Excessive consumption of Lathyrus sativus leads to crippling, irreversible paralysis of both lower limbs, mainly in males. This is attributed to the presence of a non-protein amino acid, β-N-oxalyl-L-2,3-diaminopropionic acid or β-N-oxalylamino-L-alanine. Using a thin layer chromatography method developed in our laboratory, adulteration of chickpea and red gram with L sativus in pressure-cooked batters could be detected at levels of 100 and 200 g kg−1 respectively. When processed as a curried liquid dal, L sativus could be detected at 200 g kg−1 in chickpea and 100 g kg−1 in red gram. Processing into fried bhajiyas resulted in a detection limit of 200 g kg−1 in both red gram and chickpea.
© 2003 Society of Chemical Industry