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Pulses represent a rich source of nutrition and have several potential health benefits such as the reduction of the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes. Beans from the species Phaseolus vulgaris and Cicer arietinum are important crops raised in some regions of the United States, including Western Nebraska. Nevertheless, the traditional preparation procedures involved in the cooking of these beans are tedious and time-consuming, thus leading to the underutilization of these resources. Therefore, the present work focused on evaluating alternative utilizations of these beans in order to improve their economic value.
One alternative to improve the consumption of pulses is the utilization of bean flours. The study of physicochemical properties of these flours and the effect of their major components on their functional characteristics of flours is essential for the development of food products made with bean flours. Chapter two dealt with the physicochemical characterization of starches from great northern, navy, red kidney (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), and garbanzo beans (Cicer arietinum L.) and studied the effect the starch fraction on the rheological behavior of flours during thermal treatment. Our results showed that the pasting properties of flours were significantly affected by the amylose content and granule size of starches. It was also found that garbanzo and navy bean develop stronger networks than great northern or red kidney bean flours and that these two flours may serve as alternative ingredients for gluten-free products such as pasta.
Since dry beans are rich in protein, the utilization of bean protein concentrates as food ingredients such as emulsifiers might be promising. To compete with commercial protein ingredients, the functional properties of bean concentrates should be further improved. In chapter three, the effects of controlled enzymatic hydrolysis on the functionality of great northern and navy bean protein concentrates were studied. Our results suggested that controlled hydrolysis of these proteins with alcalase or papain significantly improved their functional properties and that protein hydrolysates from Phaseolus vulgaris beans might have potential use in the food industry as emulsifiers.
Advisor: Yue Zhang