Sri Lankan professor’s research tackles world’s health problems

Sri Lankan professor, Vijay Jayasena, from the School of Public Health at Curtin University, Australia, has been leading a team of international researchers since 2004 to find a dietary solution to the world’s obesity, type 2 diabetes and malnutrition problems.

The secret to the food scientists’ research success is the humble lupin: a low cost grain legume, grown in various parts of the world, mainly for animal feed. Classed as a ‘super food’, lupin flour has a high protein content (40 per cent) that is ideal for reducing malnutrition; ahigh dietary fibre content (28 per cent); and a low glycaemic index (GI). This gives it value for fighting obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Professor Jayasena said that the legume increases satiety which inhibits excess calorie intake. He also said independent clinical trials have shown that lupin can help reduce the incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes. “Lupin also has a cholesterol-lowering effect, and so reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. It contains bio-active compounds, such as anti-oxidants, and prebiotics that promote beneficial bacteria within the digestive system, and may prevent colon disease,” he said.

“The benefits of lupin for developing countries are that it can be grown in marginal conditions, is a low-cost crop, and is environmentally friendly.” Sri Lanka has serious health issues with both obesity and malnutrition. It is estimated that 25 per cent of Sri Lankans are overweight and 30 percent of children under the age of five are undernourished.

“Prevalence of diabetes in Sri Lanka is increasing at an alarming rate and more than 10 percent (more than two million) of the Sri Lankan population is suffering from diabetes,” Professor Jayasena explained. Professor Jayasena conducts his research projects in collaboration with a number of leading Asian universities and research organisations, including the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Indonesia), KMUTT (Thailand) and the University of Mumbai (India).

In collaboration with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Professor Jayasena has developed a low cost, healthier, lupin-based tempefor the Indonesian market. The lupin-based temple is a popular fermented food product.

FREE PUBLIC SEMINAR BY Prof Vijay Jayasena, of Curtin University
Sunday, 11thDecember 2011 at 3.00 pm, Cinnamon Grand Hotel, 77 Galle Road, Colombo 3.
Curtin University invites you to a free public seminar to learn about the ground-breaking research being undertaken by Curtin Professor, Vijay Jayasena: one of Sri Lanka’s and Western Australia’s leading academics and researchers in the field of Food Science and Technology.

Contact: Tel: +94 112437437; Enquiries:
Email: ;
Article published with the assistance from:
Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), Colombo-Sri Lanka.
Contact: David Samuel, Business Development Manager, Email:

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