A group of Mexican researchers found properties in the black beans that could help improve treatments for cancer. They intend to develop flour from this product to launch it to the market.
The director of the Department of Bioengineering and Sciences in the Southern Region at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM), Janet Alejandra Gutierrez Uribe said that by analyzing black beans, they detected that one of its active compounds ( flavonols) possess the ability to inhibit the growth of tumor cells.
“Then we have the active ingredient naturally protected by an antioxidant compound. In this way, when tested they work much better than other sources of flavanols,” Gutierrez Uribe said.
She said that one the study is completed; the next step is producing and marketing processed black bean flour that retains its original properties, in order to generate functional food.
Bioactive compounds found in black bean degrade more than 80 percent during the cooking process; so to keep those, the researchers used a germination process by water and moisture.
The flour could be incorporated in the future into tortillas, bread, cereal bars and other foods. The final product will also contain peptides (protein fragments) generated through the germination.
Gutierrez Uribe said the project supported by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) is led by ITSEM researchers, organized in a group called NutriOmics.
The ITSEM researcher added that the scientists are also working on the identification of active compounds in products such as corn, agave and nopal (Opuntia cacti). Finally, she clarified that none of these products cures cancer, but decrease the side and negative effects of medications or chemotherapies.