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Pulses: sustainable ‘superfoods’ for the future

Beans crop (c) James Hutton Institute
"The fascinating possibilities offered by pulses are the subject of close study by scientists at the James Hutton Institute, from their use in health foods for humans and animals to novel uses”

Pulses, the dry, edible seeds of plants in the legume family (which include chickpeas, lentils, dry peas and beans) are incredibly sustainable superfoods that can make a unique contribution to global food security due to their distinctive properties.

Together with partners across Europe and the world, the James Hutton Institute is at the forefront of research into the exciting possibilities of pulses to feed the world in a sustainable way.

Pulses have a low carbon footprint, because they require no nitrogen fertiliser, which can result in less greenhouse gas emissions and less water pollution from crop production.

They enrich soil health, leaving nutrients behind and supporting healthy and diverse farm systems. These crops are also water-savvy: they can grow and yield on relatively little water, which makes them ideal for drought-prone areas. Plus, they make great bread and beer too!

Dr Pete Iannetta, from the James Hutton Institute’s Ecological Sciences group and coordinator of the project TRansition paths to sUstainable legume-based systems in Europe (TRUE) research project, said: “Pulses such as faba beans are high in starch as well as protein, essential minerals like iron, zinc and magnesium, and are gluten-free. Their consumption helps promote low glycemic index, offsetting diabetes, and can safeguard good cardiovascular function.

“They foster sustainable food production, as they require no nitrogen-based fertiliser. Pulses can access (or ‘fix’) atmospheric nitrogen into biologically useful forms, an ability they derive from a unique symbiosis with a certain type of soil bacteria found in their roots.

“Some of the fascinating possibilities offered by pulses are the subject of close study by scientists at the James Hutton Institute, from their use in health foods for humans and animals to novel uses.”

The Global Pulse Confederation has designated February 10th 2018 as the third Global Pulse Day, a global event to celebrate pulses and continue the important gains made with 2016’s International Year of Pulses.

The first Global Pulse Day took place in 2016 and included 141 events spanning 36 countries across the world. For more information visit http://pulses.org/global-pulse-day or join the conversation via Twitter using #LovePulses.

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

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Printed from /news/pulses-sustainable-%E2%80%98superfoods%E2%80%99-future on 21/05/19 08:35:36 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.