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How toxic are cooked mature velvet beans?

All mature beans need cooking but some some more than others.
Velvet beans need very careful cooking and and in parts of Africa people fear they might be poisoned and die so never eat them.
People can certainly get sick but it seems no research has been done on velvet beans for many years.
Can someone assure my SSA contacts that that they can eat cooked velvet beans and and not die?

Graham Knight
BioDesign

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Currently (7/93), we offer the following guidelines. Has there been a failure of the bean crop in your area, but velvet beans are abundant? If so, it is almost certainly better to make use of velvet bean than to suffer hunger or protein malnutrition. Is the food situation a bit less desperate than that, but people still do not have enough to eat? If so, consider using velvet beans in moderation and not every day. Are there plenty of alternative sources of protein? If so, don’t eat the velvet beans. Velvet bean coffee has a lot of L-dopa in it. It should not be consumed regularly. EDN #37 for more details.]

Journal of Food Biochemistry
Volume 32, Issue 6
December 2008
Pages 795–812

EFFECT OF VARIOUS PROCESSING METHODS ON THE LEVELS OF ANTINUTRITIONAL CONSTITUENTS AND PROTEIN DIGESTIBILITY OF MUCUNA PRURIENS (L.) DC. VAR. UTILIS (WALL. EX WIGHT) BAKER EX BURCK (VELVET BEAN) SEEDS

Authors

  • First published: 28 November 2008
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-4514.2008.00199.xView/save citation
  • Cited by: 3 articles

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

In the present study, the effect of various processing methods on the levels of antinutritional compounds and in vitro protein digestibility (IVPD) of seeds of a potential South Indian under-utilized legume, Mucuna pruriens (L.) DC. var. utilis (Wall. ex Wight) Baker ex Burck (velvet bean), was investigated. Among the various postharvest treatments employed, soaking the seeds in NaHCO 3 solution followed by autoclaving appears to be more effective in reducing the maximum levels of various antinutritional compounds, such as total free phenolics (74–81%), tannins (74–83%), L-3,4-Dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-Dopa) (69–83%), phytic acid (85–86%), oligosaccharides such as raffinose (73–79%), stachyose (73–82%) and verbascose (71–75%), hemagglutinating activity (70–84%), trypsin inhibitor activity (72–81%) and Ξ±-amylase inhibitor activity (73–82%), and also results in significant improvement of IVPD (15–23%) of both the white and black seeds of velvet bean. Adoption of such viable processing method will enhance the utilization of velvet bean seeds as an alternative/additional protein source for both human beings and animals.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

The recent research trend has been directed to evaluate the under-utilized legume seeds as an alternative protein source to meet the protein requirements of increasing human population and expanding livestock industries. In this context, the velvet bean ( Mucuna pruriens [L.] DC. var. utilis ) seeds receive more attention as alternative/additional protein source. Although the velvet bean seeds were found to contain high content of protein, carbohydrates and other nutrients, their utilization as food was restricted largely because of the presence of high concentrations of various antinutritional compounds. Hence, in the present study, various common postharvest processing methods were employed to remove/reduce the levels of antinutritional compounds of velvet bean seeds. From the present investigation, a cost-effective and viable processing method has been identified for the versatile utilization of velvet bean seeds as an alternative source of protein in the diets of both human beings and animals.

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