Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #172435


item Harry O Kuru, Rogers
item Wu, Ying Victor
item Evangelista, Roque
item Vaughn, Steven
item Rayford, Warren
item Wilson, Richard

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/29/2005
Publication Date: 5/6/2005
Citation: Harry-O'Kuru, R.E., Wu, Y.V., Evangelista, R., Vaughn, S.F., Rayford, W., Wilson, R.F. 2005. Sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia) seed processing and potential utilization. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 53:4784-4787.

Interpretive Summary: Sicklepod is a noxious weed species in soybean and other crop fields in the Southeastern United States. Like domesticated soybean, sicklepod is a legume and selective herbicides may not be selective enough. Sicklepod seeds contain highly colored oil and many undesirable compounds in the context of soybean farming. When soybean harvest is not assiduously cleaned from sicklepod seed before crushing, a low quality soybean oil results; and is a serious loss to the farmer. But sicklepod seed also contains useful industrial gums and proteins and even the noxious chemicals in the seed have other uses. The purpose of this project was to develop a comprehensive technique for economically separating all the components of the seed so each could find a market. This would give the farmer an additional crop rather than an expensive eradication program.

Technical Abstract: Sicklepod (Senna obtusifolia) is a leguminous plant that infests soybean fields in the Southeastern United States. Its seeds contain a variety of toxic, highly colored compounds, mainly anthraquinones together with a small amount of fat. These compounds contaminate and lower the quality of soybean oil when inadequately cleaned soybean seed from this area is processed. The sorting of sicklepod seed from a soybean harvest is an additional economic burden on the farmer beyond the cost of proper disposal of the weed seed to avoid worsening field infestation. Fortunately, sicklepod seed also contains substantial amounts of carbohydrates and proteins. These edible components when freed from anthraquinones have a market in pet food as well as potential in human foods because of the high galactomannan ratio of the polysaccharides. This paper reports a laboratory-scale process for successfully extracting the carbohydrates and proteins from the dehulled seed with little anthraquinone contamination.