A biotechnological approach including enzymatic treatment (protease and xylanase) and lactic acid bacteria fermentation has been evaluated to enhance the nutritional value of semolina pasta enriched with hemp, chickpea and milling by-products. The intense (up to circa, (ca.) 70%) decrease in the peptide profile area and (up to two-fold) increase in total free amino acids, compared to the untreated raw materials, highlighted the potential of lactic acid bacteria to positively affect their in vitro protein digestibility. Fermented and unfermented ingredients have been characterized and used to fortify pasta made under pilot-plant scale. Due to the high contents of protein (ca. 13%) and fiber (ca. 6%) and according to the Regulation of the European Community (EC) No. 1924/2006 fortified pasta can be labelled as a “source of fiber” and a “source of protein”. The use of non-wheat flours increased the content of anti-nutritional factors as compared to the control pasta. Nevertheless, fermentation with lactic acid bacteria led to significant decreases in condensed tannins (ca. 50%), phytic acid and raffinose (ca. ten-fold) contents as compared to the unfermented pasta. Moreover, total free amino acids and in vitro protein digestibility values were 60% and 70%, respectively, higher than pasta made only with semolina. Sensory analysis highlighted a strong effect of the fortification on the sensory profile of pasta.
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