Structural and functional characteristics of dietary fibre in beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas.

Brummer, Y., Kaviani, M., and Tosh, S.M. (2015). "Structural and functional characteristics of dietary fibre in beans, lentils, peas and chickpeas.", Food Research International, 67, pp. 117-125. doi : 10.1016/j.foodres.2014.11.009  Access to full text


To better understand the role that dietary fibre plays in the health benefits of pulses, the cell wall polysaccharides of pulses were characterized. To allow comparison between this data and nutritional studies, cooked chickpeas, lentils, beans and peas were used rather than raw seeds. Insoluble fibre, soluble fibre, resistant starch and oligosaccharide fractions were isolated using digestive enzymes at 37 °C. Prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides, including raffinose, stachyose and verbascose made up between 3.5 and 6.9% of the cooked pulses (dry weight basis). Pulse fibre is pectin rich, with most being found in the soluble fibre fraction. The soluble fibre fraction is a diverse mixture of polysaccharides of varying sizes and solutions of soluble fibre exhibit a range of viscosities depending on the pulse type. The sugars which make up the insoluble fibre fraction suggest a large cellulose component. Microscopic examination of cooked whole pulses showed that a large fraction of the starch was partially gelatinized and contained within intact cell walls whereas boiled flour pastes had few ungelatinized granules. After simulated upper-gut digestion, some starch remained inaccessible to digestive enzymes. Cell walls of pulses modulate starch gelatinization and reduce enzymatic hydrolysis, which may account for the low glycemic response attributed to pulses.

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