Controlled Exogenous Enzyme Imbibition and Activation in Whole Chickpea Seed Enzyme Reactor (SER)

Eynav Kliger, Lutz Fischer, Sabine Lutz-Wahl, I. Sam Saguy

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1 Scopus citations


Chickpeas are of excellent quality (protein, vitamins, minerals, unsaturated fatty acids) and very low in phytoestrogen, making them a potentially promising source for vegetarian-based infant formula (VBIF). However, their high starch and fiber concentration could hinder their utilization for infants. To overcome this natural shortcoming, a solid-state "enzymation" (SSE) process was developed in which imbibition of exogenous enzyme facilitates hydrolysis within the intact chickpea seed. The process was termed seed enzyme reactor (SER). Liquid imbibition data of dry chickpeas during soaking were fitted with the Weibull distribution model. The derived Weibull shape parameter, β, value (0.77 ± 0.11) indicated that the imbibition mechanism followed Fickian diffusion. Imbibition occurred through the coat and external layers. The process was tested using green fluorescent protein (GFP) as an exogenous marker, and involved soaking, thermal treatment, peeling, microwave partial drying, rehydration in enzyme solution, and SSE at an adjusted pH, time, and temperature. Amylases, or a combination of amylases and cellulases, resulted in significant carbohydrate hydrolysis (23% and 47% of the available starch, respectively). In addition, chickpea initial raffinose and stachyose concentration was significantly reduced (91% and 92%, respectively). The process could serve as a proof of concept, requiring additional development and optimization to become a full industrial application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E377-E382
JournalJournal of Food Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Chickpea
  • Imbibition
  • Infant formula
  • Seed enzyme reactor (SER)
  • Solid-state fermentation
  • Weibull distribution


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