These bioactive molecules have been demonstrated to regulate plasma cholesterol levels, reduce plasma triglyceride concentrations and stimulate insulin secretion for blood glucose metabolism. Fourteen advanced lines grown satisfactorily in southern Alberta were selected for quantification of these compounds over two harvest seasons. These lines were grown at three locations (Brooks, Bow Island and Lethbridge) in southern Alberta under two growing conditions (rain-fed or irrigated). In this study we report on five different seed lines which possessed a high galactomannan yield during the study; i.e., seed lines F75, L3312, CDC Quatro, F80 and L3308. Seed line F75 was the only line that performed well across all locations and growing conditions. It was observed that seed yield had a greater influence on galactomannan yield compared to seed galactomannan content. This suggests that cultivation of fenugreek plants for neutraceutical purposes should emphasize lines with high seed yield, as galactomannan content does not vary significantly among lines. An understanding of the interaction of bioactive compound content with respective ecotypes will assist in the selection of lines for their economic potential in the functional food and natural health product industry.
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