Leaf concentrate is an extremely nutritious human food, containing approximately 50% (dry weight) high-quality protein, together with numerous micronutrients, principally beta-carotene, vitamins B6, B9, E and K, plus iron, calcium and magnesium. Many studies have shown that those consuming it recover quickly from nutritional anaemia and have a significantly improved general state of health. Today, over 40,000 people receive a daily serving of 10g of dried lucerne leaf concentrate. The fractionation of leaves was first reported over 200 years ago and has been the subject of extensive research and application since the 1940s. The process breaks down the original leaves into three products: residual fibre, “whey” and leaf concentrate. The whey and the fibre are effective fertilizers, substrates for fermentation and/or animal feed. Through the use of all three products, leaf fractionation can be more productive, in terms of edible protein per hectare of land, than any other known agricultural method. This paper presents the history and nutritional qualities of leaf concentrate, provides technical details of leaf fractionation at domestic and intermediate (community/semi-industrial) scales of production and reviews studies that provide evidence for the effectiveness of leaf concentrate in improving human nutritional status. It concludes by reviewing the factors that have hitherto hindered the widespread adoption of leaf concentrate and leaf fractionation. The authors suggest how these may be overcome, and discuss the potentially wider role of leaf concentrate in alleviating human malnutrition, including its use as a locally-produced ready-to-use therapeutic food.
|Translated title of the contribution||Leaf concentrate and other benefits of leaf fractionation|
|Title of host publication||Combating Micronutrient Deficiency: Food-based Approaches|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|