Food Science and Technology (Campinas)
On-line version ISSN 1678-457X
FROTA, Karoline de Macêdo Gonçalves; SOARES, Rosana Aparecida Manólio and AREAS, José Alfredo Gomes. Chemical composition of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp), BRS-Milênio cultivar. Ciênc. Tecnol. Aliment. [online]. 2008, vol.28, n.2, pp. 470-476. ISSN 1678-457X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0101-20612008000200031.
Cowpea is one of the major food cultures of the northeastern region of Brazil. To improve its resistance against plagues and to increase its productivity, a new cultivar (BRS-Milênio) was obtained by genetic improvement. This study aimed at determining the proximate composition, amino acid and fatty acid profiles, mineral constituents and trypsin inhibitory activity of this cultivar. The seed presents (g.100 g-1): 24.5 protein, 51.4 carbohydrates, 16.6 insoluble fiber and 2.7 soluble fiber, 2.6 ash; major mineral constituents (mg.100 g-1) were: iron - 6.8, zinc - 4.1, manganese - 1.5, phosphorus - 510.0 and potassium - 1430.0. Lipid content was 2.2%, and its fatty acids profile: 29.4% saturated and 70.7% unsaturated. The caloric value was estimated as 323.4 kcal.100 g-1 of seeds. A low trypsin inhibitory activity was found (8.0 TIU.mg-1 of sample). The amino acid profile is in accordance with the reference amino acid standard, except for the sulfur amino acid deficiency, suggesting the need to encourage the combination of this bean with other food sources. Results suggest that cowpea presents high contents of energy, protein, dietary fiber, minerals and a low trypsin inhibitory activity. Although it contains low amounts of lipids, its composition presents a high unsaturated fatty acid profile.
Keywords : cowpea; proximate composition; amino acid content; fatty acids profile; trypsin inhibitors; minerals.