Get access

Optimisation of a biotechnological procedure for selective fractionation of bioactive inositols in edible legume extracts


Correspondence to: María L Sanz, Instituto de Química Orgánica General (CSIC), Juan de la Cierva, 3, 28006 Madrid, Spain. E-mail:



Currently, disorders such as diabetes mellitus, obesity or atherosclerosis are recognised as major global health problems. The use of inositols for treating these illnesses has attracted considerable attention and their extraction from natural sources presents added value as they are considered bioactive ingredients in the food industry. Legumes are natural and rich sources of inositols; however, the co-existence of other low molecular weight carbohydrates (LMWCs) in their extracts, which interfere in their bioactivity, might constitute an important drawback, thereby making their removal essential.


LMWCs, including inositols, methyl-inositols and glycosyl-inositols of different legume extracts, were determined by GC-MS; the presence of bornesitol (2.35 mg g−1) and lathyritol (0.27 mg g−1) were reported for the first time in grass peas. The use of Saccharomyces cerevisiae for the selective removal of interfering carbohydrates was optimised. Incubation time (3–40 h) was highly dependent on the composition of the legume considered; inositol contents were generally stable along the treatment.


Removal of interfering LMWCs from inositol-enriched extracts was successfully achieved using a clean and easily scalable fractionation methodology. This biotechnological procedure not only represents high interest for the production of bioactive food ingredients but for applications in other research areas. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry