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ARS Home » Midwest Area » East Lansing, Michigan » Sugarbeet and Bean Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #393960

Research Project: Utilizing Genetic Diversity within Phaseolus vulgaris to Develop Dry Beans with Enhanced Functional Properties

Location: Sugarbeet and Bean Research

Title: Dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) as a vital component of sustainable agriculture and food security – A review

item UEBERSAX, MARK - Michigan State University
item Cichy, Karen
item GOMEZ, FRANCISCO - Michigan State University
item Porch, Timothy - Tim
item HEITHOLT, JAMES - University Of Wyoming
item OSORNO, JUAN - North Dakota State University
item KAMFWA, KELVIN - University Of Zambia
item SNAPP, SIEG - Michigan State University
item BALES, SCOTT - Michigan State University

Submitted to: Legume Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/30/2022
Publication Date: 6/9/2022
Citation: Uebersax, M., Cichy, K.A., Gomez, F., Porch, T.G., Heitholt, J., Osorno, J., Kamfwa, K., Snapp, S., Bales, S. 2022. Dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) as a vital component of sustainable agriculture and food security – A review. Legume Science. Article e155.

Interpretive Summary: This review article presents an overview of diverse aspects of the common beans that directly contribute to its overall sustainability as a component of food cropping systems. Sustainable innovation through genetic/breeding approaches, optimized agronomic practices, and enhanced nutrition and food security are highlighted. The inherent production aspects of dry beans contribute significantly to global sustainability in both high intensity cultivation and low impact subsistence agricultural systems. Dry beans store much better and easier than many other crops and exhibit relatively lower postharvest losses. Increased emphasis on plant-based foods in a healthy diet has emerged as a significant consumer preference trend in recent years. The high levels of protein, fiber, bioactive compounds, and energy with limited fat in dry beans are particularly noteworthy and decisively contribute to improved dietary status. Further, dry beans are a means to improve numerous global food challenges, such as feeding growing world population, efficient land use, improved crop yields, and decreased postharvest losses. Expanded production and consumption of dry beans will have positive impacts on sustainable agriculture and numerous factors influencing climate change. These multi-dimensional aspects of legumes, including dry beans, contribute materially to a healthy planet and healthy people in a variety of ways.

Technical Abstract: The importance of legumes in sustainable cropping systems has been studied extensively. Common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) are a rich world resource of biodiversity with two centers of domestication (Andes and Central America) and over 10 major market classes cultivated globally. Among legumes, common beans are recognized as a nutrient-dense, healthy food source due to their high protein, dietary fiber, and mineral content. Common beans are also a rich source of resistant and slowly digestible starch, eliciting a lower glycemic response. Some bioactive compounds present in beans have been reported to mitigate cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, hyper-cholesterolemia and cancer. Dry bean production systems provide unique advantages that support sustainability, including a low carbon footprint for cropping systems. The short growth cycle, which facilitates crop diversification and cover crop integration, is notable among the benefits of dry bean production. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) is an important aspect of common beans contributing to production sustainability. Other attributes that promote environmentally friendly production include modest fertilizer requirements and the trend towards direct harvest in dry beans. The sustainability implications of diversifying crop rotation using beans result in reduced requirements for environmentally unfriendly inputs and buffering of crop productivity under variable weather conditions. This review article covers dry beans’ role in agricultural sustainability (biodiversity, SNF, rotational diversity, harvest management), as a sustainable source of nutrition and food security. Further discussion includes measures to enhance dry beans sustainability through breeding and crop management practices by addressing biotic and abiotic stresses.