Factors affecting the protein quality of pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L.)


Pigeonpea occupies an important place in human nutrition as a source of dietary proteins in several countries. Some of the important factors that affect the protein quality of pigeonpea have been reviewed and summarised in this paper. Among important food legumes, pigeonpea contained the lowest amount of limiting sulphur amino acids, methionine and cystine implicating the importance of these amino acids in protein quality improvement program. Large variation existed in the levels of protease inhibitors of pigeonpea varieties. The concentration of these inhibitors were significantly higher in some of the wild relatives of pigeonpea. Protein digestibility of cooked pigeonpea meal remained low and this could be due to the presence of certain compounds other than trypsin inhibitors. Pigeonpea polyphenolic compounds adversely affected the activity of digestive enzymes and this would affect the protein quality of pigeonpea. The protein quality of pigeonpea was greatly influenced by storage and processing practices.

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Singh, U., Eggum, B.O. Factors affecting the protein quality of pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L.). Plant Food Hum Nutr 34, 273–283 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01126556

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Key words

  • pigeonpea
  • protein quality
  • amino acids
  • protease inhibitors
  • storage
  • processing effects