Alternative Food/Feed Perspectives of an Underutilized Legume Mucuna pruriens var. Utilis—A Review
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Mucuna pruriens var. utilis, an underutilized tropical legume has a nutritional quality comparable to soya beans and other conventional legumes as it contains similar proportions of protein, lipid, minerals, and other nutrients. The beans have been traditionally used as a food in a number of countries, viz., India, Philippines, Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, and Malawi. Recently, the velvet beans are exploited as a protein source in the diets of fish, poultry, pig, and cattle after subjected to appropriate processing methods. Although the velvet beans contain high levels of protein and carbohydrate, their utilization is limited due to the presence of a number of antinutritional/antiphysiological compounds, phenolics, tannins, L-Dopa, lectins, protease inhibitors, etc., which may reduce the nutrient utilization. Unfortunately, even though many researchers all over the world working on Mucuna, only scanty and conflicting information are available regarding its utilization as a food/feed and no scientific gathering to date has focused on the food/feed applications of Mucuna. Hence, the present review has been emphasized on the nutritional potential of this underutilized, nonconventional legume and current state of its utilization as food/feed for both human beings and livestock throughout the world.