Fava beans

Protecting fava beans with different processing technologies

Álvaro García

There is a current trend in consumers preference for dairy products obtained from feeding cattle with locally sourced, non-genetically modified crops that can be traced to their origin. As a result, locally produced vegetable proteins in Europe have been partially replacing imported soybean meal.

Fava beans nutrient composition

Legume plant species such as fava beans, have the same nitrogen-fixating properties as soybeans, and yields bordering 3 tons per hectare. Their nutrient content is quite high at approximately 30% protein and 44% starch.

This protein however is almost 80% fermentable in the rumen making necessary the supplementation of bypass protein particularly in high producing dairy cows. Various processing technologies have been used to increase this undegradable protein (bypass) fraction with the most common being heat treatment.

Protein protection

This treatment is quite effective provided temperature, time, and moisture during treatment are maintained within certain parameters. When this processing exceeds the recommended temperature, for example, heat damage occurs which reducers both protein and sugar availabilities to the animal (Maillard reaction).

Most heat-treated raw seeds do not undergo any previous treatment before extrusion. There could be however some treatments that could make the process more effective without excessively damaging the protein.

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Feeding faba beans as an alternative protein and starch source

Feeding faba beans as an alternative protein and starch source

Fernando Díaz

Faba beans (Vicia faba) is a grain legume that may be considered as dual-purpose feed for protein and starch contents. Due to its high protein (28 – 32% dry matter; DM) and starch contents (40% DM), faba beans can replace both protein meals and cereal grains in dairy cow diets.

When compared with soybean meal, the protein in faba beans is more ruminally degradable, richer in lysine and lower in sulfur amino acids methionine and cysteine. Faba beans contain anti-nutritional factors that can have negative effects on cow performance, including tannins, trypsin inhibitors, protease inhibitors, lectins, gallic acid and phytoestrogen compounds. Therefore, applying heat-based processing treatments to faba beans is recommended to reduce the effects of anti-nutritional factors and to increase its undegradable protein fraction.

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