Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/5/2003
Publication Date: 10/5/2003
Citation: FAN, X., THAYER, D.W., SOKORAI, K.J. CHANGES IN GROWTH AND ANTIOXIDANT STATUS OF ALFALFA SPROUTS DURING SPROUTING AS AFFECTED BY GAMMA IRRADIATION OF SEEDS. JOURNAL OF FOOD PROTECTION. 2004. V. 67. NO. 3. P. 561-566. Interpretive Summary: The FDA has approved doses of ionizing radiation up to 8 kGy for treatment of seeds intended for sprout production to inactivate human pathogens. Alfalfa sprouts are consumed raw, partially due to the demand of nutritive value. We investigated growth and nutritive values of sprouts as a function of the radiation dose to which the alfalfa seeds were exposed. Our results indicate the growth and development of sprouts from seeds were slowed by the irradiation of seeds, and less developed sprouts had higher nutritive values. When the sprouts reached the same yield, the nutritive values were similar in sprouts grown from irradiated or non-irradiated seeds. This information will be useful for sprout growers to implement ionizing radiation as a measure to improve microbiological safety and will also alleviate the consumers' concerns regarding the nutritive values of sprouts grown from irradiated seeds.
Technical Abstract: 'Viking 3000' alfalfa seeds irradiated with gamma rays to doses of 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 kGy were sprouted and allowed to grow for up to 8 days at 23 degree C. Percent germination, growth (yield and length), antioxidant capacity and ascorbic acid (AA) were measured during sprouting. Results showed percent germination of the seeds and the rates of growth of the sprouts were inversely related to the radiation dose absorbed by the seeds. Both antioxidant capacity and AA content expressed on a fresh weight basis decreased during growth of the sprouts. Sprouts grown from irradiated seeds had greater antioxidant capacity and AA content on a fresh weight basis than those grown from non-irradiated seeds. However, when the nutritive values were expressed on a per gram seed basis, irradiation had no effect on the nutritive values of sprouts.