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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Griffin, Georgia » Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #137697


item Morris, John - Brad

Submitted to: Economic Botany
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2004
Publication Date: 7/1/2005
Citation: Morris, J.B., Biofunctional legumes with nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and industrial uses. Economic botany, 2005. Economic botany 57:254-261.

Interpretive Summary: Bio-functional legumes are used as food and forage with potential new value added uses as nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and industrial products. Many nutraceuticals and medicines found in bio-functional legumes have human health benefitting potential, but are not yet used. Most grocery, health food, and pharmacy stores have entire sections devoted to nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products from plants. Plants as a source for human health enhancing nutraceutical and pharmaceutical products is a billion dollar industry. Thus, in the last few years research has focused on the development of new, biofunctional legume crops as a source of high-value by-products for nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and industrial use.

Technical Abstract: Bio-functional legumes are effective nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and industrial crops. These legumes are species ranging from large sub-tropical vines to small herbs found in the sub-tropical and temperate zones. Several common nutraceuticals exist in higher quantities in these legumes than common bean. Monounsaturated fatty acids from winged bean ("Psophocarpus tetragonolobus") seed is likely effective as a mild laxative in humans and is found in a range of twice to sixty-five times more than in common bean. Genistein found in hyacinth bean ("Lablab purpureus") has potential to be chemotherapeutic for head and neck cancer. Lectins from hyacinth bean are toxic to the cowpea pest. "Maruca vitrata". Additional products from bio-functional legumes with recent new use discovery include products such as D-pinitol from siratro ("Macroptilium atropurpureum") with potential antidiabetic effects. Siratro is also a good legume supplement for natural pasture. Bio-functional legumes contain useful natural chemicals to be economical for many commercial applications in the nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and industrial area.