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Biofortification of mungbean (Vigna radiata) as a whole food to enhance human health

Authors


Correspondence to: Ramakrishnan M Nair, AVRDC South Asia, ICRISAT Campus, 502 324 Hyderabad, AP, India. E-mail: ramakrishnan.nair@worldveg.org

Abstract

Mungbean (Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilczek var. radiata) is one of the most important pulse crops grown in South, East and Southeast Asia. It provides significant amounts of protein (240 g kg−1) and carbohydrate (630 g kg−1) and a range of micronutrients in diets. Mungbean protein and carbohydrate are easily digestible and create less flatulence than proteins derived from other legumes. In addition, mungbean is lower in phytic acid (72% of total phosphorus content) than pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan L. Millsp.), soybean (Glycine max L.) and cereals; phytic acid is commonly found in cereal and legume crops and has a negative impact on iron and zinc bioavailability in plant-based diets. Owing to its palatable taste and nutritional quality, mungbean has been used as an iron-rich whole food source for baby food. The wide genetic variability of mineral concentrations (e.g. 0.03–0.06 g Fe kg−1, 0.02–0.04 g Zn kg−1) in mungbean indicates possibilities to improve its micronutrient content through biofortification. Therefore biofortification of existing mungbean varieties has great potential for enhancing the nutritional quality of diets in South and Southeast Asia, where protein and micronutrient malnutrition are among the highest in the world. This review paper discusses the importance of mungbean in agricultural production and traditional diets and the potential of enhancing the nutritional quality of mungbean through breeding and other means, including agronomic practices. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry

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