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Keywords:

  • chickpea;
  • leafy vegetables;
  • kabuli;
  • desi;
  • minerals;
  • human nutrition;
  • calcium oxalate;
  • food composition

Abstract

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) is generally consumed as a seed food, being a good source of protein and other essential human nutrients. However, young chickpea leaves are also eaten as a cooked vegetable green in certain parts of the world and could be a useful source of dietary nutrients, especially in malnourished populations. Because little information is available on the mineral content of this food, we characterised leaf mineral concentrations in 19 diverse accessions of chickpea. Both desi and kabuli chickpea types were studied. All plants were greenhouse-grown and were fertilised daily with a complete mineral solution. Young, fully expanded leaves (fourth through seventh nodes from the apex) were harvested at both early and late vegetative stages. The leaves were dried, ashed and analysed for mineral concentrations. Macronutrient mineral (Ca, Mg, K, P) concentrations varied from 1.3-fold to 1.8-fold and micronutrient mineral (Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, B, Ni) concentrations varied from 1.5-fold to 2.4-fold across all accessions. No major differences were observed in leaf mineral concentrations between the kabuli and desi types; mineral concentrations were generally lower in leaves collected at the later harvest date. Microscopic analyses demonstrated that all accessions contained crystal inclusions, suggestive of calcium oxalate crystals. Overall, chickpea leaves were found to be a good source of several minerals required by humans, and the levels of most of these minerals significantly exceeded those previously reported for spinach and cabbage. Published in 2003 by Society of Chemical Industry[This is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the U.S.A.]