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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013, Article ID 578781, 7 pages
Research Article

Chemical Composition, Nutritive Value, and Toxicological Evaluation of Bauhinia cheilantha Seeds: A Legume from Semiarid Regions Widely Used in Folk Medicine

1Departamento de Bioquímica e Biologia Molecular, Universidade Federal do Ceará, 60455-970 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
2Departamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal do Ceará, 60455-970 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil
3Departamento de Química Orgânica e Inorgânica, Universidade Federal do Ceará, 60455-970 Fortaleza, CE, Brazil

Received 13 February 2013; Revised 4 March 2013; Accepted 11 March 2013

Academic Editor: Elvira Gonzalez De Mejia

Copyright © 2013 Daniel Câmara Teixeira et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Among the Bauhinia species, B. cheilantha stands out for its seed protein content. However, there is no record of its nutritional value, being used in a nonsustainable way in the folk medicine and for large-scale extraction of timber. The aim of this study was to investigate the food potential of B. cheilantha seeds with emphasis on its protein quality to provide support for flora conservation and use as raw material or as prototype for the development of bioproducts with high added socioeconomic value. B. cheilantha seeds show high protein content (35.9%), reasonable essential amino acids profile, low levels of antinutritional compounds, and nutritional parameters comparable to those of legumes widely used such as soybean and cowpea. The heat treatment of the seeds as well as the protein extraction process (to obtain the protein concentrate) increased the acceptance of diets by about 100% when compared to that of raw Bc diet. These wild legume seeds can be promising alternative source of food to overcome the malnutrition problem faced by low income people adding socioeconomic value to the species.