Beware of the Lupin

Maybe you already know this little yellow bean: it’s the lupin! In Italy we use usually eat it as a snack, crunching it while walking down the street and although its characteristic and property are known since ancient Greece, only recently the lupines are coming back on the international scene and on our tables, mainly for two reasons:

  1. First, for its the nutritional and functional characteristic: the lupine presents a low caloric intake, a low fat and starch, and a significant content of protein (about 35% as dry matter) very similar to soy[2]. Furthermore, some study showed that for the considerable quantity of fibre, the lupines may help in the reduction of the “bad” cholesterol (LDL), while leaving the HDL cholesterol (the “good one”) unchanged[4].
  2. The second one is its diffusions in every part of the world. The origin of the lupine plant is the Mediterranean area, but today it is widely cultivated in temperate areas of the globe and significant is its presence in Australia (the first world producer) [7], which highlights the versatility and resistance of the lupine plant. Lupin shows a good tolerance to abiotic stress, which permits its cultivation in different agro-climatic condition, from areas that are frequently cold to area suffer from drought and salinization of the soil. It’s also worth pointing out that, like the other Leguminosae, the lupine can improve the soil with nitrogen and other minerals, like phosphor; for such reason, this crop could be ideally used in crops-turnover, especially in areas with high agriculture intensity [5,7]



This revival of the lupine, which can also be used as high-quality animal feed, is mainly due to the rise the demand for vegetable protein for human consumption. So much so, that the European Union had commissioned a project, named Lupicarp,  to specifically evaluate its nutritional, functional, and economic potential.


In this regard, there are already many studies in the literature about lupins, especially regarding their protein profile: if isolated lupins’ proteins present one of higher contents of total proteins, with a biological value of the 91% compared to eggs[3]. The application of lupine protein can be changed at the second of their extraction, we can improve for example the emulsion or the foaming power[2].

Another study demonstrated that the lupine flour, in combination with other vegetable proteins, can cover the total protein intake requirements in the diet[9].


In literature, there are many examples of products that use lupine flour in their formulations, like noodles[6], bread[1], cookies (we created them for a college project and for personal experience a can say that they were very good!).

…and by the way, have you ever seen a flowers lupine plant? It’s beautiful!



[1] Dervas, G., Doxastakis, G., Hadjisavva-Zinoviadi, S., & Triantafillakos, N. (1999). Lupin flour addition to wheat flour doughs and effect on rheological properties. Food Chemistry66(1), 67-73.

[2 ] Duranti, M., Consonni, A., Magni, C., Sessa, F., & Scarafoni, A. (2008). The major proteins of lupin seed: characterisation and molecular properties for use as functional and nutraceutical ingredients. Trends in Food Science & Technology19(12), 624-633.

[3] Egaña, J. I., Uauy, R., Cassorla, X., Barrera, G., & Yañez, E. (1992). Sweet lupin protein quality in young men. The Journal of nutrition122(12), 2341-2347.

[4] Fontanari, G. G., Batistuti, J. P., da Cruz, R. J., Saldiva, P. H. N., & Arêas, J. A. G. (2012). Cholesterol-lowering effect of whole lupin (Lupinus albus) seed and its protein isolate. Food Chemistry132(3), 1521-1526.

[5] Hondelmann, W. (1984). The lupin—ancient and modern crop plant. Theoretical and Applied Genetics68(1-2), 1-9.

[6] Mahmoud, E. A., Nassef, S. L., & Basuny, A. M. (2012). Production of high protein quality noodles using wheat flour fortified with different protein products from lupine. Annals of Agricultural Sciences57(2), 105-112.

[7] Marsh, S. P., Pannell, D. J., & Lindner, R. K. (2000). The impact of agricultural extension on adoption and diffusion of lupins as a new crop in Western Australia. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture40(4), 571-583.

[8] Schoeneberger, H., Gross, R., Cremer, H. D., & Elmadfa, I. (1983). The protein quality of lupins (Lupinus mutabilis) alone and in combination with other protein sources. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition32(2), 133-143.

[9] Yáñez, Enrique, D. Ivanović, D. F. Owen, and Digna Ballester. “Chemical and nutritional evaluation of sweet lupines.” Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 27, no. 6 (1983): 513-520.


A Blue Solution to Blue Mondays


Check this interesting article about very bold food innovation on Future Foods blog, then bookmark it to get more food tech and innovation news!

Meet Gik, a Spanish wine producer that went against centuries of tradition by creating a bright blue vino. The blend of red and white comes from grapes in La Rioja, León, and Castilla-La Mancha regions. It was dreamt up by a group of 6 friends in their 20s. Anthocyanin, a pigment from the red grapes’ skin, and indigotine, […]

via Blue wine? Okay! — FUTURE FOODS