Amino Acid Digestibility of Extruded Chickpea and Yellow Pea Protein is High and Comparable in Moderately Stunted South Indian Children with Use of a Dual Stable Isotope Tracer Method

Authors : Devi S, Varkey A, Dharmar M, Holt RR, Allen LH, Sheshshayee MS, Preston T, Keen CL, Kurpad AV

Publication Year : 2020

Abstract :

Legumes are an excellent plant source of the limiting indispensable amino acid (IAA) lysine in vegetarian, cereal-based diets. However, their digestibility is poor largely because of their antiprotease content. Extrusion can enhance digestibility by inactivating trypsin inhibitors and thus potentially improve the protein quality of legumes.

We measured the digestibility of extruded chickpea and yellow pea protein with use of a dual stable isotope method in moderately stunted South Indian primary school children.

Twenty-eight moderately stunted children (height-for-age z scores <  -2.0 SD and >  -3.0 SD) aged 6-11 y from low to middle socioeconomic status were randomly assigned to receive a test protein (extruded intrinsically [2H]-labeled chickpea or yellow pea) along with a standard of U-[13C]-spirulina protein to measure amino acid (AA) digestibility with use of a dual stable isotope method. Individual AA digestibility in the test protein was calculated by the ratios of AA enrichments in the test protein to the standard protein in the food and their appearance in blood plasma collected at 6 and 6.5 h during the experiment, representing a plateau state.

The mean AA digestibility of extruded chickpea and yellow pea protein in moderately stunted children (HAZ; -2.86 to -1.2) was high and similar in both extruded test proteins (89.0% and 88.0%, respectively, P = 0.83). However, lysine and proline digestibilities were higher in extruded chickpea than yellow pea (79.2% compared with 76.5% and 75.0% compared with 72.0%, respectively, P <  0.02).

Extruded chickpea and yellow pea protein had good IAA digestibility in moderately stunted children, which was 20% higher than an earlier report of their digestibility when pressure-cooked, measured by the same method in adults. Higher digestibility of lysine and proline highlights better retention of these AA in chickpea during extrusion-based processing. Extrusion might be useful for developing high-quality protein foods from legumes.