Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 175-179

First online:

Chemical composition and protein quality of buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench)

  • Bjørn O. EggumAffiliated withDepartment of Animal Physiology and Chemistry, National Institute of Animal Science
  • , Ivan KreftAffiliated withAgronomy Department, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana
  • , Branka JavornikAffiliated withAgronomy Department, Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana

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The chemical composition and protein quality of two varieties of buckwheat were measured and compared with the values of wheat. The protein quality was based on amino acid composition and true protein digestibility, biological value, net protein utilization, and utilizable protein obtained in N-balance experiments with rats. The protein content in buckwheat was approximately 12% and thus very much the same as in wheat. The fat content in buckwheat was close to 3% whereas the crude fiber concentration was very high (12.7 and 17.8%, respectively, for two varieties). The high fiber content caused a low concentration of soluble carbohydrates with the lowest value of 48.7%. Both buckwheat varieties had a high tannin content (1.76 and 1.54%, respectively). The protein quality was very high, with biological values above 90%. This can be explained by a high concentration of most essential amino acids, especially lysine, threonine, tryptophan, and the sulphur-containing amino acids. However, due to the high contents of crude fiber and tannin, the true protein digestibility was slightly below 80%.