Skip to main content
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

2021 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. Studies were carried out in 37 cooperative projects that focused on (1) human health improvement & chronic disease prevention, (2) functionality traits of pulse ingredients for use in food products, (3) breeding pulse crops for nutritional quality and food security, or (4) sustainability of pulse production systems. Research covered all target pulse crops, including peas, lentils, chickpeas, dry beans, and cowpeas. Research plans-of-work were requested for the Fiscal Year 2021 funding cycle in April 2021. Over $7.5 million in requests from 89 potential projects were received, with approximately $4 million available for distribution to selected plans-of-work. Proposals were reviewed and ranked by one of three scientific review panels focused on human health, breeding and sustainability, or food technology. The Initiative Steering Committee met and awarded funds to 43 projects, spanning the research priority areas of Breeding (10 projects), Sustainability (9 projects), Food Technology (12 projects), and Human Health (12 projects).


Review Publications
Cawthray, G.R., Denton, M.D., Grusak, M.A., Shane, M.W., Veneklaas, E.J., Lambers, H. 2021. No evidence of regulation in root-mediated iron reduction in two Strategy I cluster-rooted Banksia species (Proteaceae). Plant and Soil.
Narayanan, N., Beyene, G., Chauhan, R., Grusak, M.A., Taylor, N. 2020. Stacking disease resistance and mineral biofortification in cassava varieties to enhance yields and consumer health. Plant Biotechnology Journal.
Gharibzahedi, S.M.T., Smith, B. 2020. Legume proteins are smart carriers to encapsulate hydrophilic and hydrophobic bioactive compounds and probiotic bacteria: A review. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 20:1250-1279.
Kim, T., Riaz, M.N., Awika, J., Teferra, T.F. 2021. The effect of cooling and rehydration methods in high moisture meat analogs with pulse proteins-peas, lentils, and faba beans. Journal of Food Science. 86:1322-1334.
Shen, Y., Li, Y. 2021. Acylation modification and/or guar gum conjugation enhanced functional properties of pea protein isolate. Food Hydrocolloids. 117:106686.
Taghvaei, M., Smith, B. 2020. Development and optimization of a reversed-phase HPLC method to separate pulse proteins. Journal of Food Analytical Methods. 13:1482-1491.
Winham, D.M., Davitt, E.D., Heer, M.M., Shelley, M.C. 2020. Pulse knowledge, attitudes, practices, and cooking experience of Midwestern US university students. Nutrients. 12:3499.