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Nutritional quality of the protein in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd) seeds


The nutritional quality of protein in quinoa seeds has been determined by amino acid assay and by animal feeding experiments. The amino acid composition of the protein in raw quinoa and washed quinoa show similar pattern. The first limiting amino acids were the aromatic amino acids thyrosine + phenylalanine giving a chemical score of 86 for protein in raw quinoa and 85 for protein in washed quinoa. Threonine was the next limiting amino acid followed by lysine. The amount of lysine and sulfur amino acids (methionine + cystine) was relatively high. In general, the content of essential amino acids in quinoa is higher than in common cereals. The animal experiments showed NPU values of 75.7, BV of 82.6 and TD value of 91.7 for the protein in raw quinoa. Results of the in-vitro enzymatic methods showed that the digestibility of the protein in quinoa is comparable to that of other high quality food proteins. The corresponding experiments carried out with samples of guinoa seeds, which have been processed to remove the saponins, showed that, the saponins do not exert any negative effect on the nutritive quality of the protein.

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Ruales, J., Nair, B.M. Nutritional quality of the protein in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd) seeds. Plant Food Hum Nutr 42, 1–11 (1992).

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Key words

  • Quinoa
  • protein
  • amino acids
  • BV
  • NPU
  • TD