Sunflower proteins : overview of their physicochemical, structural and functional properties

S. González-Pérez, J.M. Vereijken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


There is increasing worldwide demand for proteins of both animal and plant origin. However, animal proteins are expensive in terms of both market price and environmental impact. Among alternative plant proteins, sunflower seeds are particularly interesting in view of their widespread availability in areas where soy is not or only sparsely produced. Compared with other sources of vegetable proteins, sunflower seeds have been reported to have a low content of antinutritional factors. Although the absence of these factors is important, the functionality of the protein preparations will mainly determine their applicability. This review provides detailed information about sunflower seed composition and processing, including processes to remove phenolic compounds from meals. The main part of the review concerns the structure and functionality of the two major protein fractions, helianthinin and 2S albumins. Regarding functionality, emphasis is on solubility, thermal behaviour and surface activity. Protein structure and functionality are discussed as a function of extrinsic factors such as pH, ionic strength, temperature and the presence of other seed components, particularly chlorogenic acid. In addition, sunflower proteins are compared from a structural and functional point of view with other plant proteins, particularly soy proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2173-2191
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • helianthus-annuus l
  • seed storage proteins
  • low-molecular-weight
  • reduced soy glycinin
  • chlorogenic acid
  • foaming properties
  • ionic-strength
  • defatted sunflower
  • globulin fraction
  • oilseed proteins

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