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Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1997;50(2):93-9.

Jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis): nutrition related aspects and needed nutrition research.

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Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana.


The nutritional characteristics and food potentials of jack bean (Canavalia ensiformis) have been reviewed. The bean is a good sources of protein, 23% to 34%, and carbohydrate 55%. It is also a good source of Ca, Zn, P, Mg, Cu and Ni. Jack bean protein is adequate in most essential amino acids with the exception of methionine and cystine which may be nutritionally limiting. Antinutritional and toxic factors including trypsin inhibitors, hemagglutinins, cyanogen glucosides, oligosaccharides and others are present in jack bean. Properly processed jack bean could be used to prepare some of the popular dishes made from cowpea, peanut, pigeon pea and soybean. Industrial products such as protein concentrates and isolates, starch, flakes, grits and flours can be produced from the bean. Further research is needed to identify varieties with high protein and nutritional quality. Development of new highly nutritious food products based on whole or processed jack bean should increase production and expand use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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