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Mungbean — a rich source of protein

April 16, 2007

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MUNGBEAN originally comes from Southeast Asia and India. It later moved out to the rest of Asia, Africa and America. Today its various products are used in a number of countries of Latin America.

The area under cultivation of the bean in Pakistan is 225.4 hectares and the total annual production is about 130 tons. The area under cultivation in Sindh is 4.8 hectares and the annual production is about 2.3 tons.

The quality of protein obtained from pulses is superior to that of wheat, particularly in such amino acid as lysine, threonine and tryptophan. Since foods of animal origin are relatively rich in sulphur amino acids, inclusion of small amounts of animal protein increases the protein quality of pulse protein.

There are 2,000 varieties of this bean, including yellow, gold and black. Black mungbeans are also called black gram in India and are highly prized.

The bean contains very few oligosaccharides which cause flatulence, and therefore is easily digestible and is suitable for children or those with delicate digestive system. It contains between 19-25 per cent protein, 60 per cent carbohydrate and four per cent fibre. It is also rich in lysine and offer appreciable amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and traces of thiamin, riboflavin and niacin.

When mungbean is sprouted, it adds five times more food value, as well as making it easier to digest because starch is broken down into simple sugars during germination. In addition, protein breaks down into amino acid, and fats into fatty acid during the sprouting process. Bean sprouts are the only source of vitamins C and B12 to be found in pulses. The sprouts should not be allowed to become waterlogged as they rapidly become mouldy. Flour of this bean is not only used as food but also as a soap substitute and serves as a replacement for soybeans in ketchup manufacturing. The starch is also used to make Chinese cellophane noodles.

The beans are said to have a cooling and astringent effect on fever. An infusion is used as a diuretic when treating beriberi. In Malaysia it is prescribed for vertigo. Besides, being used for soups and porridge or as a spicy accompaniment to rice, it is versatile enough to provide a base for sweet making.

Mungbeans are sown at the end of wet season so that it may ripe during the dry period. The leaves and stems are used for making hay and silage. As it grows quickly, several crops per year are possible. The 12 to 24 inch tall bean plants produce clusters of slender, three to four inch long, blackish, fuzzy pods with very small brown seeds.

A good seed bed (as for maize or sorghum) should be prepared. The seed is broadcast or drilled in rows 16 to 35 cm apart, the usual seeding rate being 6 kg/ha drilled and up to 10 kg/ha broadcast. It can also be sod-seeded into existing pastures. Seed is preferably inoculated with the cowpea strain of Rhizobium before sowing. The first grazing can be given about six weeks after planting, before the flowers appear, two grazing are usually obtained. Green manure should be ploughed in when the plant is in full flower.

There are two growing seasons for mungbean in our country-- spring and kharif. The spring crop is sown from 15th February to 15th March, whereas kharif crop is sown during the months of June and July. The optimum seed rate for mungbean is 15–20 kg/ha. Due to short duration the crop does not require much irrigation. For the crop 3-4 irrigations are sufficient. The first irrigation is needed 21 days after sowing and subsequent irrigation after 15 days interval. The recommended fertiliser dose is 25-50-0 NPK kg/ha which can be given as 2.5 bags of DAP per hectare. The spring crop is harvested in May whereas, the kharif crop harvesting continues from October to November to avoid shattering. The spring crop should not be left in the field for longer period.

The bean is drought tolerant. However, irrigation is required during pod filling period. Alluvial to light soils are better than heavy for the crop. Initial seedbed preparation for the bean is similar to that of soybean. Three dry ploughings with gobal are given, the land is levelled with patio or leveller. After soaking dose when land comes in condition two ploughings with cultivator are given. Drilling of seed is done at a distance of 30 cm between rows. The seed should not be placed deeper or shallow. Maintenance of optimum seed depth is necessary which is 6-8 cm. The following mungbean varieties are under cultivation.

* M-3: It is a mutant variety high yielding fair in maturity, better in seed index, short sutured, flowers in 35 days, takes 77 days to maturity and yield potential is 1000 kg / ha.

* M-130-97: This is also a mutant variety, high yielding, earlier in maturity and comparatively more resistant to local varieties. It flowers in 27 days, matures in 75 days and yield potential is slightly higher than M-3 variety--1055 kg/ha

* M-60: This is also mutant variety. It is medium sutured, takes 36 days to flower, 75 days to mature and highest yielder than other varieties. The yield potentials is 1277 kg/ha.