Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Scopus Web of Science® Altmetric
Type: Journal article
Title: The composition of Australian Plantago seeds highlights their potential as nutritionally-rich functional food ingredients
Author: Cowley, J.M.
O’Donovan, L.A.
Burton, R.A.
Citation: Scientific Reports, 2021; 11(1):12692-1-12692-16
Publisher: Springer Nature
Issue Date: 2021
ISSN: 2045-2322
Statement of
James M. Cowley, Lisa A. O’Donovan, Rachel A. Burton
Abstract: When wetted, Plantago seeds become covered with a polysaccharide-rich gel called mucilage that has value as a food additive and bulking dietary fibre. Industrially, the dry husk layer that becomes mucilage, called psyllium, is milled off Plantago ovata seeds, the only commercial-relevant Plantago species, while the residual inner seed tissues are either used for low value animal feed or discarded. We suggest that this practice is potentially wasting a highly nutritious resource and here describe the use of histological, physicochemical, and chromatographic analyses to compare whole seed composition/characteristics of P. ovata with 11 relatives already adapted to harsh Australian conditions that may represent novel commercial crop options. We show that substantial interspecific differences in mucilage yield and macromolecular properties are mainly a consequence of differences in heteroxylan and pectin composition and probably represent wide differences in hydrocolloid functionality that can be exploited in industry. We also show that non-mucilage producing inner seed tissues contain a substantial mannan-rich endosperm, high in fermentable sugars, protein, and fats. Whole seed Plantago flour, particularly from some species obtained from harsh Australian environments, may provide improved economic and health benefits compared to purified P. ovata psyllium husk, by retaining the functionality of the seed mucilage and providing additional essential nutrients.
Keywords: Plantago
Plant Proteins
Nutritive Value
Dietary Fiber
Functional Food
Plant Mucilage
Rights: © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-92114-1
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications
Aurora harvest 4

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
hdl_131753.pdfPublished version3.64 MBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.