• tocols;
  • organic;
  • conventional;
  • cultivation;
  • barley;
  • HPLC


BACKGROUND: Tocotrienols and tocopherols (tocols) are important phytochemical compounds with antioxidant activity and potential benefits for human health. Among cereals, barley is a good source of tocols. In the present study the effect of two cultivation methods, organic and conventional, on the tocol content in 12 Greek barley varieties was investigated. A validated reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography method (RP-HPLC) with fluorescence detection (excitation at 292 nm, emission at 335 nm) was applied along with direct solvent extraction with acetonitrile at a 1:30 (w/v) sample/solvent ratio for tocol quantification.

RESULTS: The results showed statistically significant differences (P < 0.05) between the two cultivation methods (except for δ-tocopherol) as well as among varieties. In the case of organic cultivation the four homologues of tocotrienol (α-, β + γ- and δ-) increased, by 3.05–37.14% for α-tocotrienol, 15.51–41.09% for (β + γ)-tocotrienol and 30.45–196.61% for δ-tocotrienol, while those of tocopherol (α- and β + γ- but not δ-) decreased, by 5.90–36.34% for α-tocopherol and 2.84–46.49% for (β + γ)-tocopherol. A simple correlation analysis between tocols revealed a good correlation between (β + γ)-tocotrienol and δ-tocotrienol. Although there was a significant decrease in the important α-tocopherol in the varieties studied under organic cultivation, there was an overall increase in tocotrienol content.

CONCLUSION: The cultivation method (organic or conventional) had an important effect on tocotrienol and tocopherol concentrations in barley. An overall increase in total tocol content and a clear increment in the tocotrienol/tocopherol ratio were observed. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry