A Multitechnique Study of the Structure of Pulse Starches at Different Levels of Granule Organization and Their Physicochemical Properties

Lay Summary 

The carbohydrates of pulse crops are mostly starch. These starches have not benefited from the kind of value added research required for competitiveness on the international scale. As a result, cereal, potato & cassava starches continue to dominate world markets in food and non-food industries. This research has as its goal the discovery of: 1) The composition, morphology and architecture of pulse starches such as black bean, pinto bean, navy bean, kidney bean, lima bean, field pea, wrinkled pea, cowpea, adzuki bean and faba bean, and 2) The manner in which granule architecture influence pulse starch properties such as granular swelling, gelatinization (manifested by irreversible changes in granule swelling, collapse of molecular order, crystallite melting and starch solubilization), retrogradation (a process which occurs when the molecules comprising gelatinized starch begins to reassociate in an ordered manner), rheological characteristics (changes in viscosity during heating and cooling), and susceptibility towards acid and enzyme hydrolysis.

This is the first comprehensive study that has been designed to investigate structure-property relationships in pulse starches isolated from prototypes belonging to different species. Furthermore, the novelty also extends to the determination of pulse starch structure at the granular, supramolecular and molecular levels using a wide array of analytical techniques. It is significant since it will widen the knowledge base with respect to the relationship between starch structure and physicochemical properties. This in turn will add value to pulse starch production in Canada that primarily relies on the sale of the raw material. The results of this study will benefit the Canadian pulse industry and breeding programs focused on starch biosynthesis and new pulse varieties with specific properties. In addition, it will provide the impetus into research on the nutritional fractions of pulse starches and their potential health benefits

NSERC Discovery Grants Program
St. John's
Newfoundland and Labrador
Industry Sectors 
Scientific Research and Development Services
Rural Secretariat Regions 
Avalon Peninsula
Start date 
1 Jan 2012
End date 
31 Dec 2016
Lead Researcher 
Environment, Energy and Natural Resources