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Effect of processing on nutritional and rheological properties of pulse crops: benefits of ‘by-products’

W. J. Dahl, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

The efficacy of dextrins and short-chain fructans as physiologically effective fibers is currently being challenged, whereas growing evidence supports the effectiveness dietary fiber ingredients such as pulse fibers. With the increasing recognition that microbiota and its activity may have far reaching effects on human health, the potential benefits of consuming complex dietary fibers from pulses are being investigated. Research exploring the impact of whole pulse intake and pulse fractions on the microbiome is emerging. Chickpea intake has been shown to suppress potentially harmful bacterial groups in adults, while increasing the species, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, a prolific butyrate producer associated with health. Pulse hull fiber may also modulate the microbiota and potentially, the products of fermentation and their systematic effects through laxation and provision of carbohydrate substrate. In young adults, pea hull fiber may enhance protective species, such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii and various other butyrate producers, an effect similar to when whole pulses are consumed. In individuals with chronic kidney disease, consuming foods with added fiber, including pea hull fiber, reduced gut-generated inflammatory compounds, suggesting a suppression of deleterious protein fermentation in the colon. Pulse-sourced resistant starches would also be expected to exert modulating effects on the microbiota, particularly if extensively fermented, but research in this area is needed. Pulse fibers and resistant starches may enhance saccharolytic fermentation and its beneficial short-chain fatty acid production, while suppressing proteolytic fermentation and its inflammatory products. However, further research is needed to determine the extent of pulse fiber and resistant starch fermentation and its effects on the gut microbiome and health outcomes in various target populations.