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Background: Euryale ferox (EF) is an aquatic cash crop grown in sub-tropical and tropical regions of South and Eastern Asia. The seeds including the coat have nutritional and functional value. The seeds are also part of the traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. The seeds are popped by traditional and modified techniques and used in Indian cuisine. The objective of the study was to evaluate the nutritional composition, starch and protein digestibility and functional properties of popped Euryale ferox seeds.
Methodology: Popped EF seeds were subjected to evaluation of proximate analysis, starch fractions, in vitro protein digestibility and mineral content by atomic absorption spectroscopy. The powdered seeds were analysed for bulk density, water and oil absorption capacity, swelling power and solubility and foaming capacity and stability.
Results: The seeds were found to be rich in carbohydrates (79%), predominantly starch (63.4%). The protein and fat content were 9.3 ± 0.25 % and 0.05 ± 0.01 % respectively. The popped seeds have high starch digestibility index (42.3±0.3) and protein digestibility (84.2 ± 2.36 %). The seeds are low in minerals. The seeds have a low bulk density of 0.58 g/cc, high water absorption capacity and considerable oil absorption capacity of 136.67 ± 12.7 ml/100g and 88 ml/100g respectively.
Conclusion: Popped EF seeds can be an optimum choice for a food with high carbohydrate, high quality protein and macronutrient digestibility. The seeds can be a part of low sodium and low fat diet. The lower bulk density and higher water absorption capacity make it suitable for use in baked and complementary foods.