Factors affecting sorghum protein digestibility

K. G. Duodu, J. R. N. Taylor, P. S. Belton, B. R. Hamaker

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551 Citations (Scopus)


In the semi-arid tropics worldwide, sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) is cultivated by farmers on a subsistence level and consumed as food by humans. A nutritional limitation to its use is the poor digestibility of sorghum protein when wet cooked. The factors affecting wet cooked sorghum protein digestibility may be categorised into two main groups: exogenous factors (grain organisational structure, polyphenols, phytic acid, starch and non-starch polysaccharides) and endogenous factors (disulphide and non-disulphide crosslinking, kafirin hydrophobicity and changes in protein secondary structure). All these factors have been shown to influence sorghum protein digestibility. More than one factor may be at play at any time depending on the nature or the state in which the sorghum grain is; that is whether whole grain, endosperm, protein body preparation, high-tannin or condensed-tannin-free. It is proposed that protein crosslinking may be the greatest factor that influences sorghum protein digestibility. This may be between ?- and ß-kafirin proteins at the protein body periphery, which may impede digestion of the centrally located major storage protein, a-kafirin, or between ?- or ß-kafirin and a-kafirin
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-131
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cereal Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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