Preface to VSI “Increasing the use of cereal grains as sources of protein”

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Shewry, P. R., Malalgoda, M. and House, J. 2024. Preface to VSI “Increasing the use of cereal grains as sources of protein”. Journal of Cereal Science. 117 (May), p. 103901.

AuthorsShewry, P. R., Malalgoda, M. and House, J.

The global market for plant proteins is predicted to grow by about 7% a year over the next 5 years (Market value of plant protein worldwide 2022–2027 | Statista), driven by ethical concerns, their health benefits (actual and perceived) and their lower energy and environmental footprints than traditional protein sources derived from ruminant animals, particularly meat and milk. Cereal grains have a relatively low protein content, generally in the range 10–15% dry weight, compared to legume seeds (peas, beans and other pulses) which can contain up to 40% dry weight protein. However, the global production and typical consumption patterns of cereals vastly exceed those of more protein-rich crops, with wheat alone providing 15–20% of the global protein intake in human diets. The global success of cereal crops relates to several factors including their high yields, wide adaptability and ease of cultivation, harvest and
storage. Hence, they are widely used as livestock feed and industrial raw material as well as for food applications. Their wide availability, functional properties (particularly of wheat) and low cost also make cereal grains excellent candidates for the development of novel protein-rich
foods. Cereal grains are not ideal protein sources in terms of the balance of indispensable amino acids, particularly lysine, but these deficiencies are normally addressed when they are consumed in mixed diets with foods which have more balanced (animal-based proteins) or complementary (legumes and pulses) amino acid compositions. Consequently, the amino
acid composition of cereal grains is mostly of concern in formulating diets for livestock in which energy-rich cereals are combined with protein-rich components such as soybeans and oilseed meals. However, these deficiencies will almost certainly become of increasing concern if cereals are widely used to replace other protein sources in feed or food
applications. The review articles in this special issue of Journal of Cereal Science are therefore selected to provide the reader with concise and provocative updates on a range of issues which will affect the increased exploitation of cereal grains as sources of protein for human nutrition and health. They range from plant science to food processing and health
and are contributed by global experts. We hope that readers will find the collection to be stimulating as well as informative.

Year of Publication2024
JournalJournal of Cereal Science
Journal citation117 (May), p. 103901
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
OnlineMay 2024

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