Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Grain legume crops sustainable, nutritious

Date:
June 9, 2014
Source:
American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA)
Summary:
The mineral micronutrient content of four types of grain legumes has been examined in a new study. Grain legumes are often overlooked as valuable sources of micronutrients, such as zinc and potassium. Diets that do not provide adequate amounts of micronutrients lead to a variety of diseases that affect most parts of the human body. One researcher notes, "Iron deficiency is the most common, followed by zinc, carotenoids, and folate."

A new variety of pea, CDC Saffron. Peas contain micronutrients essential for good nutrition.
Credit: Tom Warkentin, University of Saskatchewan

Popular diets across the world typically focus on the right balance of essential components like protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These items are called macronutrients, and we consume them in relatively large quantities. However, micronutrients often receive less attention. Micronutrients are chemicals, including vitamins and minerals, that our bodies require in very small quantities. Common mineral micronutrients include zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, copper, and selenium.

A recent study published in Crop Science examined the mineral micronutrient content of crops grown in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. The study was conducted jointly by the University of Saskatchewan and North Dakota State University. The researchers examined four types of grain legumes (pulses) -- field peas, lentils, chickpeas, and common bean. Although these legumes have up to twice the micronutrients as cereals, according to Tom Warkentin, professor of plant breeding at the University of Saskatchewan, they are not cultivated on the same scale as cereals in most countries. Therefore, grain legume crops are often overlooked as potentially valuable sources of micronutrients.

Diets that do not provide adequate amounts of micronutrients lead to a variety of diseases that affect most parts of the human body. Warkentin says, "Iron deficiency is the most common, followed by zinc, carotenoids, and folate."

The study found that genetic characteristics (genotype) as well as environmental conditions -- such as soil properties and local climate -- can affect the micronutrient content of grain legumes. The researchers measured micronutrient levels by a technique known as atomic absorption spectrometry. According to Warkentin, "In the case of selenium, we found that environmental conditions are more important than genotype."

Warkentin notes, "A 100-gram (3 -ounce) serving of any one of the four grain legume crops studied provided a substantial portion of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and nickel." The serving size was based on the dry weight of the grain legumes. He adds that lentils were the best source of iron, while chickpeas and common bean were higher in magnesium. Calcium was the only key micronutrient that these crops lacked.

Interestingly, most of the crops studied were high in selenium, with chickpeas and lentils being the best sources. Selenium is an important but often overlooked micronutrient. Selenium deficiency can lead to diseases that weaken heart muscles and cause breakdown of cartilage. It can also give rise to hypothyroidism, since selenium is a required chemical in the production of thyroid hormone.

Warkentin concludes, "Increased production and consumption of grain legume crops should be encouraged by agriculturalists and dietitians around the world." Since grain legume crops don't require nitrogen-based fertilizers, which are derived from fossil fuels, they are very sustainable. Warkentin also says, "Grain legume crops are highly nutritious. In addition to the micronutrients described in this research, they also contain 20-25% protein, 45-50% slowly digestible starch, soluble and insoluble fiber, and are low in fat."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Heather Ray, Kirstin Bett, Bunyamin Tar’an, Albert Vandenberg, Dil Thavarajah, Thomas Warkentin. Mineral Micronutrient Content of Cultivars of Field Pea, Chickpea, Common Bean, and Lentil Grown in Saskatchewan, Canada. Crop Science, 2014; 0 (0): 0 DOI: 10.2135/cropsci2013.08.0568

Cite This Page:

American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA). "Grain legume crops sustainable, nutritious." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609205016.htm>.
American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA). (2014, June 9). Grain legume crops sustainable, nutritious. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609205016.htm
American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA). "Grain legume crops sustainable, nutritious." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609205016.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins