Beans are one of the most important crops for the Mexican population due to its nutritional qualities. In fact, the country is one of the top 10 producers of this legume in the world, and several studies have reflected the correlation between consumption and decreased chronic degenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes.
Therefore, the National School of Biological Sciences of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN-ENCB), conducted an investigation to evaluate the antioxidant and antihypertensive activity in the Jamapa variety of black beans, and found that in addition to these qualities, proteins in the bean can remove heavy metals from the body.
The polytechnic research entitled "Enzymatic hydrolysates of Jamapa black bean with antihypertensive activity" was led by Gloria Dávila Ortiz. It identified bioactive peptides in the legume that have a beneficial effect as antihypertensive and antioxidant, which could favor the development of products for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, with a specific effect on blood pressure and oxidative stress.
This work isolated and hydrolyzed (ie, conducted the process of altering a chemical substance with water) seed proteins after grinding, in addition to using a computer simulation of its behavior in various processes.
It was determined that fasolina and lectin hydrolysates (main proteins in the Jamapa black bean) had chelating activity (removal of heavy metals in the body) and, when hydrolyzed with pepsin-pancratin, they release peptides (amino acids) with antihypertensive and antioxidant effects.
"With the research we have known the essence of the legume, and identified the nutritional components such as carbohydrates, starch, proteins, fats, phenolic compounds that have related antioxidant effects" Dávila Ortiz said.
The knowledge provided by this work in the development of products for the treatment and prevention of diseases, was awarded the National Prize in Science and Technology of Food in the Business category for Food Science, an award organized for the last four decades by the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and Mexican industry Coca Cola, with the aim of promoting research and development in the food and beverage industry.
Davila Ortiz added that once their positive activity on health was identified, they will seek to exploit all the nutritional characteristics and develop techniques to eliminate or reduce non-nutritive components.
"The Jamapa black bean proteins have biological properties and nutrients that help lower glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. Thanks to a collaboration between the IPN and the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán, diets for people with diabetes were developed and it was found that glucose in blood decreased. In the future we intend to develop products containing proteins which would be aimed at treatment and prevention of diseases, seeking specific effect on blood pressure and as an antioxidant," concluded the researcher.
The use of hydrolyzed products improves the use of bean proteins that could be added in functional foods for the benefit of human health.
The work done in this research is an example of what students and doctors across the country do in search of technological, functional and nutritional food products for national development , which the PNCTA recognizes annually.