Tue, 13 Apr 2010

An Australian bean called lupin can potentially be used as a cheaper substitute for soybean in the production of tempeh, but more research is needed to produce yeast suitable for it, according to a visiting Australian minister.

“Presently, lupin can be used up to 30 percent in making tempeh. More work should be done to facilitate hundred percent lupin content in tempeh. This work is still being done by scientists who are trying to get an inoculum that can process a hundred percent lupin into tempeh,” said Western Australian Minister for Food and Agriculture Terry Reidman at the launching of lupin tempeh on Friday.

The launching was also attended by a delegation of the Western Australian government, executives of the Jakarta chapter of the Indonesian Tofu and Tempeh Cooperative (KOPTI), representatives from the Australia Trade Office (Austrade) and lupin suppliers from Western Australia.

Reidman said tempeh could be made with a hundred percent lupin. “We have just started a small beginning, with 30 percent lupin content as the first step,” he added.

Leonardus BS Kardono, director of the research centre for chemistry of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), said his institute had developed a new specific yeast for lupin fermentation.

“We have selected many kinds of yeast before finally finding one yeast which is very good for lupin. We can use our inoculum for tempeh and other fermented food from lupin,” he said.

The recent trials proved that combining 25 percent lupin with 75 percent soybeans was successful. So, lupin had the potential to be used to provide a higher percentage of tempeh content in the future. Tempeh production costs could be reduced by using more lupin, he said. The price of lupin was 20 percent cheaper than for American soybeans.

Kardono mentioned Indonesia spent approximately US$500 million importing around 1.2 million tons of soybeans per annum mostly from the US. The high price of American soybeans caused problems for tempeh producers, who then used corn or cassava mixed with soybean to reduce costs.

“It would be better for us using lupin as raw material for tempeh rather than using cassava or corn. It’s healthier,” said the first secretary of KOPTI, Central Jakarta, Suyoto.

In the last six months, suppliers from Western Australia facilitated by Austrade have been working with KOPTI Central Jakarta in trying to use lupin to make tempeh.

He hoped LIPI and Australian researchers, particularly from Curtin University, could find appropriate yeast that could be used in large-scale lupin tempeh production.

David Fienberg, chairman of Australasian Lupin Processing, one of Western Australia’s lupin suppliers, said Indonesia was a good potential market for lupin as the primary raw material for tempeh.

“There’s a need for Indonesian people to improve access to the health benefits in tempeh,” he said, mentioning that the lupin grain is high in protein and dietary fiber but low in fat, making it a very healthy raw material for food.