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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Functional Foods Research » Research » Research Project #438209

Research Project: Improved Utilization of Whole Pulses, Pulse Fractions, and Pulse Byproducts for Health-Promoting Food Ingredients and Biobased Products

Location: Functional Foods Research

2023 Annual Report

Objective 1: Develop innovative processes for pulses, pulse fractions, and pulse byproducts to enable increased commercial use of pulse-based ingredients. Sub-objective 1.1: Enhance the nutritional and functional properties of pulse flours, fractions and byproducts by thermomechanical processing treatments alone or in combination with other physical treatments to obtain new pulse-based components and ingredients. Sub-objective 1.2: Enhance the nutritional and functional properties of pulse flours, fractions and byproducts by germination or fermentation in combination with thermomechanical processing treatments and/or chemical modification. Sub-objective 1.3: Enhance the nutritional and functional properties of pulse flours, fractions and byproducts by addition of fats and oils for composite formation, ligands for starch complex formation, or proteins and hydrocolloid gums for flavor, texture, or structure improvement. Objective 2: Resolve the unknown physical and nutritional properties for foods and functional properties for non-foods prepared with increased levels of modified or concentrated pulse ingredients to enable the development of new products. Sub-objective 2.1: Develop food applications from pulse components. Sub-objective 2.2: Develop non-food applications from pulse components.

The dietary benefits of pulses are well established and are increasingly recognized as valuable sources of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Although the production of pea, bean, and lentil flours and their protein products is increasing, there exist both (1) barriers to more widespread consumer acceptance and (2) a growing need to find uses for pulse processing byproducts such as a starch-rich milling fraction and hulls. Previous studies have shown effects of individual processing methods on pulse seeds, but very little is known about combinations of methods such as combining thermomechanical processing with biological and chemical treatments. The goal of this research is to develop innovative processing methods for pulses and pulse fractions involving combinations of either steam jet-cooking or extrusion with (1) germination and fermentation, and (2) with the strategic addition of exogenous proteins, hydrocolloids, lipids, and functional food ingredients. Research will focus on identifying synergistic treatment effects and utilizing component interactions to enhance the nutritional, structural and functional properties of pulse-based foods and food ingredient products. These new materials will be added to standard food formulations with the goal of maximizing the content of pulse-based ingredients or make totally pulse-based food products with marketable organoleptic properties. Non-food applications will also be investigated for selected pulse fractions based on their physical properties. The results of this research will enable expanded markets for pulse crops and therefore contribute to the sustainability of the pulse-based economy.

Progress Report
Pulse-derived protein concentrates and isolates are gaining popularity as a preferred protein source among consumers seeking a high protein diet based on their health benefits. Their increased commercial scale production by the agri-food sector has simultaneously generated a rising volume of nonprotein components such as pulse starch and fiber as co-products. As part of Sub-objectives 1.1 and 1.3, navy and pinto bean starch was separated from the protein and fiber fractions of the whole bean. The isolated pinto bean starch was processed by steam jet cooking and by the addition of modified vegetable oil components to make them easier to blend with other food ingredients. This research adds value to these starches through physical interactions that alter the starch properties, structure, and digestibility, enabling their increased utilization in food and nonfood applications. Pinto bean flour was compared to jet-cooked, drum-dried (JCDD) pinto bean flour when used as a meat extender in ground beef patties. This work addressed Sub-objectives 1.1 and 2.1. The JC-DD flour resulted in reduced cooking times, reduced shrinkage, and more tenderness than raw pinto bean flour. The addition of up to 18% raw or JCDD flour (and an equal amount of water) resulted in no significant change in the appearance of either raw or cooked meat patties. The use of jet-cooked pinto bean flour as a partial meat replacer in ground beef patties provides an alternative to consumers who wish to reduce meat in their diet but do not accept the meatless options currently available. In support of Sub-objective 1.1, navy, pinto and kidney bean flours were jet-cooked and then dried using three different scalable approaches: steam-heated drum drying, freeze-drying, and room temperature evaporation. Flavor components of the dried, milled products are being analyzed and the viscosity is being measured to determine which drying method provides material with the most desirable properties as food ingredients. Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is rich in bioactive components, but many of these components are trapped within cellular structures, making them inaccessible. Buckwheat flour was processed using subcritical water coupled with a flash pressure release as part of Sub-objective 1.1. This process is similar to steam explosion and could be adapted as a scalable thermomechanical processing alternative. The effects of the processing parameters (120, 140, and 160°C and hold times of 0, 15, and 30 minutes) on the flour's structure, physicochemical, and functional properties were studied relative to the raw flour. Treatment deepened the flour color with increasing processing temperatures and hold times. Soluble and insoluble dietary fiber amounts were not substantially influenced at 120 and 140°C, whereas treatments at 160°C decreased soluble dietary fiber while increasing insoluble dietary fiber. Protein content increased 70–109% in some treatments, suggesting greater protein accessibility. Water-holding capacity significantly increased for flour treated at 120°C, whereas only slight improvements occurred at 140 and 160°C. The results obtained with buckwheat flour will be used as a basis for comparing subcritical water flash release and jet-cooking treatments with pulse flours. A significant barrier to consumption of beans in the western world is flatulence (gas production and bloating) associated with eating beans. M. elsdenii, one of the good gut bacteria, has been shown to be related to gas production in humans. The role of M. elsdenii in gas production during digestion of kidney beans in comparison to sweet potatoes in humans was investigated in support of Sub-objective 2.1. M. elsdenii in the presence of other beneficial bacteria in the gut produced higher gas rates when digesting gas-producing components of sweet potatoes and kidney beans. But the gas production when digesting kidney beans was significantly less than sweet potatoes. This information is vital to food product development, nutritional supplement manufacturers, nutritionists, and the medical community to promote utilization of pulses and mitigate the stigma associated with their consumption. Proteins from peas, soybeans, and crickets were combined and processed by extrusion to form an alternative meat prototype in collaboration with scientists in the Plant Polymer Research Unit at NCAUR in Peoria, Illinois, and in support of Objective 2.1. The material was compared with a commercial plant-based meat product (Beyond Meat™) as well as with 80% and 90% lean ground beef. The physical properties such as hardness, springiness, and chewiness were similar to those of the commercial products, and further research is aimed at optimizing these and other factors.

1. Improved meat extender from jet-cooked pinto bean flour. The increasing cost of meat as well as increasing health and sustainability concerns has led to increased interest in using meat extenders and fat replacers. ARS researchers in Peoria, Illinois, jet-cooked and drum-dried (JCDD) pinto bean flour to compare with raw flour when used at 3 levels with an equal amount of water in ground beef patties. The processing of the flours solubilized the starch granules in the flour, and also reduced some of the volatile beany flavor compounds. Cooking times and shrinkage during cooking were lower with JCDD flour treatments, and texture analysis revealed more tenderizing effects than raw flour. The use of jet-cooked pinto bean flour as a partial meat replacer in ground beef patties provides an alternative to consumers who wish to reduce meat in their diet but do not accept the meatless options currently available.

2. Processed buckwheat for possible improved nutritional availability of bioactive compounds. Although buckwheat is rich in bioactive components, many of these components are trapped within cellular structures, making them nutritionally inaccessible. ARS researchers in Peoria, Illinois, used a process similar to steam explosion (SCWF) to disrupt the cellular structure. The effects of the SCWF parameters on the flour's structure, physicochemical, and functional properties were studied relative to raw flour. Changes in starch, protein, and phenolic content, as well as relative amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber occurred as SCWF parameters (temperature, time) changed, suggesting that optimal processing disrupts cellular structure and may lead to increased bioavailability of nutritional components. The resulting SCWF-modified buckwheat flours provide new food ingredients for potential use in ready-to-eat foods and spreads with potentially improved health benefits. Interest in buckwheat is expanding as its production spreads from Canda into northern US states, and its recognition as a gluten-free alternative grain increases.

Review Publications
Triolo, A., Chaban, V.V., Lo Celso, F., Leonelli, F., Vogel, M., Steinrucken, E., Del Giudice, A., Ottaviani, C., Kenar, J.A., Russina, O. 2022. Oleochemical carbonates: A comprehensive characterization of an emerging class of organic compounds. Journal of Molecular Liquids. 369. Article 120854.
Felker, F.C., Kenar, J.A., Singh, M., Moser, J.K., Byars, J.A. 2023. Comparison of raw and excess steam jet-cooked/drum-dried pinto bean flours and their effects on ground beef patties. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. Article 5915625.
Plumier, B.M., Kenar, J.A., Felker, F.C., Moser, J.K., Singh, M., Byars, J.A., Liu, S.X. 2023. Effect of subcritical water flash release processing on buckwheat flour properties. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 103(4):2088-2097.
Eller, F.J., Vaughn, S.F., Price, N.P., Kenar, J.A., Jackson, M.A., Berhow, M.A., Brownstein, K.J., Selling, G.W. 2023. Extraction, purification and characterization of an arabinogalactan from frost (riverbank) grape (Vitis riparia michx.) stems. BioResources. 18(3): 4610-4635.
Mutuyemungu, E., Singh, M., Liu, S.X., Rose, D. 2022. Intestinal gas production by the gut microbiota: A review. Journal of Functional Foods. 100. Article 105367.
Xu, J., Selling, G.W., Liu, S.X. 2023. Effect of jet-cooking on rheological properties of navy bean flour suspensions. Food Chemistry Advances. 2. Article 100316.