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LEGUMES. Bean family, pea family, pulse family Family Leguminosae Now Fabaceae Cicer arietinum , Pisum sativum , Arachis hypogea , Medicago sativa , Glycine max Widely distributed family of trees and ornamental plants.

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  • Bean family, pea family, pulse family
  • Family Leguminosae
  • Now Fabaceae
  • Cicer arietinum, Pisum sativum, Arachis hypogea, Medicago sativa, Glycine max
  • Widely distributed family of trees and ornamental plants

Members of family Fabaceae share pretty similar flower and fruit structure

  • Five petaled flower is irregular, bilateral symmetry, butterfly or boat shaped
  • Fruit is pod, or legume with one rows of seeds
  • Seed contain two prominent cotyledons
  • Leaves mostly pinnately compound

Seeds important food worldwide

  • Source of oil and proteins
  • Close to animal meat for their higher protein
  • Poor man’s meat
  • Higher protein content due to root nodules

containing nitrogen fixing bacteria i.e., Rhizobium


Rhizobium convert free atmospheric nitrogen into from that can be utilized by plants in making of proteins and other nitrogen containing compounds

  • Cultivation of legumes enriches soil due to nitrogen fixing bacteria

Since fertilizers are expensive, farmers alternate nitrogen yielding crops such as soya bean (legumes) with nitrogen demanding crops such as corn

  • Excess nitrogen yielded by beans can be utilized for corn next year
  • Alternating strips of corn and beans
  • Ecologist recommend planting fast-growing leguminous trees to reclaim eroded or barren areas

Formation of root nodules

a) In legumes root hairs curls when in contact with Rhizobium

b) Rhizobium invade the root tissue at the site of curling

c) The plant responds to invasion by forming an infection thread of plasma membrane growing inward from the infected cell of the host

d) Cell divisions in the infected tissue leading to nodule formation

The nodule is in contact with vascular tissues of the host for nutrient exchange

important legume food crops


Variety of shapes like kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, navy beans, green beans, wax beans, butter beans


Protein rich

  • May contain cyanide
  • Pods few cm in length

LIMA BEANS (Phaseolus lunatus)


Pinto Beans

  • Skin looks like pinto horse
  • Beige-colored seeds with brown speckles
  • Popular in U.S and Mexico
  • Rich in starch protein
  • Source of potassium, vitamin

Pinto Beans


Kidney Beans

  • Commonly known
  • as red bean
  • Look like human
  • kidney
  • Popular diet in
  • North America

kidney beans


Soy Beans

  • Creamy yellow colored

beans of moderate size

  • Often imported from


  • U.S is world’s largest

producer of soybeans

Soy Beans

soy milk
Soy Milk
  • Drink derived from soy beans
  • Obtained by grinding of soaked soybeans, mixing with water, straining off the milk, heating it, or blending soy flour with water and heating it
  • Popular in Japan and North America
  • Available as plain or flavored with vanilla, strawberry, almond, coffee, chocolate

Soy milk is interchangeable with cow’s milk

in most recipes

  • May have beany flavor that can be masked by using honey, maple syrup, or deactivated by using hot water
  • Soy milk are ready to drink and may taste like milkshakes

Tofu and soy milk contain isoflavones, which are Phytoestrogens

  • Plants esterogens weaker than humans
  • Lower cholesterol level, and blood pressure

Reduce symptoms of osteoporosis

  • Increase in bone density of lumbar spine observed in women whose daily intake included soy food with 90mg of isoflavones
  • Isoflavones inhibit formation and growth of tumors

Miso -fermented food of Japan prepared from soybeans, salt and rice

  • Soy oil used for cooking purposes, salad oil
  • Average Americans consume 6 gallons of soy oil a year
  • Industries replacing unhealthy fats with saturated fats with soybean oil

Soy oil used for paints, inks, soaps, insecticides, cosmetics

  • Lecithin common food additive is lipid extracted from soybeans
  • Adding to cakes mixes, it stabilizes them

Use of soybeans should increase more in future

beans of the future
Beans of the future
  • Research is discovering new varieties of legumes
  • Phosphocarpus tetragonolobus native to Southeast Asia
  • All parts are edible and highly nutritious
  • Cooked flowers taste like mushrooms
  • Tendrils supporting the vines taste like asparargus

Leaves eaten like spinach

  • Roots eaten like potatoes, but its protein content is much higher
  • Seeds similar to soy beans (37% protein content)
  • Apios americana (groundnut) nitrogen fixing legume native throughout eastern North America
  • Interest in domesticating this plant because 12% to 13% protein content

Yam bean or Mexican turnip (Jicama) targeted for development

  • Source of proteins and carbohydrates
  • Efficient nitrogen-fixing legume
  • Seeds, pods, leaves, stem contain rotenone, a natural insecticide
  • Cultivated for rotenone
  • Roots used to cure fevers, and to treat peeling or itching skin
  • Bean curd or soy cheese
  • Popular food in supermarket
  • Prepared by pureeing soaked soy beans with

water, straining them to extract soy milk, cooking soy milk, adding solidifier to produce curd

  • Like yoghurt, can be eaten uncooked

Tofu high in protein (7.8%)

  • Source of calcium, iron, phosphorus
  • Easy to digest
  • Used as baby food

Green Beans

  • Widely distributed
  • beans
  • French Beans

Green Beans


Beans oldest and common crops

  • Protein contents in range of 17% to 31% and average about 25%
  • Dry seeds and green beans, wax beans edible
  • Warm-season annuals
  • Can tolerate most types of soils and can be grown worldwide

Vicia faba broad bean

Old World species

  • Favism
  • Eating broad beans or

even inhaling the pollen

can cause favism

  • Hemolytic anemia

(lysis of red blood cells)



  • Edible seeds cultivated for centuries
  • United States grows over five hundred thousand tons a year on commercial basis
  • Green peas, split peas, Black eyed peas, chick peas, snow peas
  • High proteins content (21%)

Peas good source of vitamin-A, phosphorus, potassium, iron and calcium

  • Grown during cooler seasons of year
  • Famous pea is garden pea (Pisum sativum)

used by Gregor Mendel for his genetics experiments


Snow Peas

  • Whitish tint of
  • pods
  • Ability to grow
  • in winter and
  • covered with
  • snow

Snow Peas

black eyed peas
Black Eyed Peas
  • Cow peas or
  • China Peas
  • Light colored eye
  • spot
  • High in
  • potassium, iron,
  • Vitamin A
  • Associated with
  • good luck

Black Eyed Peas

  • Groundnuts
  • Originally native to South America
  • Gold and Silver jewelry recently discovered in Peru
  • Archaeologist discovery showed that peanuts played an important role in ancient time

Spanish discovered peanuts in 16th Century in South America and brought them back to Europe

  • Two varieties in U.S are larger-seeded Virginia peanut and smaller-seeded Spanish peanut

With 45-50% oil, and 20-30% protein, peanut is highly nutritious seed

  • In U.S half of peanut crop used to make peanut butter
  • Peanut oil used as cooking, salad dressing, soaps, creams, plastics, and paints
  • George Washington Carver introduced and promoted cultivation of peanut