Bambara groundnut is an underutilized pulse that can make a positive contribution to food and nutritional security at the regional and global level, particularly in tropical developing countries where the crop is currently grown. Improvement of the crop is constrained by limited understanding of variation in its nutritional composition compared with other pulses. We analysed available nutritional data for bambara groundnut in comparison with four related commodity pulses. This included comparison of concentrations of proximate components and detailed composition of carbohydrate, fibre, seed storage protein and amino acids, fatty acid, phytosterols, minerals, and anti-nutritional factors. The levels of starch (up to 53% of seed), the amylose content of its starch (15.7–35.3% of starch), and dietary fibre content (up to 10.3% of seed), make this crop a desirable food for inclusion into diets for management of diabetes and high cholesterol. There is also potential to develop high protein cultivars, as there exists a large variation for crude protein concentration within the species genepool, reported as 9.6–30.7% of seed. With a more comprehensive base of nutritional information, breeding strategies that have proven successful for crops such as chickpea and soybean can be established for bambara groundnut.
Halimi, RA, Barkla, BJ, Mayes, S & King, GJ 2019, 'The potential of the underutilized pulse bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) for nutritional food security', Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, vol. 77, pp. 47-59.
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