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Phenolic content and antioxidant activity of pearled wheat and roller-milled fractions

Beta, T., Nam, S., Dexter, J.E., Sapirstein, H.D.
Cereal chemistry 2005 v.82 no.4 pp. 390-393
wheat, milling, rolling, phenolic compounds, antioxidant activity, food composition, wheat bran, milling quality, milling fractions, ferulic acid, middlings, wheat classes, geographical variation, free radicals
Wheat contains phenolic compounds concentrated mainly in bran tissues. This study examined the distribution of phenolics and antioxidant activities in wheat fractions derived from pearling and roller milling. Debranning (pearling) of wheat before milling is becoming increasingly accepted by the milling industry as a means of improving wheat rollermilling performance, making it of interest to determine the concentration of ferulic acid at various degrees of pearling. Eight cultivar samples were used, including five genotypes representing four commercial Canadian wheat classes with different intrinsic qualities. Wheat was pearled incrementally to obtain five fractions, each representing an amount of product equivalent to 5% of initial sample weight. Wheat was also roller milled without debranning. Total phenolic content of fractions was determined using the modified Folin-Ciocalteau method for all pearling fractions, and for bran, shorts, bran flour, and first middlings flour from roller milling. Antioxidant activity was determined on phenolic extracts by a method involving the use of the free radical 2,2-diphenyl-l-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH). Total phenolics were concentrated in fractions from the first and second pearlings (>4,000 mg/kg). Wheat fractions from the third and fourth pearlings still contained high phenolic content (>3,000 mg/kg). A similar trend was observed in antioxidant activity of the milled fractions with approximately equal to 4,000 mg/kg in bran and shorts, approximately equal to 3,000 mg/kg in bran flour, and <1,000 mg/kg in first middlings flour. Total phenolic content and antioxidant activity were highly correlated (R2 = 0.94). There were no significant differences between red and white wheat samples. A strong influence of environment (growing location) was indicated. Pearling represents an effective technique to obtain wheat bran fractions enriched in phenolics and antioxidants, thereby maximizing health benefits associated with wheat-based products.