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Cereal, Grains and Legumes

A. Cereals are plants that yield edible grains; these include wheat, rice, corn and rye.
1. The grains provide the earth’s human population with most of its calories and
about half of its protein.
2. In world, rice is most important food (~560 million metric tons/yr); wheat is a
close second and closing (~530 million metric tons/yr).
Nearly all rice goes directly to humans; >90% grown in Asia where most
of it is consumed; rice flour is not a strong flour.
Most wheat goes directly to human, only a small portion goes to animals;
wheat production in U.S. is ~66 million metric tons/yr.
Most corn goes to animals; much of the world’s corn grown in the U.S.
(globally ~470 million metric tons/yr; in U.S. ~200 million metric
3. Protein derived from cereals is often nutritionally deficient (lack certain
essential amino acids).
Dates of domestication: Wheat 7000 BC; Rice 4500 BC; Maize 4500 BC.
B. Legumes are flowering plants having pods that contain beans or peas; legumes are
higher in protein content than cereals that are higher in starch.
Soybean is a legume, but is also considered an oilseed due to its high fat content.
C. General composition of cereal grains is 58-72% CHO, 8-13% protein, 10-14%
moisture, 2-5% fat, 2-11% fiber, 300-350 kcal/100 g grain.
Cereal proteins not as nutritionally complete as most animal proteins, notable
deficiencies in lysine, methionine/cysteine, threonine and tryptophan.
Anatomy of a wheat kernel: endosperm, fruit and seed coats (bran), embryo
D. Wheat - many different varieties that vary according to composition, yield, and
resistances to weather, insects and disease.
1. Classified as hard (high in protein; forms a more elastic dough for bread-
making) and soft (relatively low in protein; yields weaker flour better for cake-
2. For human consumption, wheat is usually first converted to flour.
a. Conventional milling: the format is basically a progressive series of
disintegrations followed by sievings.
Upon receipt, wheat is cleaned of foreign seeds and soil; water is
added to reach ~17% moisture; wheat kernels run through rollers
set progressively closer and closer together.
First rollers break open the bran and free the germ from the
endosperm; rolling continues to pulverize the brittle endosperm
and flatten the germ; flakes of bran and germ removed through
sieves; pulverized endosperm further ground into flour. (Rollers
usually grooved with one rotating faster than the other in order to
separate germ and bran from the endosperm.)
The functionality of a flour primarily based on its carbohydrate to
protein ratio.
b. Finer fractions of flour have lower amounts of contaminating germ and
bran; thus these fractions are whiter in color and better in bread-making
quality, but lower in vitamin and mineral content.
c. The protein-to-starch ratio is dependent upon the variety and kind of
wheat from which it was ground.
3. Turbomilling
a. Flour from conventional milling further processed to separate flour into
higher protein or higher starch fractions by using special high-speed turbo
b. Endosperm agglomerates (chunks of starch and gluten together) are
further broken apart and their densities differ enough to be separated by a
stream of turbulent air.
Finer protein particles rise/starch particles settle.
An air classifier separates fractions using centrifugal force on
suspended particles.
c. Turbomilling enables separation of flour into fractions that can be
blended in any desired ratio allowing the formulation of custom-blend
flours for bread-making, cookie-making, etc.
In the endosperm, each cell is tightly packed with starch granules.
4. Uses of wheat flour and granules - breads, sweet doughs, cakes, biscuits,
doughnuts, crackers, breakfast cereals, gravies, soups, confections and alimentary
pastes (noodles and pasta products).
Alimentary pastes - mostly milled wheat and water in 100:30 ratio; usually hard
durum wheat is used which is milled to coarse particles know as semolina, further
milling produces fine durham flour; eggs, salt and other minor ingredients may be
added; product is not leavened; often extruded and oven-dried to 12% moisture.
E. Rice
1. Consumed as the intact grain minus hull, bran and germ.
2. Therefore milling process designed not to disintegrate the endosperm core of
the seed.
3. Milling - To shellers or hullers that are abrasive disks or moving rubber belts;
jets of air separate hulls from kernels; inner layers of bran and germ dislodged by
rubbing action of a ribbed rotor; the higher the degree of milling or polishing, the
lower the remaining vitamin and mineral contents.
4. Constant search for more improved varieties; however, in Asia, wheat is
becoming more popular, thus lessening this need.
Figure 17.7. Flow diagram of the wet-milling process, page 393 of
F. Corn
1. In harvested wet form, consumed as a vegetable.
2. Popcorn variety is dried, moisture in center explodes kernel when heated (the
original puffed cereal).
3. Dry milling - corn conditioned to ~21% moisture and passed between rotating
cones that loosen the hulls and germ from the endosperm; then dried to ~15%
moisture to facilitate roller milling and sieving, hulls removed by jets of air;
brittle endosperm flattened and endosperm recovered as coarse grits or corn meals
or with further rolling, corn flour.
4. Wet milling (Fig. 17.7, pg. 393 in text) - kernels steeped in warm water
containing acid and sulfur dioxide (as a preservative); kernels passed through a
mill to become a pasty mass that is pumped to water-filled settling troughs where
lighter germ floats to top and slurry passed through screens that remove the hulls;
remaining slurry passed through centrifuges to separate heavier starch from
lighter protein; fractions dried, starch fraction to corn starch, protein fraction to
yield corn gluten (zein) commonly used in animal feeds; corn starch used to make
corn syrups.
5. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) - currently in U.S., the primary ingredient
a. Development of HFCS manufacture a direct result of the political
situation of Castro’s revolution in Cuba leading to the loss of the main
American source of table sugar (Cuban sugar cane).
b. The process starts with corn starch (polysaccharide made of glucose),
corn starch solution treated with the enzyme, ?-amylase, the amylase
removes individual glucose units from the starch (but glucose is not very
sweet), the glucose solution is then treated with the enzyme, glucose
isomerase (converting glucose to fructose), and fructose is sweeter than
sucrose and far more sweet than glucose.
1. A curiosity in the U.S. until 1900, is now the single largest cash crop bringing more
protein and more oil into the economy than any other single source.
2. A native of northern China (domesticated in ~1000 B.C.), soybeans were spread in part
by the vegetarian doctrine of Buddhism.
3. Soybeans were introduced to the U.S. upon the return of Commodore Matthew Perry’s
expedition to the Far East in 1854; today the U.S. produces ~75% of the world’s crop.
4. Initial commercial interest was focused on the bean’s high oil content (18% oil by
weight); the oil was used in soaps, paints and varnishes.
5. Due to its high degree of unsaturation, there were stability problems (subject to
oxidation and off-flavors), but with the discovery of hydrogenation, soy margarine
replaced butter for most people in WWII.
6. Soybean protein has the highest quality of proteins from legumes, but only in the Far
East are soybeans a significant human food; the bland flavor of soybeans has encouraged
the development of highly flavored fermented products such as soy sauce; tofu (bean
curd) is another form of processed soybeans.
7. A food-grade flour of ~50% protein is available, along with partially defatted flours.
8. These flours can be further concentrated in protein to make soy protein isolates.
Soy Sauce
I. By fermentation: Start with roasted soy meal and crushed roasted wheat, moisten and
‘ferment’ 3 days with the mold Aspergillus (this is not the aflatoxigenic varieties of
Aspergillus, A. flavus and A. parasiticus); after starch and protein molecules are broken
down by mold growth, the meal is brined and lactobacilli and yeast ferment the mixture
for 6 months to a year producing ethanol and acids and other by-products; the liquid is
then filtered and pasteurized, the solid cake going to cattle feed.
II. The quickie chemical method: Using roasted soy meal, a liquid mixture is hydrolyzed
with hydrochloric acid for 8-10 h, this mixture is neutralized with sodium carbonate (to
pH 4.7), filtered and bottled. This product has fewer flavor constituents and is generally
regarded as inferior to the fermented soy product.
Tofu/Bean Curd
I. The Method: Soak the whole soybeans overnight to allow removal of the outer hulls,
mash the beans and pressure cook, filter to obtain a solution (soy milk) to which calcium
sulfate and calcium chloride are added to precipitate proteins; the curds settle and are
drained, then pressed into cakes, washed and packaged = bean curd.
II. Similar to soft cheese, tofu is very bland, but picks up the flavors of foods it is
associated with; can be used to extend animal protein foods; thus adaptable for egg
dishes, casseroles, breads, and vegetable and meat dishes.
III. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) = ragged, porous granules of isolated soy protein
tha rehydrate quickly (a ‘more modern’ form of tofu for use by the food industry); used to
extend meat it is available commercially with or without flavor; best used with highly
flavored dishes such as curries, tomato sauce, taco fillings, hamburger stroganoff,
lasagna, chili, etc.; TVP is fat-free but will absorb fats/oils very readily.
IV. Meat analogs = imitation meat products derived from soy protein into numerous
forms resembling meats, such as sausage, bacon, ham slices, chicken and beef chunks;
often fortified with vitamins and minerals and methionine; useful for vegetarians, less fat
(or none at all - any fat present is less saturated), no cholesterol, but usually quite high in
sodium content and cost is more than the meat original.
V. Figure 17.13, pg. 405 class textbook: Emphasis on different fractions of soybean and
basics of their production - protein concentrate (70% protein), simple isolate (90-95%
protein), TVP (50-55% protein); use of aqueous extractions using acid, alkali and alcohol;
soy protein slurry extruded into acid bath for formation of fibers for compaction into
meat tissue-like sections.
1. Both a legume and an oilseed with ~25% protein and ~50% oil.
2. Peanut flours, protein concentrates and protein isolates produced, but limited in
application to human foods.
3. Protein of peanut not as high in lysine as that of soybean.
4. Principal uses are as whole nut, source of peanut oil (with peanut meal going to
livestock), and in U.S., as ground nuts in the form of peanut butter.
5. About 2/3 of world’s peanuts pressed for oil and supply ~1/5 of all edible oil
6. Over half of U.S. crop goes to peanut butter, that is made by
 shelling the nuts,
 roasting,
 removing the skins and hearts with heat followed by rubbing,
 grinding,
 adding salt and sugar for flavor,
 emulsifiers to keep the oil suspended, &
 packaging.
7. Peanuts naturally harbor very low amounts of aflatoxins.
SCP - Spirulina
I. Single-cell protein: The growth of microorganisms as a food source with primary
interest on protein production; types of yeasts have been used for this purpose, i.e.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
II. Spirulina is the genus name of a type of blue-green algae that has been used for
centuries as human food; now found in many health foods.
A. Grows abundantly in natural alkaline tropical lakes where malnutrition is often
endemic; first discovered by Western civilization in Mexico with invasion of
Cortez; Aztecs harvested Spirulina from lake surface and dried/ground it for use
as a flour in biscuits, soups, etc.; Spirulina also used in East Africa as food source.
B. Very alkaline pH ensures that carbon dioxide is retained in water, thus
decreases growth of other microorganisms including pathogens.
C. Spirulina floats, which makes it easy to harvest.
D. One of the richest sources of protein of nonanimal origin; cells of Spirulina
contain vitamins and growth factors important in human nutrition, such as ?-
linolenic acid and vitamin B12.
E. Nucleic acid concentration of Spirulina is the lowest for microbial cells used as
F. The cell envelope of Spirulina is more easily digestible than that of yeast or
other unicellular algae.
G. The yields per unit area are exceptional in controlled systems: 12.5 acres for
meat from cattle on grassland to supply for year protein requirement for one
person, 2.5 acres for wheat, and 10 square yards for Spirulina.
H. Growth requirements minimal: Photosynthetic and water.
I. Nutritional and toxicological tests show Spirulina safe, recorded history shows
everyday consumption has no harmful side effects.
[P.S. Psyllium is a plant source of fiber comprises of such compounds as
lignin and cellulose.]