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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Bioproducts from Agricultural Feedstocks

Location: Bioproduct Chemistry and Engineering Research

Title: Structure and location of macronutrients in ancient and alternative crops (abstract)

Authors
item Wood, Delilah
item Miller, S Shea -
item Williams, Tina
item Glenn, Gregory
item Orts, William

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2013
Publication Date: September 29, 2013
Citation: Wood, D.F., Miller, S., Williams, T.G., Glenn, G.M., Orts, W.J. 2013. Structure and location of macronutrients in ancient and alternative crops (abstract). Supplement to Cereal Foods World. 58(4):A1..

Technical Abstract: Structure, histochemistry and composition of mature seeds of several ancient or alternative crops were studied by light and electron microscopies to localize specific macronutrients including protein, starch, non-starch carbohydrates and lipid. Botanically, these seeds fall into different classifications, some of them are cereals (channel millet, eel grass, perennial grains), others are pseudo-cereals (amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat) which are typically dicotyledonous plants that are consumed like a cereal and yet others (desert ironwood, mesquite, Illinois bundle flower) are legumes. Many ancient crops have small seeds due to limited selective breeding. The benefit of a small seed is that all of the essential enzymes and nutrients necessary for plant growth are packaged into a small space. Thus, the seeds are more nutrient-dense and contain densely-packed proteins and lipids with little corresponding starch compared to their commercial, large-seeded counterparts. The nutrient dense and starch-poor seeds make ancient seeds excellent choices for human health. Another benefit of these ancient crops is that some of them are tolerant to agronomic conditions which are less than optimal for the cultivation of commercial crops. Here, we note the distribution and relative proportions of macronutrients in various seeds that, together, we term alternative or ancient crops.

Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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