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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCED END USE QUALITY AND UTILIZATION OF SORGHUM GRAIN

Location: Grain Quality and Structure Research Unit

Title: Sorghum Proteins: The Concentration, Isolation, Modification and Food Applications of Kafirins

Authors
item DE Mesa-Stonestreet, Normell Jhoe -
item Alavi, Sajid -
item Bean, Scott

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: June 2, 2010
Publication Date: June 2, 2010
Citation: De Mesa-Stonestreet, N., Alavi, S. and Bean, S. 2010. Sorghum proteins: The concentration, isolation, modification and food applications of kafirins. Journal of Food Science. 75:R90-R104.

Interpretive Summary: Celiac disease is a serious condition affecting millions of individuals. Those afflicted with this illness are resigned to a lifelong avoidance of products containing the storage promalin proteins found in cereal grains wheat, rye and barley. Since many food products are based on these cereals, especially wheat, celiac patients have very limited food choices. Thus, a burgeoning need exists for developing nutritious, palatable and affordable foods, especially staples like bread and pasta, for these individuals and their families and friends who are accustomed to wheat based staples. Grain sorghum and its proteins are safe for celiac patients. However, the main sorghum proteins, kafirins, are resistant to digestion and also difficult to extract and modify with food-compatible chemicals, thus limiting its use in foods. This review describes studies on kafirin extraction or concentration and methods for modifying sorghum proteins for improved nutrition and functionality, as well as food applications.

Technical Abstract: Celiac disease is a serious condition affecting millions of individuals. Those afflicted with these illnesses are resigned to a lifelong avoidance of products containing gluten, the storage protein found in cereal grains wheat, rye and barley. Since many food products contain gluten, these individuals have very limited food choices; and, those that are available to them are generally poor in quality, often nutritionally deficient and expensive. Furthermore, this condition also affects their families and friends with whom they share meals. Thus, a burgeoning need exists for developing nutritius, palatable and affordable foods, especially staples like bread and pasta, for those individuals and their families and friends who are accustomed to wheat based staples. Grain sorghum and its proteins are safe for celiac patients and individuals with varying levels of gluten intolerances. However, the main sorghum proteins, kafirins, are resistant to digestion and also difficult to extract and modify with food-compatible chemicals, thus limiting its use in foods. This review describes studies on kafirin extraction and methods for modifying sorghum proteins for improved nutrition and functionality, as well as food applications, are also described. Armed with this knowledge, scientists and technologists are in a better position to identify opportunities that will further enhance the nutritional and functional value of sorghum proteins.

Last Modified: 9/21/2014