Toxic Analysis of Leaf Protein Concentrate Regarding Common Agricultural Residues

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering; Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Background: Potential resilient foods which help reduce hunger are converting the ~998 million tons of agricultural residue generated each year into human edible food. Although it is possible to extract Leaf Protein Concentrate (LPC) from agricultural residues, it is not widely practiced because both toxicity and yields of the protein concentrates have not been widely investigated in the most common agricultural residues. Methods: To fill this knowledge gap, this study uses high-resolution mass spectrometry and an open-source toolchain for non-targeted screening of toxins of nine agricultural plant residues in October 2021; it included seven agricultural residues: corn/maize, wheat, barley, alfalfa, yellow pea, sunflower, canola/rapeseed, and two weeds/agricultural residues of kochia, and round leaf mallow. Results: The average yield ranged from about 7 to 14.5% for the nine LPCs investigated. According to the results, yellow pea, round leaf mallow, and canola are recommended for further investigation and scaling as they appear to be fit for human consumption based on the lack of dangerous toxins found in the analysis performed in this study. Conclusion: All the compounds identified in these samples have either been approved by international regulatory boards for safe consumption or are known to be present in common beverages. The other agricultural residues require additional quantification of the toxins identified as it will determine the actual risk for human consumption. Overall, the potential for LPC to provide more needed calories from existing agricultural practices is extremely promising, but substantial amount of future work is needed to screen LPCs in all the agricultural residues depending on harvesting, handling, and storage conditions.

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Journal of Food Quality and Hazards Control