Buckwheat proteins: functionality, safety, bioactivity, and prospects as alternative plant-based proteins in the food industry

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2020 Nov 16;1-13. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2020.1847027. Online ahead of print.


The need for protein in human nutrition is rapidly increasing because of the increasing world population and consumer preference for high-protein foods. Plant proteins are gaining attention as sustainable means of meeting the global protein need due to their lower carbon footprint. Nonetheless, the food industry has neglected or underutilized many plant proteins, including buckwheat protein. Buckwheat is a pseudocereal and its groats contain beneficial components such as proteins, dietary fiber, vitamins, and bioactive polyphenols. The protein quality of buckwheat seeds varies between the tartary and common buckwheat types; both are gluten-free and contain considerable amount of indispensable amino acids. This review provides a detailed discussion on the profile, amino acid composition, digestibility, allergenicity, functional properties, and bioactivity of buckwheat proteins. Prospects of processing buckwheat for improving protein digestibility and deactivating allergenic epitopes were also discussed. Based on the literature, buckwheat protein has a tremendous potential for utilization in structuring food products and developing peptide-based functional foods for disease prevention. Future research should develop new processing technologies for further improvement of the quality and functional properties of buckwheat protein in order to facilitate its utilization as an alternative plant-based protein toward meeting the global protein supply.

Keywords: Alternative protein; bioactivity; buckwheat; digestibility; functional properties; protein.