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Analysis and correlations of the protein content and selected ‘antinutrients’ of faba beans (Vicia faba) in a German sample set of the cultivation years 2016, 2017, and 2018

Walter, Sinja; Zehring, Jenny; Mink, Kathrin; Ramminger, Sara; Quendt, Ulrich; Zocher, Kathleen; Rohn, Sascha

BACKGROUND: Faba beans (Vicia faba) experienced a significant revival in cultivation in Western Europe in the last decade. In this study, potential correlations between protein content (PC), trypsin inhibitory activity (TIA), and tannin content were investigated in a large German sample set with bean samples obtained from 50 different farms present in 11 German federal states. Three consecutive cultivation years (2016, 2017, and 2018) were included. RESULTS: The faba bean samples were grown under real cultivation conditions without any specific experimental design and finally marketed by the farmers. This enabled researchers to identify the relationship and extent of the three quality parameters towards the varying cultivation conditions and practices. Moreover, the correlations observed between the parameters were brought into the context of well‐known theoretical plant hypotheses such as the carbon–nutrient balance hypothesis (CNBH), the growth–differentiation balance hypothesis (GDBH), as well as the protein competition model (PCM) for evaluating the potential for use in predictions. The study showed a significant negative correlation between PC and tannin content in faba beans over each cultivation year, whereas a positive correlation between TIA and tannin content was found. No clear correlation was observed between PC and TIA. CONCLUSION: The three plant hypotheses (CNBH, GDBH, and PCM) seem to be not fully valid. Nonetheless, these findings might be a useful guideline for predicting the composition of selected compounds, and sustainable recommendations about cultivation and exploitation for the feed and food sector can be derived. © 2022 The Authors. Journal of The Science of Food and Agriculture published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry.
Published in: Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 10.1002/jsfa.12184, Wiley