01.04.2022: Hunting Lysine.
So far, mainly omega-3-fatty acids were in the focus of the project. However, Peruvian Amaranth (kiwicha) has more to offer. Already Luis Sumar Kalinowski, who rediscovered kiwicha in the 1970s and propagated its cultivation in Peru, initiated research on protein content and composition of different Amaranth species. These studies showed that kiwicha exhibited high contents of the essential amino acid lysine. This building block for proteins is relatively „expensive“ for plants, because it harbours a second amino group, which requires bio-available nitrogen. Therefore, plant proteins are often containing less lysine than proteins from animal origin. Who is living on a vegan diet, must therefore take care to get a sufficient intake of lysine. Frequently, this rare amino acid is complemented as food supplement. Actually, we deem this unnecessary. We might rather learn from the Inca and just consume a daily amount of kiwicha to cover our lysine demand. Thus, we have started to screen our Amaranth collection for varieties that are efficient in accumulating lysine. Contact: Prof. Dr. Peter Nick
AMOR - Amaranth, the Superfood of the Inka revisited
Amaranth was the Superfood of the Inka. Their esteem for this relative of the better known Quinoa was that high that they even worshipped this plant as deity. For this reason, the Spanish posed the cultivation Amaranth under punishment since it was considered as "idolatry". Only in the 1970ies the Peruvian scientist Luis Kalinowski discovered several plants, that had been secretly grown by Indio families for ritual purposes, and ventured to promote Amaranth cultivation in Peru.
In the meantime, Amaranth is also known in Europe and is traded, mostly in popped form, as component of Muesli, bars, or even chocolates. Less known is Amaranth oil that hides exciting potential. Especially the discovery that this oil contains the highly valuable Omega-3-Fatty Acids (which we normally have to take up from sea fish), opens new perspectives for a vegan diet (forget about fish oil capsules!).
In our German-Peruvian cooperation project, this potential will be unlocked for the nutrition industry. At the same time, we will develop science-based quality standards to contribute to more consumer safety.