Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 309–324

The nutritive value of amaranth grain (Amaranthus caudatus)

1. Protein and minerals of raw and processed grain
  • Birthe Pedersen
  • L. S. Kalinowski
  • B. O. Eggum

DOI: 10.1007/BF01892352

Cite this article as:
Pedersen, B., Kalinowski, L.S. & Eggum, B.O. Plant Food Hum Nutr (1987) 36: 309. doi:10.1007/BF01892352


The nutritional value of three pale seeded and one dark seeded variety ofAmaranthus caudatus was studied by chemical analyses and in balance experiments with growing rats. Effects of processing: popping, toasting and flaking were also examined. The pale seeds contained about 14% protein, 10% fat, 2.5% ash, 64% starch and 8% of dietary fibre. The black seeds had a much higher content of fibre (16%). The concentration of essential amino acids were high. Lysine ranged from 5.2–6.0 g/16 g N in the grains, and the limiting amino acids were leucine followed by valine or threonine. The grains contained small amounts of tannin (0.3%) and heat-labile protease inhibitor activity, at levels typical of common cereal grains. Digestibility of protein in the pale seeds was high (87%) and quite unaffected by processing. Protein digestibility of the black seeds was lower, and the digestibility was further reduced by toasting. The biological value of the protein was similar in all products, and very high. The content of minerals varied among varieties and was also affected by processing. Phytate: zinc molar ratios were high in most products, and rats fed the amaranth samples with the lowest zinc contents were in negative zinc balance. In general, femur zinc concentrations were rather low. However, amaranth is an unconventional crop which deserves further attention.

Key words

amaranth grain processing utilization of protein zinc and other minerals 

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Birthe Pedersen
    • 1
    • 2
  • L. S. Kalinowski
    • 1
    • 3
  • B. O. Eggum
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal Physiology and BiochemistryNational Institute of Animal ScienceFrederiksberg CDenmark
  2. 2.Department of BiotechnologyCarlsberg Research LaboratoryValbyDenmark
  3. 3.Centro de Investigacion de Cultivos AndinosUniversidad Nacional del CuscoCuscoPeru

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