August 7, 2008


Lentils and white beans could be suitable alternatives to soy



Lentils and white beans may be suitable alternatives for soy, even though it may not quite match soy in terms of protein content, a German study found. 


The PlantPro project, involving tests of more than 20 plants for their protein content, was funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research and carried out by ttz Bremerhaven. The aim was to search for sources of well-tolerated and low-fat protein compounds.


Bremerhaven carried out the study together with Gewurzmuhle Nesse and a partner from Israel.


The results showed that lentils and white beans stood out due to their nutritional physiology and excellent functional features, according to the magazine "European Food Research and Technology."


Glucoamylase, an enzyme, was used to fully extract the protein available, which increased yields by 19 percent, according to Marie Bildstein, the Project Manager at ttz Bremerhaven.


The extract also passed through dissolution, filtration and spray drying before being used.


The scientists conclude that the extract fulfils industry requirements in terms of further processing.


The protein extract is a light-coloured powder which is odourless and tasteless and raises the functional content of foodstuff without drastically increasing the fat content.


Protein extract from lentils or white beans also scores better than reference products from soy or peas in the area of foam formation and foam stability which are important for achieving a firm structure in foodstuffs, the scientists said. It is also better in gel-forming characteristics and heat resistance.


In a comparison of emulsion stability, the extract achieves the same result as alternatives from soy or peas.


An important indicator for the quality of a product in terms of its nutritional physiology is the PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score).


This value indicates to what degree a protein corresponds to the optimum protein in terms of nutritional physiology (set at 100). The PDCAAS of lentil protein was 51 percent, that of white beans 65 percent. This is compared to soy at 91 percent and wheat protein 42 percent.


This meant extracts from lentils and beans were at a mid-range PDCAAS value.

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