Production - Access to the best technology and professional support is critical to making lupins part of a profitable farm business.
Feed & Food - Lupins are mostly utilised by stockfeed manufacturers in compound feed rations.
Products - Lupin foods are commercially manufactured in Europe, North America and Australia.
A large body of scientific endeavour forms the basis for the on-going genetic improvement, agronomic advances and better utilisation of the lupin grain.

Feed & Food - Grain specifications and suppliers

Grain specifications and suppliers

Lupins are mostly utilised by stockfeed manufacturers in compound feed rations. Ruminants are the biggest users followed by pigs and poultry. There is increasing utilisation in aquaculture and for human food where they are valued for both their nutritional and functional properties.

The nutritional value of the different lupin species varies which has implications for end-use. All species are largely free of anti-nutritional factors.

Lupins store well, are easy to handle.

Australia is currently the biggest supplier.

Grain Composition

Lupins have a typical dicotyledon structure. Their thick seed coat (hull or testa) comprises about 30% of the seed weight for L. luteus, 25% for L. angustifolius, 15% for L. albus and 12% for L. mutabilis. This is considerably higher than for most domesticated grain species.

The thick seed coat is mostly cellulose and hemicellulose, means that it is important to consider the composition and nutritional value of their cotyledons (kernel).

Proximate Analysis of lupin whole seed & kernels

Species L. angustifolius L. albus L. luteus L. mutabulis
  whole seed (%) kernel (%) whole seed (%) kernel (%) whole seed (%) kernel (%) whole seed (%) kernel (%)
Seed Coat 24 0 18 0 27 0 16 0
Moisture 9 12 9 11 9 12 8 10
Protein 32 41 36 44 38 52 44 52
Fat 6 7 9 11 5 7 14 17
Ash 3 3 3 4 3 4 3 4
Lignin 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Polysaccharides 22 29 17 21 8 11 9 10
Oligosaccharides 4 6 7 8 9 12 5 6
Minor components 0.50 1 0.60 1 0.90 1 1 1
Total Sum 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

Lupin SeedWithin the cotyledons (kernels), energy is mostly stored in form of thickened cell wall material, about 25% of the cotyledons, and oil bodies, comprising from 6 to 14% of the cotyledons in domestic species.

There is virtually no starch in any of the lupin species. This is in marked contrast to crops such as field peas and chickpeas, which can have 50 70% of the cotyledon weight as starch and have low protein and oil content, and the soybean with 15-20% oil and high protein content. Their crude protein content ranges from about 28 to 42 %. Proximate analyses for whole grain of the major domesticated species, and the Andean lupin, are shown in Table 1.

Sweet Lupin

Comparative grain content of narrow-leafed lupin (L. angustifolius)

The Department of Agriculture & Food – Western Australia provides a detailed analysis of Australian Sweet Lupin including amino acid profile:


In Australia lupin grain is traded on the basis that it contains less than 0.02% total alkaloid as measured by gas chromatography.

The Chemistry Centre of Western Australia provides a commercial alkaloid analysis service:

Comparison of Australian Sweet Lupin varieties for protein, oil, seed weight and alkaloids

(% of Merrit which typically has seed weight = 145mg; protein = 36% dry weight basis; oil = 7% dry weight basis; alkaloid = 0.012%)

Variety Seed Weight Protein Oil Alkaloid
Merrit 100 100 100 100
Mandelup 105 95 100 116
Belara 106 92 108 88
Danja 104 97 104 168
Kalya 99 97 96 145
Quilinock 112 98 94 80
Tallerack 100 102 93 37
Tanjil 99 96 108 122
Coromup 120 109 100 127

Source: Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia

Livestock Feeds

Lupins are widely used as a source of protein and energy in livestock feeds. Their high protein content makes them a valuable resource for monogastric and ruminant production systems as they are cost competitive with a wide range of other protein sources. Their low levels of starch and high levels of fermentable carbohydrate make them a highly desirable ruminant feed due to the low risk of acidosis.

The comparatively high levels of soluble and insoluble non-starch polysaccharides can influence the utilization of other nutrients in lupins and hence they must be used strategically if livestock production responses are to be optimized. In addition, comparatively low levels of the sulphur amino acids, methionine and cystine, influence the way lupins are used in livestock diets.

Lupins also store well, are easy to handle and are readily accepted by most stock. They are largely free of anti-nutritional factors such as trypsin inhibitors, lectins and saponins. In monogastrics the complex carbohydrate profile is the main constraint to use as it influences the net energy yield, and has been shown to affect the utilisation of other nutrients in the diet.

Although lupins are relatively high in protein, the biological value of the protein is limited by a relatively low in methionine and lysine. However, low levels of methionine and lysine are of little or no consequence to ruminants where the protein is mostly ruminant fermented. In pig and poultry diets these shortfalls can be made up from other proteins or synthetic amino acids.

Nutrient and energy values of the three lupin species (whole seed)

  L. angustifolius L. albus L. luteus
Crude fibre (%) 15.4 10.6 16.3
ADF (%) 19.7 14.6 24.9
NDF (%) 23.5 17.6 34.3
Calcium (%) 0.2 0.2 0.2
Phosphorus (%) 0.3 0.36 0.43
Alkaloid (%) 0.02 0.02 0.04
DE Pigs (MJ/kg) 14.6 16.9 16.4
ME Cattle (MJ/kg) 12 11.9 n/a
ME Sheep (MJ/kg) 12.2 12.5 n/a
AME Poultry (MJ/kg) 10.4 13.2 11.4

Source : Petterson et al, (1997) The Chemical Composition and Nutritive Value of Australian Pulses. Grains Research and Development Corporation, Canberra Australia

Removing the hull improves the value of lupins for monogastrics and fish, but inclusion rates of kernel meal into pig and poultry diets is limited by the level of non-starch polysaccharide.

The hull fraction from many commercial operations still has a protein content of 8% and can be pelleted for ruminant rations.

When compared with soybean meal, lupins have significant advantages:

  • A concentrated source of both protein and energy;
  • A lack of any major anti-nutritional factors (eg trypsin inhibitors);
  • No requirement for heat treatment; and
  • Desirable handling and storing attributes due to the robust seed coat.

Ruminants (Dairy, Beef, Sheep)

Australian sweet lupins (L. angustifolius) are routinely used as a supplement for dairy production in Australian, Europe and Japan. A significant proportion of the lupins imported by Japan also goes into beef production. The high energy and protein content together with the low acidosis risk due to the lack of starch and the low levels of anti-nutritional factors (trypsin inhibitor, tannins, lignin and lectins) makes high levels of lupin inclusion attractive. . The energy value for L. angustifolius is similar to cereals. Lupins are generally fed to ruminants whole, cracked or flaked.

By far the greatest form of lupin utilization in Australia is as a whole-grain feed for grazing sheep, to supplement low grade roughage diets. Responses vary depending on the quality of the forage on offer. The efficiency of utilisation of lupin grain varies from liveweight change of 0.8g/g of lupin dry matter for low quality roughages where sheep are losing weight rapidly, to liveweight gains of 0.2-0.3g lupin dry matter where roughage quality is adequate to support maintenance or slow growth. Lupin supplements generally result in higher intake, liveweight gain and wool growth than comparable supplements of cereals. This is primarily due to their protein contribution to rumen microbial protein synthesis, but also possibly due to rumen bypass protein effects, higher metabolizable energy content and less disturbance to fibre digestion which often accompanies the fermentation of cereal starch.

Reference:Valentine, S.C. & Bartsch, B.D. (1989) Milk production by dairy cows fed hammermilled lupin grain, hammermilled oaten grain or whole oaten grain as supplements to pasture. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 29: 309-313.

Favourable results have been reported from substituting soybean meal for L. albus meal for lactating Holstein dairy cows in Minnesota.

Dixon R.M. and Hosking, B.J. (1992). Nutritional value of grain legumes for ruminants. Nutrition Research Reviews 5: 19-43


Pigs and poultry do not have a requirement for crude protein per se but, rather for specific levels of individual amino acids. Despite this, crude protein level is often used as a guide to the amino acid content of lupins, rather than direct amino acid analysis. Hence, variation in crude protein content can affect the efficiency of use of lupins in pig and poultry diets.


Based on existing data and commercial experience, the maximum inclusion levels of L. angustifolius recommended for pig diets are:

  • Starter weaner (5-25 kg liveweight) 10-15%
  • Grower diet (25-60 kg liveweight) 20-25%
  • Finisher diet (60 kg to slaughter) 30-35%
  • Dry sown diet (gestation) 20%
  • Lactating sow diet 20%

Experimental work has shown that broiler chickens can tolerate up to 25% of low alkaloid lupin-seed meal without adversely affecting growth, provided there are adequate supplements of lysine and methionine. However in practice, broiler chicken diets inclusion of either L. angustifolius or L. albus should not exceed 10%. This is due to the incidence of wet-sticky droppings that may be promoted by high levels of lupin non-starch polysaccharides.


Poultry rations normally contain less than 10 per cent lupins, frequently kernels, because of the problem of "sticky" or "wet" droppings. While aesthetically undesirable and a potential health risk to the birds, through respiratory stress from ammonia and coccidiosis, this is not known to affect feed conversion. There is some evidence that the addition of commercial enzymes to poultry feed will improve the energy utilisation and reduce the incidence of "sticky" droppings.


Brenes, A. Marquat, R.R, Guenter, W. and Rotter B.A. (1993) Effect of enzyme supplementation on the nutritional value of raw, autoclaved and dehulled lupins (Lupinus albus) in chicken diets. Poultry Science 72. 2281-2293

Edwards A.C. and van Barneveld R.J. Livestock and Fish In “Lupins as Crop Plants: Biology, Production and Utilization” Edited by J.S. Gladstones, C Atkins, and J. Hamblin, 1998. CAB International

Aquaculture Feeds

The demand for alternative protein resources to fishmeal in aquaculture diets has stimulated substantial interest in the potential of lupins. Some major international feed companies are routinely using lupin kernel meal in their formulations. The salmonid and prawn feed markets have been identified as two key prospective markets for value added lupin products. These two markets are technically the most advanced aquaculture feed markets in the world. Together, they constitute about 3.6 million tonnes of feed each year. Although significant volume exists in other markets such as tilapia and catfish species, the feed requirements are for low protein and low energy and therefore the cost sensitivity of ingredient choice is high. Conversely, salmonid and prawn feeds are high in protein and have little formulation flexibility. This allows increased marketability of such products and an increase in the value per unit protein or energy (Glencross 2004).

Both L. angustifolius and L. albus varieties in their whole-seed and kernel meal forms have been fed to silver perch (Bidyanua bidyanus). Clear nutritional advantages of dehulling lupins were observed irrespective of lupin species evaluated. Improvements were seen in the digestibility of dry matter, nitrogen and energy on dehulling.

Digestibility (%) of whole lupin and kernel meals in the silver perch (Bidyanus didyanus)

  L. angustifolius L. albus
Nutrient Whole seed Kernel Whole seed Kernel
Dry matter 50.3 67.6 64.7 77.8
Nitrogen 96.6 100.3 96.1 101.4
Energy 59.4 74 72.7 85.2
Phosphorus 71.8 80.1 77.5 73.8

Source: Glencross B.D (Ed.) 2004. Seeding a Future for Grains in Aquaculture Feeds- Part II. Proceedings of a Workshop, 26th May 2004 Fremantle, (WA). pp92.

Glencross (2003) compared digestible value of the kernel meals of all three species of lupin (L. angustifolius, L. albus, L. luteus) with soybean meal and wheat gluten. These diets where fed to rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and red seabream (Pagrus auratus). The digestibility of protein of all lupin kernel meals is generally better than that of the soybean meal. The digestibility of dietary energy from each of the lupin kernel meals is typically less than that obtained from soybean, however the higher gross energy content of most lupin kernel meals means that a similar overall level of digestible dietary energy to soybean meal is obtained. The key finding was the excellent overall nutritional attributes of yellow lupin kernel meal.

Digestible nutrient contents (g/kg DM) for rainbow trout and red seabream of lupin kernel meals compared to solvent-extracted soybean meal and wheat gluten.

Nutrient White lupin (L. albus) Australian Sweet lupin (L. angustifolius) Yellow lupin (L. luteus) Soybean (G. max) Wheat gluten
Nutrient White lupin (L. albus) Australian Sweet lupin (L. angustifolius) Yellow lupin (L. luteus) Soybean (G. max) Wheat gluten
Rainbow trout
Organic matter 571 561 533 597 877
Energy (Mj/kg DM) 14.8 12.9 13.6 14.4 20.5
Phosphorus 5.0 4.0 5.0 3.2 0.6
Protein 402 383 473 437 846
Protein 402 383 473 437 846
Red seabream
Organic matter 509 481 584 679 928
Energy (Mj/kg DM) 14.1 12.9 14.6 15.6 21.7
Phosphorus 5.0 4.0 4.5 5.7 0.7
Protein 455 407 485 484 868


Glencross, B. , Hawkins, W. , Curnow, J. (2003) Evaluation of the variability in chemical composition and digestibility of different lupin (Lupinus angustifolius) kernel meals when fed to rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Aquaculture Nutrition 9: 305-315.

Glencross B.D (Ed.) 2005. Seeding a Future for Grains in Aquaculture Feeds- Part III. Proceedings of a Workshop, 14th April 2005 Fremantle, (WA). Pp92.

PDF Resources

The following links are a series of workshop and conference reports about the use of grains, and lupins in particular, in the aquaculture feed industry. The project detailed in the reports is lead by Dr Brett Glencross from the Western Australian Department of Fisheries.

Assessment of the nutritional variability of lupins as an aquaculture feed ingredient

Seeding a future for grains in aquaculture feeds 3rd workshop 2005

Seeding a future for grains in aquaculture feeds 2nd workshop 2004

Seeding a future for grains in aquaculture feeds 1st workshop 2003

Lupins and grains in Aquaculture feeds

Food Ingredients

All lupin food ingredients are:

  • GM Free
  • Gluten free
  • Close to Zero GI (Glycemeic Index)

Lupin Hull Fibre

The lupin hull is made up predominantly of cellulose but with a significant proportion of other complex polysaccharides and has been used as a source of fibre in food.

In Chile, hulls of Albus lupin are toasted finely ground and sold as a dietary fibre supplement VITAFIBER®

In Australia, ground hulls of Australian Sweet Lupin (L. angustifolius) have been included in bread at inclusion rates of around 4% for many years.


Lupin Kernel Flour

In Europe and Australia lupin kernels are milled to produce an attractive pale yellow flour for niche market use. In both cases these flours which are used at low inclusion rates to enhance wheat flour, for use in a wide range of quality baked goods and confectionery.

In France the company Lup’ingredients produces a range of flours from the European White Lupin (L. albus). In The Netherlands LI Frank produce kernel flours from the Australian Sweet Lupin (L. angustifolius).

Smaller quantities of Kernel flour of L. albus is also milled by Avelup in Chile and of L. angustifolius in Australia.

Dough functionality

Lupin kernel flour increases water retention and fat binding and can be a partial egg and butter replacement. It can improve the shelf-life of bread and improve the colour of biscuits, muffins and pasta.

Health implications

Nutritionally, the combination of high protein, high fibre and and health-wise very low glycaemic index are seen as a positive.

Human dietary research at Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia) found that replacing 10% wheat flour with lupin flour in bread resulted in significantly lower blood glucose and insulin levels after consumption. These results have been confirmed in another lupin bread trial conducted at Royal Perth Hospital (Western Australia).


Hall, R. S., et al. (2005) Australian sweet lupin flour addition reduced the glycaemic index of a white bread breakfast without affecting palatability in healthy human volunteers. Asia Pacific J. Clinical Nutrition 14: 91-97.

Lupin Kernel Protein Isolates

Protein isolates can be made from lupins using similar methods to those used to make soybean protein isolates. Pilot scale isolates have been made by Fraunhofer-Gescellschaft.


Lupin protein is made up of a small proportion of albumins and a larger proportion of globulins (or conglutins) which are structurally similar to the soybean glycinins.

Protein F (or foaming protein) consists of albumins and a 2S protein (Conglutin ?), and makes up about 6% of the total protein fraction.

Protein E (or emulsifying protein) is a combination of a 7S protein (Conglutin ß) and an 11S protein (Conglutin a), which together make up about 80% of the protein fraction.


Protein E is a pale isolate with excellent emulsifying properties and high water and fat binding properties. It has been shown to perform well in a range of dairy substitute and meat substitute products.

Protein F has exceptional foaming properties which is stable across a wide pH range and can be used as an egg white replacer in glazes and frozen deserts.

Ultrafiltration and diafiltration can be used to modify lupin protein rheological properties.

Health implications

There are a number of potential health benefits from consuming lupin protein:

  • Gamma conglutin (from lupin) has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol in blood by 30% in rats (through up-regulating LDL receptors in the liver).
  • The very high arginine content in lupin has been postulated to have a beneficial effect on endothelial function through the nitric oxide pathway.

Lupin Kernel Fibre Isolate

Kernel fibre remains after protein has been solubilised at high pH. It is predominantly a complex polysaccharide with a rhamnogalacturonic acid backbone with predominantly galactose and arabinose side chains. Some protein material can be strongly bound to the fibre fraction.

It can be further purified to a range of hydrocolloid fractions including pectic galactan.



It is virtually colourless, odourless and tasteless and can hold up to eight times its own weight of water. It can be used as a fat replacer in a range of products without losing functionality or taste (typically at 10-20% fat replacement in biscuits, sausages, burgers etc.).

Health implications

Researchers at Deakin University (Melbourne, Australia) have conducted dietary intervention studies with lupin kernel fibre and have found indicators for:

  • Appetite suppression: Sausages with 20% fat replacement with lupin fibre was more satiating than either a full fat sausage or a sausage with 20% fat replaced with inulin.

Archer, BJ et al. (2004). Effect of fat replacement by inulin or lupin-kernel fibre on sausage patty acceptability, post-meal perceptions of satiety and food intake in men. British Journal Nutrition 91: 591-599.

  • Cholesterol lowering: In an experiment comparing 2 diets with the same total fat content - lupin fibre reduced LDL cholesterol from 3.5 to 3.1 mmol / L.

Hall, R. S., Johnson, S. K., Baxter, A. L. and Ball, M. J. (2005). Lupin kernel fibre-enriched foods beneficially modify serum lipids in men. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 59: 325-33.

  • Bowel health: Lupin fibre acted as a faecal bulking agent, it reduced stool transit time by 17% and lowered the pH of the colon from 6.6 to 6.3. The fibre is considered a beneficial pre-biotic, increasing the number of Bifidobacterium in the gut tenfold.


Sweet lupin seed is a concentrated source of protein and energy containing a low level of anti-nutritional substances and having excellent handling and storage properties.

Australian Lupin Grain Traders

A list of grain traders of lupins in Australia is provided by Pulse Australia:

Feed Ingredient Manufacturers


Soon Soon Group, Penang Malaysia: soonsoonoil.com.my


Milne Feeds, Welshpool WA:

Weston Milling: www.gwf.com.au

Food Ingredient Manufacturers



Lupin Foods Australia: www.lupinfoods.com.au

Irwin Valley Pty Ltd. (LUMILL Creamex®) http://www.mingenew-irwin.asn.au

Mirfak www.mirfak.com.au

Specialty Ingredients, Fremantle WA


L.I. Frank, The Netherlands

Lup’ingredients, France

Lupina GmbH, Visbek, Germany

Bioland Handelsgesellschaft Baden, Nurtingen Germany

CFM Multikost Lebensmittel GmbH, Germany

Firma Schnitzer GmbH & Co KG, Offenburg, Germany

South America