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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #357011

Research Project: Bioavailability of Iron, Zinc and Select Phytochemicals for Improved Health

Location: Plant, Soil and Nutrition Research

Title: The fast cooking and enhanced iron bioavailability properties of the manteca yellow bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.)

item Wiesinger, Jason
item Cichy, Karen
item Tako, Elad
item Glahn, Raymond

Submitted to: Nutrients
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/18/2018
Publication Date: 11/1/2018
Citation: Wiesinger, J.A., Cichy, K.A., Tako, E.N., Glahn, R.P. 2018. The fast cooking and enhanced iron bioavailability properties of the manteca yellow bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Nutrients. 10(11):1609.

Interpretive Summary: Beans are an important staple crop providing essential nutrients to hundreds of millions people globally, especially for those in low-resource areas where food options are limited. Long cooking times often leave the ‘nutrition power’ of the dry bean behind in the market place, as modern day consumers are now turning to less nutritious, more convenient foods. Although rich in iron, many of the preferred bean types (red, black, pinto) are also rich in compounds that inhibit the absorption of iron during digestion. USDA-ARS scientists and international bean breeders realized that in order for the nutritional benefits of the bean to continue to reach across the globe, the cooking times of beans must be drastically reduced, and the absorption of iron must be dramatically improved. This study shows how the yellow bean offers a path forward. One particular yellow type, the ‘Manteca’ boils in less than 20 minutes and coincidently, has the highest amount of absorbable iron when compared to other non-yellow beans currently being sold in the markets of Latin America, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to the Manteca, bean breeders now have a genetic blue print to introduce fast cooking properties and improved iron quality into a new generation of yellow beans.

Technical Abstract: The common dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is a nutrient dense food produced globally as a major pulse crop for direct human consumption, and is an important source of protein and micronutrients for hundreds of millions of people across Latin America, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa. Beans require large amounts of heat energy and time to cook, deterring consumers worldwide from purchasing beans. In regions where consumers rely on expensive fuelwood for food preparation, the yellow bean is often marketed as fast cooking. A Yellow Bean Panel (YBP) was assembled to explore the cooking time and health benefits of the five major seed types within the yellow bean market class (Amarillo, Canary, Manteca, Mayocoba, Njano) over two field seasons. This study shows how the Manteca yellow bean possess a fast cooking phenotype, which could serve a genetic resource for introducing fast cooking properties into a new generation of dry beans with cooking times < 20 minutes when pre-soaked and < 80 minutes unsoaked. Nutritional evaluation revealed fast cooking yellow beans have high iron retention (>80%) after boiling. An in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell culture bioassay revealed a strong negative association between cooking time and iron bioavailability in the YBP (r values > -0.73). When either pre-soaked or left unsoaked the highest iron bioavailability scores were measured in the fast cooking Manteca genotypes providing evidence that this yellow market class is worthy of germplasm enhancement through the added benefit of improved iron quality after cooking.