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The value of enhancing nutrient bioavailability of lentils: the Sri Lankan scenario


Ariyawardana, A and Collins, R and McNeil, D, The value of enhancing nutrient bioavailability of lentils: the Sri Lankan scenario, African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development, 14, (7) pp. 9529-9543. ISSN 1684-5374 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2014 - African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development

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Lentil (Lens culinaris Medic.) is a pulse crop that belongs to the family Leguminosae. Lentils are rich in proteins, have 18 of the 20 amino acids including all 8 essential amino acids and provide a number of essential minerals and vitamins. Thus, lentils occupy an important place in the human diet, especially in developing countries, as a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Although in many developing countries in Asia rice contributes significantly to human daily energy and nutritional requirements, its amino acid profile shows that rice lacks some essential amino acids. Therefore, given their rich composition of amino acids, lentils could act as an ideal supplement for rice-based diets. Although all red lentils are imported, they are the most widely consumed pulse among Sri Lankans. Red lentil consumption levels are significantly greater in the estate sector where the prevalence of under nutrition is high. Thus, this review was undertaken to understand the potential role of lentils in the Sri Lankan diet and how lentils can potentially be utilized to meet the nutritional needs of Sri Lankans. The study was based on an extensive literature review and information obtained through personal interviews with key participants in the red lentil industry of Sri Lanka. It was evident that red lentils are a rich source of nutrients, especially micro-nutrients, but their bioavailability is poor due to the presence of multiple anti-nutritive factors such as protease inhibitors, phenolic compounds and phytates. Although bioavailability of nutrients can be enhanced by changing food processing techniques, fortification and bio-fortification, lentil cooking patterns in Sri Lanka pose difficulties in adopting changed food processing techniques and fortification. Thus, bio-fortification would be the most viable option for enhancing nutrient availability in lentils. Since Sri Lanka does not produce lentils, such initiatives may have to be undertaken in exporting countries or in collaboration with international agricultural research centres. Any strategic investments in breeding new lentil varieties with high bioavailability would provide exporting countries a unique competitive edge in export markets. Such improvements would meet the nutritional needs, not only of Sri Lankans, but also of millions other Asian consumers who face similar nutritional challenges.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bioavailability, consumption, nutrition, lentils, Sri Lanka
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Food sciences
Research Field:Food nutritional balance
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Grains and seeds
Objective Field:Grain legumes
UTAS Author:McNeil, D (Professor David McNeil)
ID Code:98228
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture
Deposited On:2015-02-06
Last Modified:2017-11-06

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