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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Grain Legume Genetics Physiology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #320936

Research Project: Genetic Improvement of Cool Season Food Legumes

Location: Grain Legume Genetics Physiology Research

Title: A global survey of low-molecular weight carbohydrates in lentils

Author
item Johnson, Casey - Mayo Clinic
item Thavarajah, Dil - Clemson University
item Thavarajah, Pushparajah - Clemson University
item Mcgee, Rebecca
item Fenlason, Abby - North Dakota State University
item Kumar, Shiv - International Center For Agricultural Research In The Dry Areas (ICARDA)
item Combs, Gerald

Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/12/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.) is an ancient pulse crop, originating in the Mediterranean region and enduring as a staple food in Africa, Europe, South Asia, and Latin America. Lentil seeds contain a wide array of low-molecular weight carbohydrates (LMWC), such as mono- and di-saccharides, raffinose-family oligosaccharides (RFO), fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), and sugar alcohols. They are synthesized during seed development and are then used during seed germination or stored as reserves for survival during periods of environmental stress. In addition to their roles in plant physiology, several LMWC, including FOS and RFO, have been extensively studied with respect to interactions with microbes that reside in the human gut and potential health benefits. Because LMWC concentrations in lentil can vary with growing environment, likely as a means of stress management and survival, it is conceivable that lentils within a certain environment would have a similar pattern of carbohydrate expression relative to other environments. Recognizing such patterns would be useful in breeding lentils for new and existing environments. Consequently, the objectives of this study were to (1) determine the concentrations of LMWC in lentils grown in six locations, and (2) identify any genetic and environmental effects on those LMWC concentrations. We found that average LMWC concentrations varied widely across locations and significant plant and plant x environment effects contributed to the variability. This information will be useful in breeding lentils for novel environments and for consumer preference.

Technical Abstract: Lentils contain a range of low-molecular weight carbohydrates (LMWC); however, those have not been well characterized. The objectives of this study were to (1) determine the concentrations of LMWC in lentils grown in six locations, and (2) identify any genetic and environmental effects on those LMWC concentrations. We analyzed 335 samples from 10 locations throughout 6 countries using high-performance liquid chromatography for sugar alcohols and various mono-, di-, and oligo-saccharides, including raffinose-family oligosaccharides (RFO) and fructooligosaccharides (FOS). Mean LMWC concentrations from each country varied widely: sorbitol, 1250'1824 mg/100 g; mannitol, 57'132 mg/100 g; galactinol, 46'89 mg/100 g; sucrose, 1750'2355 mg/100 g; raffinose + stachyose, 3314'4802 mg/100 g; verbascose, 1907'2453 mg/100 g; nystose, 8'450 mg/100 g; and kestose, from not detected to 244 mg/100 g. The concentrations of many of these LMWC varied with average temperature and precipitation of the region/country of origin. Significant genotype and genotype × location effects contributed to the variability in the concentrations of several LMWC, a feature that could prove useful in breeding lentils for novel agro-ecological environments and for consumer preference. The range of LMWC in lentil may contribute to its survival as a crop and its organoleptic and nutritional properties as a whole food.