Nutritional and Phytochemical Content of High-Protein Crops

Salvatore Multari, Madalina Neacsu, Lorraine Scobbie, Louise Cantlay, Gary Duncan, Nicholas Vaughan, Derek Stewart, Wendy R. Russell

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61 Citations (Scopus)
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Sustainable sources of high-protein plants could help meet future protein requirements. Buckwheat, green pea, fava bean, hemp and lupin were analyzed by proximate analysis and ICP-MS to determine the macro- and micronutrient content and LC-MS to elucidate the phytochemical profiles. The protein content ranged from 20-43 % (w/w) and all were found to be rich in insoluble fibre; 9-25 % (w/w). The selected crops had a favourable micronutrient profile with phosphorous levels ranging from 2.22 ± 0.05 g kg-1 to 9.72 ± 0.41 g kg-1, while iron levels ranged from 20.23 ± 0.86 mg kg-1 to 69.57 ± 7.43 mg kg-1. The crops contained substantial amounts of phytophenolic compounds. In particular, buckwheat was a rich source of pelargonidin (748.17 ± 75.55 mg kg-1), epicatechin (184.1 ± 33.2 mg kg-1), quercetin (35.66 ± 2.22 mg kg-1), caffeic acid (41.74 ± 22.54 mg kg-1) and 3-hydroxyphenylacetic acid (63.64 ± 36.16 mg kg-1), hemp contained p-coumaric acid (84.02 ± 8.10 mg kg-1), cyanidin (58.43 ± 21.01 mg kg-1), protocatechualdehyde (34.77 ± 5.15 mg kg-1) and gentisic acid (31.20±1.67 mg kg-1) and fava bean was the richest source of ferulic acid (229.51 ± 36.58 mg kg-1) and its 5-5´ (39.99 ± 1.10 mg kg-1) and 8-5 dimers (58.17 ± 6.68 mg kg-1). Demonstrating that these crops are rich sources of protein, fibre and phytochemicals could encourage higher consumption and utilisation as healthy and sustainable ingredients by the food and drink industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7800-7811
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number41
Early online date14 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

The authors acknowledge support from the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division (RESAS) via their strategic research and partnership programs.


  • sustainable and healthy food ingredients
  • future protein supply
  • high-protein plants
  • legumes
  • food security


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