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The potential use of chickpeas in development of infant follow-on formula

Lovemore Nkhata Malunga1, Shimrit Bar-El Dadon1, Eli Zinal3, Zipi Berkovich1, Shahal Abbo2 and Ram Reifen1*

Author Affiliations

1 The School of Nutritional Sciences Plant Genetics, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel

2 Plant Genetics The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel

3 Tnuva Research and Development Center, Rehovot, Israel

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Nutrition Journal 2014, 13:8  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-8

Published: 22 January 2014



Undernutrition during childhood is a common disorder in the developing countries, however most research has focussed much on its treatment rather than its prevention.


We investigated the potential of using chickpeas in infant follow-on formula production against the requirements of WHO/FAO on complementary foods and EU regulations on follow-on formula.


Chickpeas were germinated for 72 hours followed by boiling, drying and dehulling in order to minimise associated anti-nutrition factors. Saccharifying enzymes were used to hydrolyse starch to maltose and the resulting flours were analysed for their protein content and amino acid profile.


The protein content (percentage) increased from 16.66 ± 0.35 and 20.24 ± 0.50 to 20.00 ± 0.15 and 21.98 ± 0.80 for the processed desi and kabuli cultivar compared to raw chickpeas, respectively (P < 0.05). There was insignificant change (P = 0.05) in amino acid profile following processing and the resulting flour was found to meet the amino acid requirements of WHO/FAO protein reference for 0–24 month’s children.


The designed chickpea based infant follow-on formula meets the WHO/FAO requirements on complementary foods and also the EU regulations on follow-on formula with minimal addition of oils, minerals and vitamins. It uses chickpea as a common source of carbohydrate and protein hence making it more economical and affordable for the developing countries without compromising the nutrition quality.

Chickpea; Protein; Weaning formulae; Amino acid; Infant follow-on formulae