Legume potential: Jatropha is underutilized but shouldn’t be

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

The tropical plant jatropha curcas should be considered more by bakers as a protein source, say researchers
The tropical plant jatropha curcas should be considered more by bakers as a protein source, say researchers

Related tags Bread

Jatropha protein concentrate can be used to fortify bread without adverse textural impact and bakers should consider using the ingredient more, researchers say.

The study published in the Journal of Texture Studies​ investigated the textural impacts of both jatropha and lupin (lupinus) protein concentrates.

“Although flour or proteins from legumes as lupin had been employed in bread formulation, jatropha had not been studied as a source of protein in baked foods,” ​the Mexico-based researchers wrote.

Findings showed that lupin negatively impacted the texture and form of dough but that jatropha curcas – a plant native to Central and South America – could be incorporated without any impact to the texture.

“Jatropha protein concentrate has a better performance to fortify white bread with no textural detrimental effects, as compared with lupinus protein concentrate.”

“Although jatropha has not been extensively employed in baking, its functional properties in this kind of food system seem promising since the use of jatropha protein concentrate caused no major effect on bread quality,”​ they said.

Working in combination with lupin

The researchers also found that jatropha could be used in combination with lupin to counteract the negative textural effects. Lupin hardens bread and leads to lower weight and volume.

“Although lupinus protein concentrate, a more studied seed, seems to have a detrimental effect, its combination with jatropha protein concentrate enhanced dough and bread textural properties...Better texture and crumb quality were obtained with jatropha or jatropha-lupinus formulations,” ​the researchers said.

Source: Journal of Texture Studies
Published December 2013, Volume 44, Issue 6, pages 424-435. DOI: 10.1111/jtxs.12031
“Effect of Lupinus (Lupinus albus) and Jatropha (Jatropha curcas) Protein Concentrates on Wheat Dough Texture and Bread Quality: Optimization by a D-Optimal Mixture Design”
Authors: A. Totosaus, H. López and N. Güemes-Vera

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1 comment

It's not that available and it's dangerous.

Posted by S Perry,

I would like to point out that there are two problems with this article on jatropha.

First, if you read up on jatropha and the source of this protein you will find it comes from a byproduct of biodiesel production. As such it is considered to contain toxic substances and is not recommended for feed use in even animals. In fact, in 2012 the FDA put out a warning about jatropha and it's possible toxicity with regards to food and cosmetic uses.

http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForIndustry/IndustryNoticesandGuidanceDocuments/UCM310867.pdf

Second, it is not imported into the United States in any commercially viable amounts. I don't know about other countries, but even our foreign suppliers were confused by the request for the item.

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