The term albumin was initially applied to plant proteins which resembled hen egg albumin in being coagulable but was subsequently restricted to proteins which were soluble in water and coagulable by heat (Osborne, 1924). Osborne (1924) also recognised a problem in defining albumins which remains to this day: direct water extracts of tissues will contain low concentrations of salts which need to be removed by dialysis in order to obtain a true albumin fraction. Osborne concluded that albumins are generally present in small quantities in seeds and listed four types which had been characterized in most detail: leucosin from barley, wheat and rye, legumelin from a range of legumes (including pea, soybean and cowpea), phaselin from kidney bean and ricin from castor bean.
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