Alkaloids in edible lupin seeds

A toxicological review and recommendations

image of Alkaloids in edible lupin seeds

The report reviews the toxicity data on inherent natural toxicants in lupin seeds, especially quinolizidin alkaloids. Lupin seeds are increasingly used in the Nordic countries, partially substituting wheat flour in certain foods. An estimation of the risk by consuming foods containing lupin seeds in the Nordic countries and recommendations to better ensure the safe use of these seeds in foods are given.




As previously mentioned both cultivars with high and low alkaloid levels exist within the species L. albus and L. angustifolius. Seeds of bitter varieties of white lupin has been subject to a debittering process including cooking followed by soaking in water until bitterness has disappeared before they can be safely used as a food. The spiced, salted debittered seeds of Lupinus albus are used as a snack food in Southern Europe and also in Egypt (Marquez et al., 1991; Christiansen et al., 1999; Joray et al., 2007). Seeds from sweet lupin varieties can be eaten without prior processing. Lupin seeds derived from L. angustifolius are, however, more likely used as a food ingredients than to be consumed whole. Flour from the cotyledon can due to its high amount of protein (approx. 36–40 %) be used in protein enriched foods. Since the flour do not contain gluten it would be suitable for inclusion in foods for patients with coeliac disease (ACNFP, 1996). Low alkaloid containing L. albus seed flour and defatted flour has experimentally been used for replacing up to 15 % of wheat flour for bread making. Inclusion of lupine flour affected the volumes of the breads (Mubarak; 2001; Dervas et al. 1999). The defatted flour could substitute 10 % of wheat flour and produce an acceptable bread quality (Dervas et al., 1999). Substitution of wheat flour with up to 6 % of lupin flour had no detrimental effect on sensory properties of the bread (Mubarak, 2001). White lupin flour can substitute wheat flour at levels up to 5 % for baking white ’wheat’ bread and has a greater potential for substitution of wheat flour than flour from narrow-leaved lupin. For substitution of up to 15 %, lupin flour is thought to be competitive with other grain legumes (Pollard et al., 2002). Full-fat lupin flour prepared from roasted, dehulled and milled lupin seeds (L. albus cv. Multolupa) could replace 12 % of the total fluor in two Chilean wheat bread types without affecting baking properties. By enriching bread with lupin, the content of available lysine increased 40 %, which is of nutritional importance since wheat protein is deficient in this amino acid (Ballester et al., 1988). Cookies containing up to 10 % of full-fat lupin fluor (L. albus cv. Multolupa) as replacement of wheat flour were evaluated as having a sensory quality similar to standard cookies. Inclusion of higher levels of lupin fluor (15, 20 and 25 %) affected the sensory quality and acceptability of the cookies (Wittig de Penna et al., 1987). Cookies prepared with up to 10 % flour from low-alkaloid seeds of L. albus had sensory quality and acceptability similar to or slightly better than cookies prepared without addition of lupin fluor. The sensory quality and acceptability of pancakes prepared with up to 15 % of lupin flour from L. albus and dumplings filled with meat containing 5 % lupin flour were also good. Lupin hull from L. albus could be added to cookies in levels up to 10 %, in pancakes up to 5 % and in dumplings up to 5 % without much effect on sensory quality. However, addition of from 5–15 % of both lupin flour and lupin hull to minced meat had a dose-dependent negative influence on sensory quality. Minced meat containing 15 % lupin hull was rejected by the sensory panel (Górecka et al., 2000). Lupin flour can be incorporated at up to 50 % of the flour in biscuits (Kyle, 1994 cited in Dervas et al., 1999). Pasta including 15 % of L. angustifoliusl flour is sold in Australia. In North America pasta supplemented with flour from L. albus has been marketed (Petterson, 1998).


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