The objectives of this study were to investigate the nutrient composition, protein profile, morphology, and pasting properties of protein-rich pseudocereal ingredients (quinoa, amaranth, and buckwheat) and compare them to the more common rice and maize flours. Literature concerning protein-rich pseudocereal ingredients is very limited, mainly to protein profiling. The concentrations of macronutrients (i.e., ash, fat, and protein, as well as soluble, insoluble and total dietary fibre) were significantly higher for the protein-rich variants of pseudocereal-based flours than their regular protein content variants and the rice and maize flours. On profiling the protein component using sodium dodecyl sulfate⁻polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), all samples showed common bands at ~50 kDa and low molecular weight bands corresponding to the globulin fraction (~50 kDa) and albumin fraction (~10 kDa), respectively; except rice, in which the main protein was glutelin. The morphology of the starch granules was studied using scanning electron microscopy with quinoa and amaranth showing the smallest sized granules, while buckwheat, rice, and maize had the largest starch granules. The pasting properties of the ingredients were generally similar, except for buckwheat and amaranth, which showed the highest and lowest final viscosity, respectively. The results obtained in this study can be used to better understand the functionality and food applications of protein-rich pseudocereal ingredients.
Keywords: cereal; macronutrient; morphology; protein profile; protein-rich ingredients; pseudocereal; rheological properties.