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Development of Biotechnology to Produce Low-Flatulence Dehydrated Pinto Bean Products
April 15, 2003

Sam K. C. Chang
Department of Cereal
and Food Sciences
North Dakota State University

The proposed pinto bean powder/paste product is a popular food in the Mexican foods and also in East Asian countries. A successful production of instant (pre-cooked) dehydrated /powder paste products will lead to a significant expansion in the utilization of these crops. It can be used as an ingredient in the traditional Mexican/Asian products and also can be used to prepare beverage types of products for early childhood feeding. If the powder is used in conjunction with precooked cereal flour or non-fat dry milk, they can be used for infant foods. In addition, such dehydrated legume products may be used for other Western products such as the incorporation in specialty bakery goods. Legumes and cereal complement each other in essential amino acid patterns. Mixing or replacing a part of wheat flour with low-oligosaccharide bean powder will improve protein quality and lower the gas problems for infant uses. Therefore, the products produced will benefit human health.

The importance of and publics interest in this research on the production of low-flatulence bean products are evidenced by the following media reports. Over the last week of May and the first two weeks of June 2002, Fargo Forum and many regional and national newspapers, TV or radio media (CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox radio news network) reported our pinto bean research project. The famous media included Associate Press, CNN News (archived on-line in the web for two weeks), USA Today, Houston Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, etc. USA-Today alone has a national circulation of over than 10 million copies. This plus many live radio interviews with Dr. Chang indicated the interest of the public to hope for low-flatulence bean or legume products. Dr. David Wade in the Karolinska Institutet, which reviews and recommends candidates for Nobel Prizes in Sweden sent Dr. Chang a note that "I got wind today of the CNN Story, Researcher looks to take the bad out of bean eating. This is a very interesting topic, and I will be sure to mention it to some people I know who have links with the Nobel Prize Committees." In the Fargo Forum and CNN News, the financial support from Northarvest Bean Growers for this project was acknowledged. Dr. Chang appreciates your support for this project and hope that you would continue to support this project to its completion.

We have recruited a Ph.D. student, Tammy Song for the project. Tammy joined NDSU in July of 2002. She has completed a thorough literature review in this subject. We have obtained four bags of pinto beans from Agri-Sale (ADM) in Casselton. Tammy has analyzed the chemical composition, including moisture, ash, lipids, proteins and sugars. The pinto beans contain approximately 25% protein, 4% ash, 2% lipids and 69% total carbohydrate (starch + dietary fiber). The pinto beans contained 6.8% total free sugar. The preliminary study in our laboratory showed that pinto beans contained 0.5% raffinose and 2.5% stachyose. Therefore, the flatulence sugars are approximately 44% of the total free sugars. Other types of sugars are sucrose and simple sugars.

We have studied the factors, which affect the performance of a HPLC method for analyzing sugar composition. Attached Figure 1 shows the separation of sugars on the HPLC. The HPLC method uses a ELSD Detector. We have obtained six fugal species, namely, Aspergillus niger (NRRL 326 and NRRL 3), Aspergillus oryzae(NRRL1989), Aspergillus oryzae -Ahlburg (NRRL447) and Rhizopus oligosporus Saito (NRRL 2710) and Aspergillus awamori (NRRL 4869) for the fermentation and enzyme investigations. These food grade fungi are used for making fermented foods and are known to produce the enzymes for hydrolyzing the flatulence sugars. Currently, plans are being made to inoculate these organisms on a series of substrates to test their productivity in enzyme production.


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