Chapter 8 - Faba Bean as a Sustainable Plant Protein Source


Delphine Martineau-Côté, Lamia L’Hocine, Fabio Tuccillo, Janitha P.D. Wanasundara, Frederick L. Stoddard,
Chapter 8 - Faba Bean as a Sustainable Plant Protein Source,
Editor(s): Sudarshan Nadathur, Janitha P.D. Wanasundara, Laurie Scanlin,
Sustainable Protein Sources (Second Edition),
Academic Press, 2024, Pages 163-184,

Plain language summary

Faba bean is legume crop that has historical value and a good source of plant protein for the present day food basket. This chapter in the book Sustainable protein sources: Advances for a Healthier Tomorrow" provide scientific information available on sustainable production of faba bean, and processing into protein-rich ingredients and protein-rich foods.


Faba bean (Vicia faba) has been cultivated for over 10,000 years and is now grown on all inhabited continents. It is a cool-climate crop, thus most suitable for regions where soybean is least suitable, and efficient in biological nitrogen fixation, so it contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with N fertilizer use. Its global average protein content of 29% and grain yield of 2.0 t/ha are the highest of the starchy grain legumes (pulses). Its storage proteins are mostly globulins, low in sulfur-containing amino acids, and high in lysine. In addition to the antinutritional factors common to other pulses, faba bean contains pyrimidine glycosides vicine and convicine (VC) that have traditionally limited its use, but cultivars with low VC content have been developed. Many technologies have been developed for using whole flour, the starch-enriched fraction and protein concentrate produced by dry fractionation and air classification, and the protein isolate produced by wet fractionation. Dairy analogs, meat analogs, and other foods have been prepared. Flavor, odor, and texture remain challenging in some processes and the underlying causes are being investigated. Some of these challenges will be amenable to improvement by plant breeding and others by improved processing techniques. Commercial products are on the market in many countries and more appear frequently, showing the potential of faba products to contribute to the plant-based protein-food market.