American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Nutrient Composition of Dandelions and its Potential as Human Food

Abdel E. Ghaly, Nesreen Mahmoud and Deepika Dave

DOI : 10.3844/ajbbsp.2012.118.127

American Journal of Biochemistry and Biotechnology

Volume 8, Issue 2

Pages 118-127

Abstract

Two thirds of the world’s populations are suffering from protein malnutrition and about 36 million people die every year due to hunger. Expansion of present agriculture practices into marginal land is not expected to solve the problem of increasing the food supply. New methods of feeding the ever increasing world population must be developed. The aim of the study was to evaluate the usefulness of the dandelion leaves as a source of supplemental protein. Protein was extracted from the dandelion leaves by blending them after pH and moisture adjustment, squeezing the resultant pulp through filter press and coagulating the filtrate with acid and heat. The effects of pH, moisture content, pressure and temperature on the ex-tractability and quality of protein were investigated. A mass balance was performed on dry matter and protein contents during the extraction steps. Proximate analysis was performed on the extracted leaf protein and the amino acid profile of the protein curd was determined. The best results of the protein dissolution during the blending step were obtained at pH of 8.25 and moisture content of 96%. Firm protein curd with light green chalky color was obtained at 3.5 pH and 80°C. The protein content of dandelion leaves was 4.70% while the protein content of the curd was 15.93% on wet basis and 55.43% on a dry basis. The best leaf protein could be obtained from the young leaves in good conditions. The results showed that dandelion leaves offer a good source of supplementary protein compared to vegetable and fruits. The amino acid composition of dandelion protein seems to be better than most seed proteins and compares favorably with animal proteins. The protein cake at a pH of 4 had the keeping quality of cheese. Drying the protein cake did not impair the nutritional value but made it hard, dry and gritty. The non extractable protein remained in the fibre and liquor, both have economic values as feed for ruminants and growth medium for microorganisms, respectively.

Copyright

© 2012 Abdel E. Ghaly, Nesreen Mahmoud and Deepika Dave. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.