Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) is among the pulse’s species of greatest economic and social importance. This legume is strategic for the food security and health of millions of people in the world. Cowpea is rich in nutraceuticals compounds such as dietary fibre, antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols, whose health benefits and use in the food industry have been extensively studied. However, research on the identification of functional proteins from cowpea, their metabolic functions and applications in the food, health and other industries are still scarce. In this chapter, a critical review of the most recent and important research about functional cowpea proteins. We objective was identify and systematize information about the nature and functions of these proteins, as well as their use and applications in food, health and other industries. Cowpea seed proteins are highly versatile and offer direct health benefits such as reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer. The proteins of cowpea are also used in material science for the development of new technologies such as development of special fabrics for protection against ultraviolet rays and microencapsulation of ascorbic acid.
Part of the book: Grain and Seed Proteins Functionality