Online information about the
many varieties of beans helps breeders improve the harvest's quality and
nutritional content. Click the image for more information about
Better-Bean Information Available Online from
Carey September 6, 2006
The National Agricultural Library (NAL) has added the digitally reformatted
annual reports and conference proceedings of the Bean Improvement Cooperative
(BIC) to the information available
online through the NAL Digital
Repository. This addition includes significant information about the
improvement of bean varieties, production and processing.
The library is part of the Agricultural Research Service, the
U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief
in-house scientific research agency.
The NAL Digital Repository (NALDR) provides convenient public access
to the full text of selected publications which have been digitized. The
repository is the initial component of what NAL plans as an integrated digital
repository for agricultural literature incorporating an array of electronic
Addition of the bean improvement information to the NALDR is one
result of an 11-year collaboration between NAL and BIC.
Located in Beltsville, Md., NAL is the world's foremost agricultural
library, housing one of the largest and most accessible collections of
information about agriculture and its related sciences.
The BIC is a voluntary organization established to exchange
information and materials for the improvement of bean production worldwide. The
full set of BIC annual reports and conference proceedings added to the NALDR
dates to Volume 1, published in 1957. Information contained in these reports is
not readily available elsewhere.
Dry beans are an economical source of protein, fiber, iron and other
essential nutrients, yet are low in total fat, so they can be an important
component of a healthy diet. The
2005 Dietary Guidelines
for Americans and the USDA MyPyramid
Food Guidance System recommend that adults eat about three cups of beans or
legumes each week. Having dozens of bean varieties available makes it easy for
consumers to include tasty bean dishes for a healthier diet. U.S. consumer
choices include red, pink, pinto, navy, white, cranberry, yellow-eyed, limas
and black beans.