Vicia faba, the legume species from which Fava beans are derived, has the potential to deliver food ingredients which support a balanced diet and contribute to a reduced demand on foods from animal origins. Plant-based protein offers enhanced environmental sustainability over meat-derived protein and demand has increased globally in the last decade with market research valuing plant-based proteins at USD 10.3 billion globally in 2020 growing to USD 15.6 billion by 2026 (Research and Markets 2021).
Fava beans are approx. one-quarter protein by weight and high in dietary fibre, making this pulse a leading candidate to be utilised in food products as a nutritious and protein-rich raw ingredient. However, the nutritional composition of fava beans varies from cultivar to cultivar, both in terms of nutrient and anti-nutrient content. Fava beans are a favourable source of protein, iron and zinc, but also contain a range of antinutrients, including phytate, that inhibit mineral and protein bioavailability. They also have a comparatively high unsaturated fatty acid content versus other legumes. Dietary fibre, derived mostly from the outer covering of cells (cell walls) and resistant starch, is predominantly insoluble and the phytate to iron and zinc ratios are high in most cultivars, indicating relatively poor mineral bioavailability. Their high content of toxic alkaloid glycosides vicine and convicine is a concern but can be minimised by processing technologies. For sensitive individuals (having red blood cells with low-activity variants of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase), Fava bean ingestion can lead to acute haemolysis known as favism, which can be life-threatening. These properties impact on consumer preferences, processing steps on nutrient bioavailability and the production of acceptable taste, texture and quality in the ensuing food products.
This collaboration (between NCEFE-SHU UK and LTU in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) will investigate whether through the manipulation of Fava bean processing, an accepted source of plant-based protein for use in processed foods can be generated.
Information on entry requirements can be found here
How to apply
We strongly recommend you contact the lead academic, Dr Bipro Dubey, [Email Address Removed], to discuss your application.
Start date for studentship: February 2023
Interviews are scheduled for: TBC
For information on how to apply please click here
Your application should be emailed to [Email Address Removed] by the closing date of 31st October 2022.