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Enhancing Pulse Protein Quality through Processing and Genetic Tools
© 2020 Cereals & Grains Association
Pulses are nutrient-dense food crops that are high in protein. To quantify protein quality, different methods have been developed, including the protein efficiency ratio, which is used in Canada, and the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score, which is used in the United States. When considering pulse proteins, there are inherent limitations that reduce their overall quality. The amino acid composition of pulse crops is not sufficient to meet human nutritional requirements, because they lack sufficient methionine/cysteine and/or tryptophan, and the presence of antinutritive factors reduces protein digestibility and bioavailability. Traditionally, these confounding issues have been overcome through processing, which can increase protein content, alter amino acid composition, and reduce the presence and activity of antinutritive factors. More recently, genetic techniques have been employed as potential solutions for issues of amino acid composition and antinutritive factors. In this overview different protein quality measurements, limitations of pulse proteins, effects of processing on protein quality, and genetic techniques for increasing pulse protein quality are discussed.
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