The nutritional value of Andalusian lupins

The cultivated lupin, which is used as cattle fodder (although its grains are also edible if the bitterness is removed with water and salt), belongs to the Lupinus albus. But now researchers from the Fat Institute (CSIC) and the University of Seville, after studying the seeds of six other species of lupin which grow wild in Andalusia or are cultivated in a marginal manner (Lupinus angustifolius, L. cosentinii, L. gredensis, L. hispanicus, L. luteus and L. micranthus) believe that they may represent new sources of quality proteins.

The data reflect that the species studied display a high protein content fluctuating between 23.8% and 33.6%, very similar to that observed in other legumes. Moreover, the protein digestibility of these lupins is high (between 82% and 89%) and is also similar to that of other legumes and cereals. The study concludes that L. luteus, L. hispanicus and L. cosentinii contain the proteins with the best nutritional properties and that the amino acid composition of the latter species is the most balanced.

While this is good news for those looking for new sources of good proteins, it is less good news for peanut allergics, a significant number of whom are also allergic to lupin and who therefore have little desire to see them used more widely in food manufacture.

Elena Pastor-Cavada, Rocío Juan, Julio E. Pastor, Manuel Alaiz y Javier Vioque. "Analytical nutritional characteristics of seed proteins in six wild Lupinus species from Southern Spain". Food Chemistry 117 (3): 466-469, 2009.

First published in September 2009


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