Nutritional aspects of six quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) ecotypes from three geographical zones of Chile

Margarita Miranda1, Antonio Vega-Galvez1*, Issis Quispe-Fuentes1, María José Rodríguez1, Hector Maureira2, and Enrique A. Martínez3

This study explored the diversity of the quinoa crop in Chile from a nutritional perspective. Nutritional properties, minerals, vitamins, and saponin content were assessed in seeds of six Chilean quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) ecotypes grown in three main production areas with distinctive climatic and edaphic conditions: Ancovinto and Cancosa in the North-Altiplano or High Plateau, Cáhuil and Faro in the central coastal area, and Regalona and Villarrica in the south of the country. There were significant differences (P < 0.05) in all the nutritional properties of the quinoa seeds in all three areas. Quinoa of the Villarrica ecotype showed the highest protein content (16.10 g 100 g-1 DM) and the highest content of vitamins E and C (4.644 ± 0.240 and 23.065 ± 1.119 mg 100 g-1 DM, respectively). The highest content of vitamins B1 (0.648 ± 0.006 mg 100 g-1 DM) and B3 (1.569 ± 0.026 mg 100 g-1 DM) was found in the Regalona ecotype, while the highest value of vitamin B2 (0.081 ± 0.002 mg 100 g-1 DM) occurred in the Ancovinto ecotype. Potassium was the most abundant mineral with a maximum value of 2325.56 mg 100 g-1 DM in the Cancosa ecotype. Saponin content varied from 0.84 g 100 g-1 DM in the Villarrica ecotype to 3.91 g 100 g-1 DM in the Cáhuil ecotype. Significant differences were found among the Chilean quinoa ecotypes grown under different climatic conditions; however, all the quinoa seeds exhibited a high nutritional value. These results are compatible with the genetic differences previously observed in the three geographical areas under study. Thus, if more studies are conducted to show the particular properties of quinoa from specific areas, it would be possible in the future to coin the term “controlled designation of origin” (appellation d’origine contrôlée) and add commercial value to Chilean quinoa seeds in the domestic and international markets.

Keywords: quinoa, vitamins, minerals, saponin content, nutritional properties.
1Universidad de La Serena, Facultad de Ingeniería, Av. Raúl Bitrán s/n, Box 599, La Serena, Chile. *Corresponding author (avegag@userena.cl).
2Universidad de La Serena, Laboratorio Central de Análisis, Cisternas Esq. Anfión Muñoz s/n, La Serena, Chile.
3Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas CEAZA, Av. Raúl Bitrán s/n, La Serena, Chile.