Cereal-legume protein complementation has long been recommended as a suitable
strategy for augmenting the protein quality of cereal and legume based foods.
However, the use of the insoluble legume residue, following protein extraction for
cereal-legume protein complementation has not been widely studied. In fact, legume
residue is considered a waste by-product. The protein quality of cowpea residuewheat
and navy bean residue-wheat diets was determined using in-vivo
protein digestibility assays with an AIN-93G diet as control. The diets were fed to
laboratory rats over 4 weeks. The
digestibility of the diets was assessed using
the pH drop and pH stat enzymatic methods. The proximate composition, limiting
amino acid profile and phytohemagglutinin activity were also determined.
All six diets had lower levels of the sulphur amino acid requirements for rats as
expected but had higher than the FAO/WHO recommended levels for pre-school
children. The cowpea residue diets had higher levels of limiting amino acids than the
navy bean residue diets. Phytohemagglutinin activity was only detectable in the raw
cowpea and navy bean samples. All cowpea residue diets, the 30% and 70% navy
bean residue diets and the control diet supported growth while the 100% navy bean
residue diet resulted in weight loss. The in-vitro
digestibility ranged from 77.82% -
84.54% and 66.51% - 79.59% for the cowpea residue and the navy bean residue diets,
respectively. These ranges were lower than the control (98.1%) but correlated highly
to those obtained using the in-vivo
true protein digestibility method; 73.7% - 87.5%
and 62.6% - 78.2%, respectively.
These findings suggest that the cowpea residue diets had higher protein quality overall
than the navy bean residue diets. In addition, it suggests that the 30:70 ratio of cowpea
residue to wheat diet had the highest protein quality of all the 6 experimental diets.
Legume residues after protein extraction could be recommended for human food if
complemented with a cereal, particularly as it meets the amino acid pattern for preschool
children. Finally, in-vitro
assays can also be reliably used to assess the protein
quality of foods.