Nutritional and functional characteristics of Erophaca baetica seeds, a legume endemic to the Mediterranean region
Keywords:Amino acids, Erophaca baetica, Fatty acids, Polyphenols, Protein
Erophaca baetica is a legume endemic to the Mediterranean region. Although the fruits and seeds are large, the presence of the “locoism” which produces the alkaloid, swainsonine has prevented its use as animal feed or for human nutrition. Their protein content and chromatographic profile, amino acid composition, fatty acid composition, and polyphenol contents have been determined in order to explore the potential of the E. baetica seeds as a source of dietary protein with functional components. The protein content was found to be 36% (w/w), and an amino acid analysis revealed a deficiency in sulphur amino acids, tryptophane, and lysine. The low lysine content is probably due to the abundance of alkaloids metabolically derived from this amino acid. Oleic and linoleic acids are the major fatty acids in the seeds. The antioxidant activity of polyphenol extracts was higher than the activity of the polyphenols extracted from most edible legume seeds. Hence, E. baetica seeds represent a promising source of functional and nutritional components on the condition that the anti-nutritional alkaloids are previously removed.
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