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Bioactive compounds extracted from edible legumes not suitable for marketing, a source of functional nutrients

Agrobusiness generates different types of waste every year, among which are food suitable for human consumption, but without commercial value since they do not meet the strict marketing parameters. In this sense, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that food losses reach 1,300 million tons, 44% corresponding to vegetables and fruits [1]. In addition, inadequate waste management becomes a problem of economic profitability and environmental sustainability. The nutritional characterization of plant matrices, as well as their bioactive properties, allows the design of alternative strategies for the recovery of bioactive waste molecules and their subsequent use, incorporating them back into the food chain and promoting the circular economy. Current literature affirms that legumes are rich in phenolic compounds that are recognized for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial capacity, among others, and their potential applications in food preservation and consumer health. In this study, the protein content (25.11% - 50.96%), total sugars (17.46% - 57.20%), and total phenolic compounds (9.62 mg - 32.74 mg GAE/g sample) and minerals were evaluated in five edible legumes but not suitable for marketing, since they do not meet quality standards. Samples came from different geographical areas, namely: Medicago spp (France), Phaseolus vulgaris (Spain and Argentina), Cicer arietinum (Spain), Lens culinaris (Spain), and Glycine max (United States, France, and China). The nutritional characterization and quantification of the bioactive compounds of these species reveal the convenience of their revaluation in the formulation of nutraceuticals, functional foods, cosmetics, or drugs, which allow counteracting the diseases caused by oxidative stress, also avoiding the generation of large food waste.


  1. FAO, G. (2011). Global food losses and food waste–Extent, causes and prevention. SAVE FOOD: An Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction.