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Tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolius var. latifolius): a potential food source for African and Middle Eastern cultures


Tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius var. latifolius), a native North American legume adapted to arid/semiarid lands was partially evaluated as a potential food source for people of African and Middle Eastern regions. To indicate the acceptability of these pulses, traditional Nigerian and Saudi Arabian foodstuffs were formulated with teparies substituted for beans commonly used in these regions. Organoleptic evaluation of these food products by students native to the area of recipe origin indicated the dishes to be moderately to highly acceptable. Chemical analyses of this species revealed tepary beans to be very similar in proximate composition, amino acid profile and content of various minerals to other grain legumes (cowpeas, chickpeas and fava beans) of the African/Middle Eastern region. Protein contents of tepary samples averaged 23.0%, whereas protein quality was found limiting in sulfur amino acids. Laboratory examination of raw tepary samples for antinutritional factors uncovered levels of flatulent oligo saccharides, trypsin inhibitors and phytic acid commonly associated with grain legumes. However, lectin assays revealed greater agglutination associated with tepary composites than in fava, chickpea and cowpea samples. All bean samples were simmered resulting in fully cooked materials which exhibited low levels of nutritional antagonists. Cooked beans were considered safe and nutritionally acceptable.

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Arizona Agricultural Experiment Station Paper No. 3814.

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Tinsley, A.M., Scheerens, J.C., Alegbejo, J.O. et al. Tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolius var. latifolius): a potential food source for African and Middle Eastern cultures. Plant Food Hum Nutr 35, 87–101 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01092124

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Key words

  • tepary bean
  • raw
  • cooked
  • acceptability
  • amino acid composition
  • antinutritional factors