Submitted to: Plant Physiology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2003
Publication Date: 4/1/2003
Citation: Wang T.L., Domoney, C., Hedley, C.L., Casey, R., Grusak, M.A. Can we improve the nutritional quality of legume seeds? Plant Physiology. 2003. v.131. p. 886-891.
Technical Abstract: The FAO statistics for 2001 show that 274 million metric tonnes (Mt) of grain legumes were produced across the World, of which 177 million were soybeans (half of which were produced in the USA) compared with 2 trillion Mt of cereals. Legume seeds are put to a myriad of uses, both nutritional and industrial and in some parts of the developing world they are the principle source of protein for humans. They form a very important part of our diet and that of animals. Compared with meat, our main source of protein, however, legumes are deficient in sulfur-containing amino acids. Legume seeds also are an important source of dietary minerals, with the potential to provide all 15 of the essential minerals required by man. Although several minerals are found in legumes, the concentrations of certain minerals (especially Fe, Zn and Ca) are low, relative to other foods. Some legumes contain compounds detrimental to our diet, so for this reason and those above, it is desirable to improve their quality. In this review, we concentrate on the protein, carbohydrate and mineral content of legume seeds, to discuss recent progress and future potential to improve the nutritional quality of this important food group.