Because of the high incidence of cardiovascular diseases in Asian countries, traditional fermented foods from Asia have been increasingly investigated for antiatherosclerotic effects. This study investigated the production of nattokinase, a serine fibrinolytic enzyme, in pigeon pea by Bacillus subtilis fermentation. B. subtilis 14714, B. subtilis 14715, B. subtilis 14716, and B. subtilis 14718 were employed to produce nattokinase. The highest nattokinase activity in pigeon pea was obtained using B. subtilis 14715 fermentation for 32 hours. In addition, the levels of antioxidants (phenolics and flavonoids) and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitory activity were increased in B. subtilis 14715-fermented pigeon pea, compared with those in nonfermented pigeon pea. In an animal model, we found that both water extracts of pigeon pea (100 mg/kg body weight) and water extracts of B. subtilis-fermented pigeon pea (100 mg/kg body weight) significantly improved systolic blood pressure (21 mmHg) and diastolic blood pressure (30 mmHg) in spontaneously hypertensive rats. These results suggest that Bacillus-fermented pigeon pea has benefits for cardiovascular health and can be developed as a new dietary supplement or functional food that prevents hypertension. © 2015, Food and Drug Administration, Taiwan. Published by Elsevier Taiwan LLC.

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