In the present study, we investigated the physicochemical and functional properties of lotus seed flour exposed to low and high doses of gamma-radiation (0-30 kGy; the dose recommended for quarantine and hygienic purposes). The results indicated raw seed flour to be rich in nutrients with minimal quantities of antinutritional factors. Irradiation resulted in a dose-dependent increase in some of the proximal constituents. The raw and gamma-irradiated seeds meet the Food and Agricultural Organization-World Health Organization recommended pattern of essential amino acids. Some of the antinutritional factors (phytic acid, total phenolics, and tannins) were lowered with gamma-irradiation, while the seed flours were devoid of lectins, L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine, and polonium-210. The functional properties of the seed flour were significantly improved with gamma-radiation. gamma-radiation selectively preserved or improved the desired nutritional and functional traits of lotus seeds, thus ensuring a safe production of appropriate nutraceutically valued products.
Radiation processing has been employed successfully for value addition of food and agricultural products. Preliminary studies were undertaken to evaluate the changes induced by ionizing radiation (up to 30 kGy), in the form of gamma irradiation and electron beam irradiation, on some quality attributes and nutritive values of nutraceutically valued lotus seeds. Significant loss in seed firmness was recorded between control and irradiated seeds, irrespective of radiation source. Similarly, the specific viscosity of irradiated lotus seeds decreased significantly up to a dose of 7.5 kGy. Starch increased after exposure to gamma or electron beam irradiation, whereas the total phenolic contents were decreased. Gamma irradiation revealed an enhancement in protein, while the electron beam showed a decrease. Partial oxidation of the seeds during radiation treatments might have occurred as evidenced from the decomposition profiles (thermogravimetry) during heating. It is evident that ionizing radiation brought about significant and variable changes in the quality and nutritive values of lotus seed. Further exploration of this technology for safety and quality is warranted.