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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Cool Season Food Legume

Authors
item McPhee, Kevin
item Muehlbauer, Frederick

Submitted to: Journal of Crop Production
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: May 6, 2001
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Cool season food legumes, including pea, lentil, chickpea, grass pea, faba bean and lupin, have served as a nutritious food source for humans and animals alike since domestication. Seed quality attributes such as physical appearance and internal composition are important to consumers. The food legumes contain high concentrations of starch and protein and are excellent tsources of fiber, and some vitamins and minerals. Despite their nutritiona value they also contain certain antinutritional compounds which reduce palatability and can cause death if consumed in large quantities. Selection though breeding has aimed at reducing these antinutritional components; however, little is known about their genetic control. Improved understanding of the genetic control of seed composition will aid in development of improved cultivars.

Technical Abstract: Cool season food legumes including pea, lentil, chickpea, faba bean, grass pea and lupin, are highly nutritious and have been consumed since domestication. They are consumed as mature, dry seed in soups and other prepared dishes as well as immature and raw. Seeds contain 25-53% starch and 15-39 % protein and other minor components such as, 1-10% lipid, 1-15% fiber and approximately 3% ash. In addition to their nutritional value, several anti-nutritional compounds are present which cause adverse reactions from mild discomfort to death if consumed as a regular part of the diet and in large enough quantity. Genetic control over quality attributes is poorly understood and has been the subject of investigation only since the mid 20th century. Vicine/convicine and tannin concentrations in faba bean are controlled by one and two genes, respectively. Genetic improvement of nutritional composition of cool season food legumes has been nslow, but with greater understanding of the genetic control significant improvement can be achieved.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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