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Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2004 Winter;59(1):15-21.

Comparison of the chemical composition and nutritional value of Amaranthus cruentus flour and its protein concentrate.

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Facultad de Química, Bioquímica y Farmacia. Universidad Nacional de San Luis, Chacabuco y Pedernera, (5700) San Luis, Argentina.


Plants constitute an alternative source of proteins in the human diet, with advantages over animal proteins because of their low content of saturated fats and absence of cholesterol. Within the framework of a wider research project on the role of Amaranthus cruentus (Ac) in lipid metabolism, in this work the chemical composition and biological value of the Ac flour and its protein concentrate were compared. Proximate chemical composition, amino acid and fatty acid profiles, some antinutrient factors, and biological values were determined for Ac seed flour and its protein concentrate obtained by extraction at pH 11 and precipitation at pH 4.5. The flour protein content was 16.6 g% while that of the concentrate was 52.56 g%. The content of the soluble dietary fiber with a hypolipemic function was notably higher in the protein concentrate (12.90 g%) than in the seed flour (4.29 g%). The protein concentrate also exhibited a higher content of insoluble dietary fiber. The Ac flour and the concentrate contain 75.44 and 56.95% unsaturated fatty acids, respectively. Squalene, which affects the biosynthesis of cholesterol, was detected both in the flour and the concentrate oils, with a higher content in the concentrate (9.53%) as compared to the flour (6.23%). Comparison of the amino acid composition with the FAO pattern protein indicated that the concentrate does not have limiting amino acids, while the flour has leucine, threonine, and valine. The content of lysine was high in both the flour and the concentrate, making these products particularly useful as a complement for cereal flour, which is deficient in this amino acid. The biological quality analysis demonstrated an improvement in the quality of the concentrate. The presence of saponins, phytic acid, and trypsin inhibitors in the concentrate, which favor the metabolism of lipids, suggests that consumption of the concentrate might reduce the risk of heart disease.

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