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.




All lupin species studied contain quinolizidine alkaloids. Some of these alkaloids are bioactive food plant constituents with anticipated toxic effects in humans (for a definition see Gry et al., 2007). The exact number of lupin species within the genus Lupinus is unknown but a number between 150 and up to 500 species has been suggested (Aniszewski, 1993; Wink et al., 1995). Only seeds from few of these lupin species have been used for human consumption. The edible species include the white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) used in Southern Europe, the narrow-leaved lupin (Lupinus angustifolius L.) grown in Australia, and the pearl lupin (Lupinus mutabilis Sweet) grown in South America. It is not clear whether other lupin species e.g. yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus L.) have been or still are used in foods. At least the yellow lupin (as well as the white and the narrow leaved lupins) is included in the EU Novel Food Catalogue (EU, 2008)


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