The antioxidant activity of the polyphenols extracted from the seeds of 28 Vicia species collected in southern Spain was investigated. The seeds were all taken from wild populations, although some of these species are or have been used to feed livestock and for crop rotation. The polyphenol concentration in ground seeds, ranging from 1.9 to 21.3 mg/g, was generally lower in populations belonging to species that were cultivated. The highest specific polyphenols antioxidant activity (referred to as catechin equivalents in the extracts) was observed in the extracts from Vicia parviflora and Vicia tenuifolia. On the contrary, the highest total antioxidant activity (referred as to extract volume) was observed in Vicia sativa. The antioxidant activity in these extracts was at least twice the observed in chickpea, lupin and soy extracts. These results suggest that these easy to grow Vicia species may represent a source of natural polyphenols with high antioxidant activity.


The polyphenols content and antioxidative activity in 28 species of Vicia (Fabaceae) have been studied. Vicia genus is a group of legumes with a high potential interest in human nutrition. In this work, we show that, in addition to their recognized good nutritional properties, Vicia contains polyphenols with a high antioxidant activity, even higher than the observed in commercial legumes such as chickpea, lupin or soy. Hence, it is shown that Vicia seeds are a source of functional compounds, such as antioxidant polyphenols, that may have health-promoting properties resulting in a revalorization of these crops.