Posted: November 26, 2015
Pulse grains, including dried peas, are rich sources of fibre with low glycemic indices and bioactive components such as the flavonoids proanthocyanidins (PACs or condensed tannins). Their unique nutritional profile has led to many studies investigating different varieties of pulses in terms of their health benefits. Evidence is mounting that PACs have a beneficial effect in both animals and humans including improved insulin sensitivity, reduced glycemia, increased satiety, improved glucose tolerance, improved glucose control, improved glucose homeostasis, beneficial effects on pancreatic islet composition and insulin secretion. However, plant-derived PACs are polymeric structures with a wide degree of polymerization, and therefore, the absorption and bioavailability of plant-derived PACs is limited.
Researchers at the University of Alberta have developed novel methods for increasing the bioavailability of PACs and dietary fibre in pea seed coats and seed coat fractions conferring improved health and beneficial effects. Such pea seed coat and seed coat fractions can be used as, or in, a variety of products including ingredients, food products, and animal feed. The researchers have demonstrated, in animal feed studies, a striking reduction in alpha-cell and alpha/beta cell ratio in the pancreas and a 50% reduction in plasma glucagon concentration in glucose intolerant rats fed the novel seed coat fractions. They also discovered that rats fed the novel seed coat fractions had a favorable effect on body composition without altering energy intake.
- Increased bio-availability of PACs and dietary fibre.
- Versatile usage as food ingredients, food products, animal feed and supplements.
The invention represents a valuable opportunity in human and animal health. The products are versatile and can be used as flour for food ingredients, food products or animal feed; or they can be used as a fibre supplement.
Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta