Leaf protein concentrate
(LPC) is a concentrated
form of the proteins
found in the leaves
of plants. It has been examined as a human or animal food source, because it is potentially the cheapest, most abundant source of available protein. Although humans can derive some protein from the direct consumption leaves as leaf vegetables
, the human digestive system
would not be able to deal with the enormous bulk of leaves needed to meet dietary protein requirements with leaf vegetables alone.
LPC was first suggested as a human food in the 1960s, but it has not achieved much success, despite early promise. The increasing reliance on feedlot based animal rearing to satisfy human appetites for meat has increased demand for cheaper vegetable protein sources. This has recently led to renewed interest in LPC to reduce the use of human-edible vegetable protein sources in animal feed.
Leaf protein is a good source of amino acids, with methionine being a limiting factor. Leaf proteins can also be rich in polyphenols. The challenges that have to be overcome before LPC becomes a viable protein source for humans include the high fiber content and other antinutritional factors, such as phytate, cyanide and tannins.
Methods of production
Generally, LPC is produced by pulping leaves and pressing the juice out, heating the juice to coagulate the protein, and filtering the protein out and drying it.
- Laila Hussein, Mohamed M. El-Fouly, F.K. El-Baz, S.A. Ghanem (1999). "Nutritional quality and the presence of anti-nutritional factors in leaf protein concentrates (LPC)". International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 50 (5): 333–343.
- Ayodeji O. Fasuyi and Valentine A. Aletor (2005). "Varietal Composition and Functional Properties of Cassava (Manihot esculenta, Cranzt) Leaf Meal and Leaf Protein Concentrates". Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 4 (1): 43–49.
- J. C. Rambourg, B. Monties (1983). "Determination of polyphenolic compounds in leaf protein concentrates of lucerne and their effect on the nutritional value". Plant Foods for Human Nutrition (Formerly Qualitas Plantarum) (Historical Archive) 33 169–172.
- Ayodeji O. Fasuyi (2005). "Nutritional Evaluation of Cassava (Manihot esculenta, Crantz) Leaf Protein Concentrates (CLPC) as Alternative Protein Sources in Rat Assay". Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 4 (1): 50–56.