Submitted to: Industrial Crops and Products
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2002
Publication Date: 12/1/2002
Citation: Morris, J.B., Old legume genetic resources with a new future. Industrial crops and products, 2002. Symposium on value added agriculture abs: No. 5
Interpretive Summary: The use of legumes as a source of added-value products has exploded over the last 5 years. Guar and velvetbean have been grown for cover cropping or the food additive industry in the past. Currently, guar has been shown to contain nutraceuticals while velvetbean contains pharmaceutical phytochemicals. The tremendous current value and future potential of guar and velvetbean as sources of nutraceuticals and medicines can be seen on the shelves of pharmacies, health food stores, and grocery stores. Plants as a source for nutraceuticals and pharmaceutical products is a multi- million dollar industry. Thus, it is no wonder that in the last 5 years considerable attention has focused on the production of new, alternative crops as a source of high-value by-products for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical use.
Technical Abstract: The legume family Fabaceae has several taxa with nutraceutical and pharmaceutical use. Two of which include guar (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) and velvetbean (Mucuna pruriens). The guar collection consists of approximately 400 accessions and the velvetbean collection consists of about 33 accessions stored at -18 degrees Celsius at the USDA, ARS, Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit (PGRCU) in Griffin, GA. Both guar and velvetbean grow well in Georgia. Guar is currently produced on a very small scale in Texas with most of the crop seed devoted to industrial applications and the food additive industry. Guar is presently used as a nutraceutical to provide dietary fiber and as a food source for diabetics. Velvetbean is grown on a small scale in southern Georgia and Alabama for its soil enhancing capabilities. Velvetbean seed contain levodopa (L dopa) which is used to treat Parkinson's patients. In addition, velvetbean may have nematicidal activity also.