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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Small Grain and Food Crops Quality Research » Research » Research Project #445351

Research Project: Pulse Crop Health Initiative

Location: Small Grain and Food Crops Quality Research

Project Number: 3060-21650-002-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jun 15, 2023
End Date: Jun 14, 2028

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

Cooperative studies 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 that impact key health endpoints (e.g., glycemic control, cardiovascular risk factors, obesity/overweight, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, or microbiome composition); (2) Determine the optimal daily/weekly amount of pulse intake as it pertains to overall diet quality, nutrition, and/or health outcomes (e.g., via modeling, nutrition data analysis, or human studies); (3) Assess National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data or other major sources of nutrition data in the U.S. to compare overall diet quality, nutrition outcomes, or health outcomes for high versus low pulse-containing diets; (4) Determine the nutrition and/or health benefits of pulse consumption at various life stages; (5) Determine consumption patterns of pulse foods and pulse ingredients among U.S. consumers and the barriers and facilitators to pulse consumption; (6) Determine the role of dietary fiber, oligosaccharides, and other prebiotics from pulse crops in altering the composition and promoting beneficial attributes of a healthy gut microbiome; (7) Identify biomarkers of intake for various pulses; (8) Determine whether/how processing changes the health benefits or energy value of pulse foods; (9) Optimize processing conditions and formulations to improve the acceptability, flavor, nutritional value, or health attributes of pulse-based foods; (10) Develop high-throughput functionality measures that can be used by breeders and industry to assess functional characteristics of novel germplasm or current varieties; (11) Evaluate functional properties of protein and other pulse fractions/ingredients and optimize their use in food applications; (12) Determine the variability in chemical/nutritional composition of pulse crops and determine factors (agronomic, genetic or environmental) that influence that variation; (13) Determine factors (genetic or environmental) affecting the functional properties of pulse foods as ingredients; (14) Develop pulse varieties with improved nutritional or functional attributes, combined with enhanced agronomic traits; (15) 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); (16) Determine the carbon footprint and assess the value of pulse cropping systems on soil carbon sequestration and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; (17) 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; (18) Develop agronomic strategies to improve soil health through the incorporation of pulses in a cropping system rotation; (19) Assess the impacts of incorporating pulses in U.S. diets at varying levels on various sustainability outcomes (e.g., soil health, greenhouse gas emissions, land use area, water use).