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Arch Latinoam Nutr. 1994 Mar;44(1):57-62.

[Chemical and nutritional characterization of amaranthus (Amaranthus cruentus)].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Universidad de Chile, Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos, (INTA), Santiago.


Two samples of Amaranthus cruentus harvested in 1987 (sample A) and 1990 (sample B) were studied. Whole and refined flours were obtained. The whole flours contained 14.6 and 12.6% protein and 6.6 and 7.3 ether extraction, respectively. Both samples contained significant levels of Ca, P, Mg and K. Amaranth oil contained 19% palmitic acid, 3.4% stearic acid, 3.4% stearic acid, 34% oleic acid and 33% linoleic acid. Docosaenoic acid (C22:1) was present at the level of 9%. The ratio of saturated to unsaturated fatty acids was approximately 1:3. The level of crude fiber was 3.7% in the whole flours and 2.4% in the refined ones. Biological protein quality of flours was measured in the rat by the net protein ratio (NPR) method. The NPR values of the four materials tested ranged from 3.04 to 3.20 (NS), as compared with 4.08 for casein. These values are equivalent to 75-78% of the standard protein. Blends of raw wheat flour and whole amaranth flour fed to rats produced a good complementary effect between proteins, as shown by PER test. Wheat flour gave a poor PER value of 0.54. However, this figure increased with every increment of amaranth flour reaching a value of 2.15 for the blend 25:75. The PER for the amaranth diet (0:100) was 1.94 (casein 2.77). As expected, the extrusion process applied to the wheat/amaranth and corn/amaranth mixtures improved the biological quality of the protein. The wheat flour diet (100:0) gave a PER value of 1.64. Mixture 90:10 produced a low non significant increase in the protein quality.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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