Impact on Faba Bean Genotype on Ingredient Performance - PulseResearch
April 25, 2017
Essential information for value-added processing of faba bean's protein fractions
The results were not quite what they expected, but researchers involved in a project to determine the effect of genotype and environment on the quality and utilization of faba bean flour and protein concentrates say what they did discover will have a big impact on the pulse industry.
“We wanted to see if there is any genotype (variety) or environmental effect associated with faba bean that impacts how it behaves functionally as a food ingredient,” says Dr. Mike Nickerson, Assistant Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, and the lead researcher of the project, which received funding from Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.
Canadian-grown faba beans are traditionally exported as whole seeds for human consumption, primarily to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, with some entering various feed markets. A portion of these seeds are typically processed into valueadded products while abroad. Value-added processing of whole seeds into flours, protein concentrates, or isolates intended for the food industry here at home could create new market demand for growers’ crops and contribute to economic growth for Saskatchewan.
However, a greater understanding of the role that genotype and environment have on the quality of the protein ingredients is needed in order to better select the raw materials entering the processing stream.
This is where Nickerson and his research team come in. Their study evaluated the physicochemical and functional properties of faba bean flours, and protein concentrates and isolates from a range of genotypes and environments. They wanted to identify the raw materials – the genotypes – that may perform better as a food ingredient.
“Little information is available on the performance of protein products prepared from zero tannin and/or low vicine/ convicine faba bean varieties,” Nickerson says. “Findings from the study could lead to the development of new protein ingredient products that could compete with soy in the marketplace.”
The objectives of the research included developing processing technologies for producing faba bean protein concentrates and isolates, and to test the performance of selected ingredients in various model food systems.
“We found the process that goes into the production of flours, concentrates, and isolates did not show huge genotype effects,” Nickerson says. “We do see some environmental effects but with genotype effects, nothing stands out that could make an important ingredient.”
So what do these results mean for processing faba beans? “It means we do not need to worry about the varieties that are entering the processing stream, since the end results are the same,” Nickerson says.
The researchers are now looking at what impact different varieties have on the nutritional properties of prepared products, such as protein digestion.
And when compared to other commercial products, faba bean fractions perform well. This, Nickerson says, opens the door for using various fractions, which could drive up demand for faba beans for the production of flour, protein concentrates, and isolates.
“There is a big difference in the protein,” Nickerson says. “There is 32 per cent, on a dry weight basis protein in flour, 60 per cent on a dry weight basis in concentrate, and 90 per cent plus on a dry weight basis in the isolate.”
This knowledge will drive future research as researchers focus more on the flours, concentrates, and isolates, and improving their functionality and digestibility.
SPG Investment: $33,605
Project Length: 2.5 years
Agriculture Development Fund - $113,500
Western Grains Research Foundation - $33,000
Project Lead: Dr. Mike Nickerson - Assistant Professor, Ministry of Agriculture Strategic Research Chair, University of Saskatchewan