Introduction. Chestnut represents one of the most important crops
for the Portuguese economy. The most common consumption mode of
these fruits is roasted or boiled. In this context, the major aim
of our study was to evaluate the amino acid contents and the mineral
composition of raw and cooked chestnuts. Materials and methods.
Amino acids were determined by HPLC and minerals were determined
by molecular absorption spectrophotometry, by atomic absorption
spectrophotometry or by flame emission photometry. The most important
Portuguese cultivars were evaluated: Aveleira, Boaventura, Côta,
Judia, Lada, Lamela, Longal Padrela, Longal Soutos da Lapa, Negra
and Martaínha. Results and discussion. The cooking method significantly
affected the total amino acid composition with contents in roasted
samples 13% and 12 % higher than in boiled and raw chestnuts, respectively.
Roasted chestnuts presented higher alanine, arginine, isoleucine,
leucine, phenylalanine, threonine, tyrosine and valine contents
than either raw or boiled chestnuts. Moreover, serine presented
the highest content in raw or roasted chestnut kernels. Regarding the
mineral composition, potassium (K) was the predominant macronutrient in
the chestnuts, whereas phosphorus (P), calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg)
were found in low contents. Cooking significantly affected the mineral composition,
except for iron (Fe), copper (Cu), and manganese (Mn) contents.
In general, calcium decreased upon cooking. K, Ca, Mg and B decreased with
boiling. The present data confirm that cooked chestnuts are a good source
of amino acids and minerals, both affected by boiling and roasting, which
have been associated with positive health benefits.