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Legume Breakthrough Could Help Feed the World

The United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses due to its importance in the food basket.¹ The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been named facilitator of the 2016 program.

Pulses are the edible seeds from legumes.  Legumes are considered important in creating Bold Impact in Food and Nutrition.  Legumes are sustainable, an important source of protein and an impactful food source for developing countries fighting hunger.²  Scientists have been wrestling with various methods to increase production for some time and have been fixated on the study of nitrogen’s role in increasing production.

Legumes are an important source of protein and nutrition.
Legumes are an important source of protein and nutrition.

Recent news could be a significant breakthrough and create Bold Impact.

Washington State University biologist Mechthild Tegeder has developed away to dramatically increase the yield and quality of soybeans.  According to her study published in Current Biology, production from soybeans were increased by up to 36% by uniquely altering the nitrogen transport system for soybeans.

“The biggest implication of our research is that by ramping up the natural nitrogen allocation process we can increase the amount of food we produce without contributing to further agricultural pollution,” Tegeder said. “Eventually we would like to transfer what we have learned to other legumes and plants that humans grow for food.” in an WSU blog interview.

With population growth expected to create a need to increase food production by 70% by 2050³,  Bold Actions of research like Tegeder’s are needed to solve the world’s food needs.  Increasing output from soybeans will contribute to making the Bold vision for Food and Nutrition.

That vision:

Smart, Nutritious, Healthy Food for all that is Cost Efficient and Sustainable!

We will continue to follow Tegeder’s progress and wish her luck!


¹According to the FAO, “Pulses are annual leguminous crops yielding between one and 12 grains or seeds of variable size, shape and colour within a pod, used for both food and feed.  The term “pulses” is limited to crops harvested solely for dry grain, thereby excluding crops harvested green for food, which are classified as vegetable crops, as well as those crops used mainly for oil extraction and leguminous crops that are used exclusively for sowing purposes (based on the definition of “pulses and derived product” of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

² For more on the importance of Pulses and the FAO program read Jane Rowan’s Abilene Reporter-News story at



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