Biochemical characteristics of Marama bean (Tylosema esculentum)

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Marama bean (Tylosema esculentum) is a droughttolerant legume native to Southern Africa. The potential of its seeds have been compared to soybeans. The studies of the potential of this plant are limited and at the moment there are various ongoing researches on the marama bean plant. The main objectives of this study were to evaluate the quality of the marama bean and determine its health potential. The following studies were carried out: roasting optimization, sensory analysis, texture profiling, proximate and mineral composition, microorganism profile, anticancer and lectin studies. The roasting process of marama bean was optimized using a standard roaster. Roasted marama beans were compared to roasted macadamia nuts by a sensory consumer panel. The marama beans had a satisfactory consumer ranking. This was due to the presence of the bitterness attribute which was more significant in marama beans then macadamia nuts. Sensory attributes obtained with a sensory descriptive panel were compared to the attributes obtained with instrumental TPA; a good relationship was found between the two techniques for hardness and crunchiness. Standard AOAC methods were used to determine proximate and mineral composition of marama beans. The proximate analysis showed marama beans to have high crude protein, carbohydrate and fat contents. The beans were found to be rich in various minerals with high values occurring for potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Trace iron was also detected in the bean samples. No harmful microorganisms were detected in the roasted marama bean samples. The marama bean plant extracts were found to have promising health potential activities, as well as the ability to enhance glycan expression of the epithelial cells in the gut
A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Science
Legumes Namibia