Nutritional and antinutritional composition of fava bean (Vicia faba L., var. minor) cultivars
Journal article, 2021

A dietary shift from resource-demanding animal protein to sustainable food sources, such as protein-rich beans, lowers the climate footprint of food production. In this study, we examined the nutrients and antinutrients in 15 fava bean varieties cultivated in Sweden to select varieties with high nutritional value. On a dry weight basis, the fava beans were analyzed for their content of protein (range 26–33%), amino acids (leucine range: 50.8–72.1 mg/g protein, lysine range: 44.8–74.8 mg/g protein), dietary fiber (soluble fraction range: 0.55–1.06%, insoluble fraction range: 10.7–16.0%), and iron (1.8–21.3 mg/100 g) and zinc contents (0.9–5.2 mg/100 g), as well as for the following antinutrients: lectin (0.8–3.2 HU/mg); trypsin inhibitor (1.2–23.1 TIU/mg) and saponin (18–109 µg/g); phytate (112–1,281 mg/100 g); total phenolic content (1.4–5 mg GAE/g); and vicine(403 µg/g − 7,014 µg/g), convicine (35.5 µg/g − 3,121 µg/g) and the oligosaccharides raffinose (1.1–3.9 g/kg), stachyose (4.4–13.7 g/kg) and verbascose (8–15 g/kg). The results indicate substantial differences between cultivars in relation to their contents of nutrients and antinutrients. Only one of the cultivars studied (Sunrise) have adequate estimated bioavailability of iron, which is of major concern for a diet in which legumes and grains serve as important sources of iron. The nutritional gain from consuming fava beans is significantly affected by the cultivar chosen as the food source.

Bioavailability of iron


Grain legumes



Fava bean

Sustainable protein


Cecilia Mayer Labba

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Hanne Frøkiær

University of Copenhagen

Ann-Sofie Sandberg

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

Food Research International

0963-9969 (ISSN)

Vol. 140 110038

Subject Categories

Food Science

Food Engineering

Nutrition and Dietetics



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