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J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Sep 22;52(19):5882-7.

Lunasin concentration in different soybean genotypes, commercial soy protein, and isoflavone products.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 228 ERML, MC-051, 1201 West Gregory Drive, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.


Lunasin is a unique and novel cancer preventive peptide originally isolated from soy. Information on lunasin concentration of soybean cultivars and commercial soy proteins would be useful in developing lunasin-enriched cultivars and soy products. We report the development of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method to identify lunasin and quantify the variations in concentration in 144 selected, diverse soybean accessions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soybean Germplasm Collection, several commercially available soy protein fractions and isoflavone-enriched products. With synthetic lunasin and monoclonal antibody, ELISA shows a linear concentration range of 24-72 ng/mL, good reproducibility, a detection limit of 8 ng/mL, and a recovery of 90% on spiked soy samples. Lunasin concentrations in the tested materials range from 0.10 to 1.33 g/100 g flour. Differences that exceeded 100% have been observed among accessions of similar maturity that were grown in the same environment, indicating that genetic differences in soybeans exist for lunasin. The mean of 23 major ancestral lines of U.S. cultivars is similar to the mean of 16 modern cultivars selected to represent the current diversity of the crop, but the highest values were found within the ancestral and exotic accessions. Soy protein concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzate contain 2.81 +/- 0.30, 3.75 +/- 0.43, and 4.43 +/- 0.59 g lunasin/100 g flour, respectively, while soy flour and soy flakes contain 1.24 +/- 0.22 g lunasin/100 g flour. Isoflavone-enriched products contain very little or no lunasin. The relative mass (M(r)) of lunasin in the samples is 5.45 +/- 0.25 kDa. The wide range of lunasin concentrations within the Glycine max species indicates that the levels of this important bioactive peptide can be genetically manipulated. Furthermore, soy isolates and hydrolyzed soy proteins contain the highest concentrations of lunasin.

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