Nutritional and Phytochemical Content of High-Protein Crops

Salvatore Multari, Madalina Neacsu, Lorraine Scobbie, Louise Cantlay, Gary Duncan, Nicholas Vaughan, Derek Stewart, Wendy R. Russell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Sustainable sources of high-protein plants could help meet future protein requirements. Buckwheat, green pea, fava bean, hemp, and lupin were analyzed by proximate analysis and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to determine their macro- and micronutrient contents, and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was used to elucidate the phytochemical profiles. The protein contents ranged from 20 to 43% (w/w), and all samples were found to be rich in insoluble fiber: 9-25% (w/w). The selected crops had a favorable micronutrient profile, with phosphorus levels ranging from 2.22 ± 0.05 to 9.72 ± 0.41 g kg-1, while iron levels ranged from 20.23 ± 0.86 to 69.57 ± 7.43 mg kg-1. The crops contained substantial amounts of phytophenolic compounds. In particular, buckwheat was a rich source of pelargonidin (748.17 ± 75.55 mg kg-1), epicatechin (184.1 ± 33.2 mg kg-1), quercetin (35.66 ± 2.22 mg kg-1), caffeic acid (41.74 ± 22.54 mg kg-1), and 3-hydroxyphenylacetic acid (63.64 ± 36.16 mg kg-1); hemp contained p-coumaric acid (84.02 ± 8.10 mg kg-1), cyanidin (58.43 ± 21.01 mg kg-1), protocatechualdehyde (34.77 ± 5.15 mg kg-1), and gentisic acid (31.20 ± 1.67 mg kg-1); and fava bean was the richest source of ferulic acid (229.51 ± 36.58 mg kg-1) and its 5-5′ (39.99 ± 1.10 mg kg-1) and 8-5 dimers (58.17 ± 6.68 mg kg-1). Demonstrating that these crops are rich sources of protein, fiber, and phytochemicals could encourage higher consumption and utilization of them as healthy and sustainable ingredients in the food and drink industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7800-7811
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number41
Early online date11 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2016


  • food security
  • future protein supply
  • high-protein plants
  • legumes
  • sustainable and healthy food ingredients

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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