The Carob pod can be split into two fractions: pulp and seed. Carob pulp varies in properties depending on the harvesting time, cultivar and farming practises. However a basic analysis of the seed would be as follows (Puhan and Wielinga 1996):
The protein content is fairly low on digestibility due to it being bound to the fibre and tannin content of the pulp. The pulp can also be dried and ground to a fine powder where it is used as a cocoa substitute. Carob chocolate is a milder flavour than dark chocolate, more akin to milk chocolate but is lower in calories and free from the caffeine and theobromine that is found in cocoa. Pulp can also be extracted to form a sweet syrup that is popular as a drink in some countries. Carob pulp has also been used in fermentation processes to produce both proteins and alcohol.
The endosperm contains the polysaccharide known as Locust bean gum (LBG).
The seed coating contains a high level of antioxidants which could explain the empirical observation that technical grade LBG with its higher level of seed coating is more retort stable in applications like petfood than the much cleaner food grade LBG (Batista et al 1996). The presence of excessive skin is often related to a high acid insoluble matter content. The antioxidant properties of the seed coat also offer the potential as a new food ingredient.
The germ contains about 52% protein and the protein level in LBG is used as a quality indicator reflecting the efficiency of germ removal from the endosperm. The germ also contains about 8% lipids and 27% carbohydrate. High levels of the yellow germ in LBG powder cause the solutions to degrade faster due to polysaccharide degrading enzymes present.
Additional information on Carob & LBG structure, production and properties can be accessed using the arrows in the Further Reading box below.