Faba beans as a promising protein source
The increasing demand for alternative plant-based protein sources and the protein plant strategy of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture have resulted in leguminous plants such as faba beans becoming a major focus of research. Their high protein content and easy cultivation in Germany make faba beans especially attractive as a source of a functional ingredient for foods.
The processing of the faba beans needs to be optimized to recover useful food ingredients
Faba beans have the typical bean-like and grassy flavors of leguminous plants and contain a variety of antinutritive ingredients. For example, the latter can include the glucosides vicin/convicin that cause favism, tannins, and complexing phytic acids and these make the use of faba bean ingredients in foods difficult.
We are researching how to use the protein of faba beans in foods
The QualiFabaBean process is being used at the Fraunhofer IVV to manufacture faba bean meal and concentrate having improved sensory properties and lower concentrations of antinutritive ingredients. Different bean varieties are being screened to identify the differences in the faba beans with respect to their agronomic data (yield, reliability), analytical composition, antinutritive ingredients, and technofunctional properties. Then, using a technical processing approach, the concentration of the antinutritive substances is being reduced. As well as the separation of these quality-lowering ingredients, analyses are being undertaken for the presence of endogenous enzymes and enzyme inhibitors. By varying relevant process parameters the endogenous enzyme activities will be deactivated via a hydrothermal process. The result will be faba bean fractions and concentrates having improved sensory properties and improved storage stability. The effect of different processing strategies (whole seed, shelled seed, meal, concentrate) on the effectiveness of enzyme deactivation will also be evaluated. Finally these processing steps will be tested on a small pilot plant scale and product trials will be undertaken in model food formulations. New potential uses of the protein meal and concentrate for the food industry will be demonstrated.