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Source: Salunkhe DK, Kadam SS and Chavan JK (1985) Postharvest Biotechnology of Food Legumes. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Source: Salunkhe DK, Kadam SS and Chavan JK (1985) Postharvest Biotechnology of Food Legumes. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

sulfur-containing amino acids and tryptophan but are rich in lysine. Cereals, on the other hand, are relatively deficient in lysine; thus, the combination of legumes with cereals often can improve the overall protein quality of the mixed foods. The nutritive value (or biological value) of legume proteins has been investigated quite extensively and has been shown to be rather low in some legumes, with the amount of utilizable protein ranging from 32 to 78%. In other words, not all of the protein available in a given legume (see Table 2) is converted into new protein when consumed by humans. The reasons for this are the general deficiency of essential amino acids (sulfur-containing and tryptophan) and the presence of many inhibitors of protease activity that are found in legume seeds. These enzyme inhibitors are primarily proteinaceous in character, and many have an effect on the digestive enzymes trypsin or chymotrypsin. The inhibition of these enzymes leads to a reduction in protein digestibility and thus the gut's ability to absorb amino acids. Fortunately, because many of these inhibitors are proteinaceous, cooking, heating, fermenting, and, in some cases, germination can inactivate and significantly lower their inhibitory effect. However, not all of the inhibitors found in legume seeds are proteins (e.g., other inhibitors include tannins and polyphenols).

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