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Fabales “bean or pea family”. Family, Fabaceae Old name, Leguminosae 3 subfamilies. Mimosaceae. Fabaceae. Caesalpiniaceae. What is a legume?. Ca . 18,000 known species Dicots Distinctive flowers and pods Seeds rich in oil (up to ca. 50%) and protein (e.g., 15-50%)

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Fabales “bean or pea family”

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fabales bean or pea family
Fabales“bean or pea family”
  • Family, Fabaceae
  • Old name, Leguminosae
  • 3 subfamilies




what is a legume
What is a legume?
  • Ca. 18,000 known species
  • Dicots
  • Distinctive flowers and pods
    • Seeds rich in oil (up to ca. 50%) and protein (e.g., 15-50%)
    • Flowers are bilaterally symmetrical
legume examples




kidney & pinto beans

green beans

fava beans

lima beans

chick-peas (Garbanzo beans)

black-eyed peas




red clover

white clover

sweet clovers



Legume examples



locust (honey & black)


  • Leguminous trees are important agroforestry species.
  • left, Albizzia alba maintains its green growth through the dry season in Burkina faso, providing fodder for livestock; the residues in the foreground are of millet which is grown during the rainy season.
  • right: Leucaena leucocephala in the Philippines: these trees, less than 2 years old, will be cut to provide firewood.
legumes the nitrogen specialists
Legumes: The Nitrogen Specialists
  • Free nitrogen gas (N2) + lots of energy yields ammonia (NH3)
  • Catalyzed by the enzyme, nitrogenase, produced by bacteria in root nodules
  • NH3 attached to amino acids, to yield high-N amino acids, proteins, & plants
nitrogen fixation
Nitrogen fixation

Nodules on white lupins

  • N-fixing bacteria (e.g., Rhizobium species) infect roots of legumes & induce formation of specialized nodules
  • Process relieves legumes of dependence on available forms of soil nitrogen
    • Ammonium, nitrate
  • Correlates with ‘high protein’
    • 17-31%

Nodules on white clover growing in a test tube. Nodules are about 1 mm wide. The red color is due to leghaemoglobin.

nitrogen fertilizer
Nitrogen fertilizer
  • Energy intensive, from industrial process
  • With increasing energy costs, movement to grow more legumes

"Yard Long Beans" are growing on raised beds next to paddy rice in a traditional Sorjun farming system in Indonesia

  • “poor man’s meat”
  • cooked to inactivate trypsin inhibitor
  • Far East
    • Liquid: drinks, sauces
    • Powder
    • Curd, cheese
    • Immature plants (Sprouts)
  • West
    • Oil
    • Meal
  • Non-food uses
    • Ink
    • Cosmetics
    • Fabric
    • Biodiesel fuel
soy sauce
Soy sauce
  • Fermenting soybeans in brine
soy milk
Soy milk
  • raw soy beans soaked overnight then drained.
  • beans pulverized as boiling water poured over them.
  • resultant mash will have the consistency of mashed potatoes.
  • mash is ladled into boiling water, like dumplings, and allowed to boil gently for about 10 minutes.
    • CRUCIAL STEP: certain enzyme in the bean is broken down during this time. If the enzyme is not destroyed, the Soy protein will not be humanly digestible.
  • resulting slurry is filtered. The liquid is Soy Milk, and the pulp is called Okara.
    • Okara is good for mixing with flour to make bread, feeding to thepigs, or fertilizer.
tofu soy curd
Tofu: soy curd
  • Boil soymilk for 5 to 10 minutes. Cool down to about 170 to 180 degree F.
  • Prepare coagulant
    • Calcium sulfate or magnesium chloride
  • Pour the prepared coagulant solution slowly into the soymilk while gently stirring the soymilk.
  • Transfer coagulated dispersion into a mold lined with cheesecloth.
  • Store in cold water, change soaking water daily.
tempeh fermented soybean cake
Tempeh: Fermented soybean cake
  • Favorite food and staple source of protein in Indonesia for 100s of years.
  • Firm texture and a nutty mushroom flavor.
  • De-hulled soybeans are soaked overnight, cooked for about 30 min.
  • Fermented with tempeh starter.
    • Rhizopus mold binds the soybeans into a compact white cake
    • produces natural antibiotic agents
  • 36 to 48 hours incubation at about 30°C.
miso mixture of soybeans salt and rice fermented by fungi
Household art in Asian countries, comparable to the American practice of canning foods.

In Japan, different types of miso are prepared and evaluated much the way Westerners judge fine wines and cheeses.

Addition of different ingredients and variations in length of aging produce. different types of miso that vary greatly in flavor, texture, color and aroma.

Misomixture of soybeans, salt and rice, fermented by fungi
soy phytoestrogens
Soy phytoestrogens
  • Lower cholesterol levels, especially LDL
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduce risk of breast and prostate cancer
  • Reduce symptoms of menopause & risks of osteoporosis
common bean
Common bean
  • Phaseolus vulgaris - kidney, navy, pinto, black, green, string, wax, snap, among others; 2nd most important after soybeans.
  • Origin - Central and South America about 3000 y.b.p. Historically grown with corn, wild plants are vines and corn was used as a prop for vines. Nitrogen fixation helped corn.
peanut arachis hypogaea
Peanut (Arachis hypogaea)
  • Originated in Peru; > 15,000 varieties
  • Flowers above ground, after pollination the flower stalk pushes the fruit into the soil, fruit matures underground into a pod. Seed has two large cotyledons.
  • Seed contains 45%-50% oil, 25%-35% protein.
  • 50% of U.S. crop used for peanut butter.
  • Promoted by George Washington Carver to reinvigorate southern agriculture after the Civil war.
george washington carver
George Washington Carver

-Agricultural chemist

-College professor

-Revolutionized Southern Agriculture

-crop rotation methods

-agricultural products

-Philanthropist & Role model



lima beans
Lima beans
  • Phaseolus lunatus - close relative of common bean, used mainly in dry form.
  • Origin in Central America 7-10,000 y.b.p.
  • Some cultivars contain cyanogenic compounds ----> cyanide.
vicia faba
Vicia faba
  • annual grain legume originating in the Near East
  • seed types:
    • Large: broad bean or Windsor bean
    • Medium: horse bean
    • Small: faba bean or tick bean
  • grain for animal feed
  • forage crop or as a green manure
  • “Faba nuts”
maize and beans
Maize and beans

Java, Indonesia

  • Traditional staples in Central and South America
  • Nutritionally complementary
    • Beans rich in amino acids deficient in corn and vitamin niacin
    • Corn rich in amino acids deficient in beans
  • Ecologically complementary
    • Poly-cropping
    • Crop rotations
    • Well adapted to low inputs

Burkina Faso

essential amino acids









Does not reflect ‘importance’

Not manufactured by body

Must be consumed in diet

Essential amino acids

Red: low in grain, high in beans

Green: high in grain, low in beans

grazing management



Sweet clover

Bird’s foot trefoil

Most plant species sown for pastures belong to one of 2 plant groups:



Advantages of mixtures

soil enrichment

balanced diet for livestock

Grazing Management
Cover crop
  • Suppresses weed growth
  • Reduces erosion

Green manure

  • Plowed under instead of harvested
  • Enhance soil fertility

Above: Red clover growing amongst corn stubble, in early June. The clover was under-sown into the corn crop the previous year (below).

wildlife habitat
Wildlife habitat
  • Provide essential cover for different life- stages of wildlife.
  • Partridge pea and lespedeza, are an important food source for upland birds.
  • Lupine is the primary food for the Karner Blue butterflies in the Oak Openings region, and both are endangered.