Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Agriculture - Food Science and Nutrition


Food Science and Nutrition


College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Gour Choudhury

Advisor College

College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences


Quinoa is coated with a thin layer of saponins, glycosylated triterpenoids, that produce a bitter flavor when consumed. The average saponin content in commercial varietals from Bolivia average around 2.7% saponins and organoleptic testing shows the threshold for noticing a bitter flavor is below 0.12% (Medina-Meza et al., 2016). Current industrial processing methods use a combination of abrasion and turbulent water flow to remove saponin. This study will address the following research question: How will grain-to-grain and grain-to-surface abrasion affect the processing time to remove saponin from quinoa? In particular, can effective saponin removal be achieved in less than 10 minutes without washing with water?

Three different laboratory scale systems for generating grain-to-grain abrasion alone and in combination with grain-to-surface abrasion were constructed. Preliminary studies using mass balance and visual observation found the tubular system removed 4.45% of the quinoa mass in saponin containing fractions compared to the conical system (1.33%) and fluidized bed (0.62%).

After preliminary studies, a saponin estimation method was adapted and the conditions of the tubular system were determined. A randomized experiment was carried out in triplicate at three levels of time (5, 10, and 15 minutes) and mass (200, 300, and 400 grams). The effect of surface roughness in the tubular system was also evaluated. The samples were collected and saponin content in each sample was quantified using the adapted method. The saponin levels were compared to commercially processed quinoa in the market.

The processing conditions of 15 minutes at an input mass of 300 grams yielded the lowest saponin level of 0.19%. The four processing conditions of (10 minutes/200 grams, 10 minutes/400 grams, 15 minutes/200 grams and 15 minutes/300 grams) were statistically different (p

The tubular system showed promise for reducing process time and saponin content in commercially processed quinoa without washing. However, further experimentation is needed for industrial implementation. The system would provide the industry with a sustainable process with better saponin removal capacity.