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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sugarbeet and Potato Research » Research » Research Project #435001

Research Project: Pulse Crop Health Initiative

Location: Sugarbeet and Potato Research

2020 Annual Report

Coordinate the implementation of the pulse health initiative for expanded pulse crops research in the areas of health and nutrition, functionality, sustainability, and global food security. Research should be coordinated with interested ARS, state, and industry cooperators, and administered through non-assisted cooperative agreements. Planning workshops and annual meetings involving interested parties will be organized throughout the funding period.

Research will be conducted cooperatively to address the following research areas: Human Health and Chronic Disease Prevention; Functionality Traits and Food Security; and Sustainability of Pulse Production Systems. Targeted projects will focus on dry bean, dry pea, chickpea, or lentil research (or a combination of pulse crops) in the following priority areas: (1) Determine the role of pulse food consumption in a healthy diet with an emphasis on the biological mechanisms and impact on key health endpoints (e.g., glycemic control, cardiovascular risk factors, obesity/overweight, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, or microbiome composition); (2) Conduct well-designed and adequately controlled studies in humans that provide definitive data regarding the nutritional/health benefits of pulses as a component of a healthy diet; (3) Determine dietary consumption patterns of pulse foods and pulse food ingredients among U.S. consumers and the barriers and facilitators to pulse consumption; (4) Determine the role of dietary fiber, oligosaccharides, and other plant prebiotics from pulse crops in altering the composition and promoting beneficial attributes of a healthy gut microbiome; (5) Identify biomarkers of intake for various pulses; (6) Determine whether/how processing changes the health benefits or energy value of pulse foods consumed as part of a healthy diet; (7) Optimize processing conditions and formulations to improve the acceptability, flavor, nutritional value, or health attributes of foods made with pulses; (8) Develop high-throughput functionality measures that can be used by breeders and industry to assess functional characteristics of novel germplasm or current varieties; (9) Evaluate functional properties of protein and other pulse fractions/ingredients and optimize their use in food applications; (10) Determine the variability in chemical/nutritional composition of pulse crops and determine factors (agronomic, genetic or environmental) that influence that variation; (11) Determine factors (genetic or environmental) affecting the functional properties of pulse foods as ingredients in different food applications; (12) Develop pulse varieties with improved nutritional or functional attributes, combined with enhanced agronomic traits, and disease and pest resistance; (13) Assess the water footprint and demonstrate the value of improved water use efficiency in pulse-small grain cropping systems (e.g., field studies; life-cycle analyses); (14) Assess the carbon footprint and demonstrate the value of pulse cropping systems on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; (15) Develop improved pulse varieties that fix more nitrogen and identify enhanced plant-rhizobia interactions that yield superior nitrogen fixing capacity and leave greater residual nitrogen in soil; (16) Develop agronomic strategies to improve soil health through the incorporation of pulses in a cropping system rotation; (17) Assess the impact of incorporating pulses and expanding their use in the U.S. diet on sustainability outcomes.

Progress Report
This report documents progress for cooperative research performed as part of the Pulse Crop Health Initiative and involves researchers at several U.S. universities and USDA-ARS locations, in cooperation with USDA-ARS in Fargo, North Dakota. MP3: More protein, more peas, more profit. Replicated field trials of 30 yellow pea cultivars and a genetically diverse population of 482 yellow pea lines were harvested in 2019 and analyzed for seed protein concentration. One high protein pea line was selected for whole genome sequencing. Genotype-by-sequencing was completed on all 482 pea lines. Development of efficient, genotype-independent gene-editing systems for common bean and chickpea. We have confirmed that we can achieve Agrobacterium-mediated stable transformation using the meristem transformation approach in a pinto bean cultivar. We produced transgene-positive Eclipse common bean, and Sierra chickpea plants, but they did not produce transgenic progeny. Our initial gene target to assay editing in common bean will be the P gene, which controls seed coat color. Enhancing the nutritional and functional traits of dry bean. To obtain metabolite fingerprints for a large collection of advanced breeding lines from the major market classes of dry beans, a selection of lines from the pinto, black, and navy dry bean market classes have been ground and methanol extracts were isolated. Samples have been characterized by reflectance near infra-red analysis, followed by high-resolution accurate mass/tandem mass spectrometry to assess candidate chemical profiles. Improving the nutritional value of chickpeas. Approximately 500 seventh generation breeding lines were produced in the greenhouse, derived from crosses made to improve seed concentrations of zinc and protein. Advanced kabuli chickpea breeding lines and check cultivars were evaluated in the field in 2019 at four locations in Washington state. Correlations were determined between nutritional traits and important agronomic traits including yield and seed size. Improved short season cowpeas and development of unmanned aerial system to advance pulse breeding. A variety trial comprising 16 selected lines of cowpea was conducted at College Station, Texas, at three planting dates, May-July 2019. Yield and various agronomic characteristics were evaluated. A total of 26 different types of crosses involving selected parents were made to generate new breeding populations. Increasing nitrogen fixation potential in pulses. Ten varieties of pea and lentil were seeded into cereal stubble in a randomized complete block design at two Montana plots in 2019. Grains were collected, but due to the temporary shutdown of the University of California Davis Isotope Lab, nitrogen fixation has not yet been measured. Sustainable field pea cropping systems for the great plains. Biomass, seed yield, and yield components were estimated for winter and spring pea varieties at four locations in Kansas and for soybeans at two of these locations. Plant and soil samples were collected for analysis of nitrogen accumulation and fixation, profile soil nitrogen, and baseline soil health indicators. Sustainability and health impact assessment of U.S. pulses. Production of four types of pulses were modeled using an open source life-cycle analysis software program. On-farm processes such as land preparation, planting, application of fertilizers and other chemicals, and harvesting were included. Post-farmgate processes included processing of pulses, retail sale, cooking and consumption at consumer stage, and the associated transportation. Using native rhizobia to improve salt-tolerance in field pea. We screened 24 soils from different biomes (native grassland, forest, high steppe) for nodulation potential and we observed nodulation in most of these soils. We identified 90 native rhizobia colonies and are now screening colonies on nitrogen-free media with increasing salinity. Optimizing nodulation in chickpea for enhanced nitrogen fixation. Rhizobial strains previously isolated from soil and chickpea plants collected from farmer fields were screened in greenhouse assays. Studies with un-inoculated plants, un-inoculated plants fertilized weekly with ammonium nitrate, and plants inoculated with commercial inoculant strains were established. Plants were harvested 6 weeks post inoculation to count nodules and to measure fresh and dry weights. Field experiments to incorporate pulse crops in cropping systems and assess soil health and water use efficiency. To determine soil health and physiology of pulses grown in rotation and intercropped with barley, we established field plantings in Aberdeen, Idaho. To determine simultaneous carbon assimilation and seasonal carbon allocation to seeds, roots, and stems, a dual labeling system has been designed for the 13CO2 and 15N2 labeling. Flavor, nutrition and functional properties of pea protein. Two different methods for pea protein extraction were optimized to obtain pea protein isolates (PPI) of high purity, with yields over 60%. To assess aroma present in pea flour and PPI, two methodologies were tested. We found a higher number of aroma compounds can be extracted with the solvent assisted flavor evaporation method. Dual processing of pulses to reduce gas production and increase fiber fermentation. To assess the effectiveness of food processing on reducing gas-producing oligosaccharides in pulses, acid treatment and germination were performed. To determine characteristics of the microbiota that are consistent with low gas and high butyrate production, we compared germinated samples with unprocessed beans using six microbial mixtures. Optimizing pulse protein functionality. A new revered-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) method was developed for a fast analysis of pulse crop proteins and successfully tested for yellow pea, lentils, chickpea, and great northern beans. A fraction collection procedure to obtain separated proteins from HPLC analysis was successfully developed. The two-dimensional screening of pulses is 90% complete. Tailoring processing strategies to produce chickpea proteins and prebiotic oligosaccharides. We evaluated two extraction approaches, the aqueous extraction process (AEP) and the enzyme-assisted aqueous extraction process (EAEP) to produce chickpea concentrates with increased extractability and target functionality. The use of enzymes significantly increased protein, oil, and carbohydrate extractability. Higher solubility of EAEP skim proteins at acidic pH values suggests chickpea proteins could be used as ingredients for product formulations involving acidic pH (i.e., beverage industry). Impact of storage on functionality and nutritional and phytochemical compositions of pulses. Pea and chickpea samples were obtained and sub-divided into units necessary for storage studies. Fifty pound samples of pea were placed in poly-lined bags in a storage room with minimal environmental control to mimic a warehouse, or samples were stored in galvanized steel bins to model storage in an outdoor environment (ODE). Pulse resistant starch: interplay between processing, the microbiome and health. We recruited and completed initial screening for 15 out of the 20 needed volunteers for the in vitro fecal fermentation study. We have done pilot runs of the collection and aliquoting procedures, which served to refine our methods. We completed the full protocol, sample collection and aliquoting of samples for two of the volunteers, which then allowed pilot experiments of the in vitro fermentation. Mechanisms of dry bean mediated anti-obesogenic activity. To determine how fat deposition is partitioned in control mice fed isocaloric amounts of bean versus control diet, mice were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups over a period of three months, using body weight adjusted to tibia length as an endpoint. To assess whether bean consumption affects accumulation of lipid in adipose tissue, an 84-day paired feeding study was completed in B6 male mice consuming a high fat diet plus or minus common bean. Comparative analysis of pulses for human health traits. To determine how energy balance and lipid metabolism are impacted by low and high dietary fiber cultivars of pulses, body composition and adipocyte morphometrics of mice were studied, as well as caloric uptake and the fraction of ingested energy that is excreted in the feces. Understanding the pulse-gut relationship in systemic inflammation and insulin sensitivity. A clinical trial was started in January 2020 after obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval and establishing all trial related protocols. However, the clinical trial was put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, all relevant laboratory protocols were established and biological samples were collected from five human subjects for baseline data. Gut microbiota impacts of pulses on inflammation in overweight/obese humans. An 8-week trial with two doses of lentils (300 and 600 g/week) versus control (0 g/week) was completed and information from that trial was incorporated into this project. Changes were made to increase the daily dose of lentil intake from 120 to 140 g/day and the meal preparation plan was modified accordingly. IRB approval for human participants research was obtained; however, all human subject research was suspended in March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Hidden nutrition: understanding the encapsulation dynamics of the cotyledon cell. The glycemic response of black bean pastas made with different milling methods was less than that of the white bread control. Whole boiled beans elicited little change in blood glucose in contrast to the control bread and the pastas. Black bean pastas are unlikely to raise blood glucose long after a meal, which is a positive health effect for reducing chronic disease risk.


Review Publications
Kenar, J.A., Felker, F.C., Singh, M., Byars, J.A., Berhow, M.A., Bowman, M.J., Moser, J.K. 2020. Comparison of composition and physical properties of soluble and insoluble navy bean flour components after jet-cooking, soaking, and cooking. LWT - Food Science and Technology. 130. Article 109765.
Vandemark, G.J., Thavarajah, S., Siva, N., Thavarajah, D. 2020. Genotype and environment effects on prebiotic carbohydrate concentrations in kabuli chickpea cultivars and breeding lines grown in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Frontiers in Plant Science. 11:112.
McGinley, J., Fitzgerald, V., Neil, E., Omerigic, H., Heuberger, A., Weir, T., McGee, R.J., Vandemark, G.J. 2020. Pulse crop effects on gut microbial populations, intestinal function, and adiposity in a mouse model of dietary induced obesity. Nutrients. 12(3). Article 593.
Hooper, S., Glahn, R.P., Cichy, K.A. 2019. Single varietal dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) pastas: Nutritional profile and consumer acceptability. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition.
Vasconcelos, M.W., Grusak, M.A., Pinto, E., Gomes, A., Ferreira, H., Balazs, B., Centofanti, T., Ntatsi, G., Savvas, D., Karkanis, A., Williams, M., Vandenberg, A., Toma, L., Shrestha, S., Akaichi, F., Barrios, C., Gruber, S., James, E.K., Maluk, M., Karley, A., Iannetta, P. 2020. The biology of legumes and their agronomic, economic and social impact. In: Hasanuzzaman, M., Araújo, S., Gill, S.S., editors. The Plant Family Fabaceae: Biology and Physiological Responses to Environmental Stresses. Singapore: Springer. p. 3-25.
Wiesinger, J.A., Cichy, K.A., Hooper, S., Hart, J.J., Glahn, R.P. 2020. Processing white or yellow dry beans (phaseolus vulgaris L.) into a heat treated flour enhances the iron bioavailability of bean-based pastas. Journal of Functional Foods. 71:104018.