Neglecting legumes has compromised human health and sustainable food production

Foyer, C H and Lam, H M and Nguyen, H T and Siddique, K H M and Varshney, R K and Colmer, T D and Cowling, W and Bramley, H and Mori, T A and Hodgson, J M and Cooper, J W and Miller, A J and Kunert, K and Vorster, J and Cullis, C and Ozga, J A and Wahlqvist, M L and Liang, Y and Shou, H and Shi, K and Yu, J and Fodor, N and Kaiser, B N and Wong, F L and Valliyodan, B and Considine, M J (2016) Neglecting legumes has compromised human health and sustainable food production. Nature Plants, 2 (16112). 01-10. ISSN 2055-0278

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The United Nations declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (grain legumes) under the banner ‘nutritious seeds for a sustainable future’. A second green revolution is required to ensure food and nutritional security in the face of global climate change. Grain legumes provide an unparalleled solution to this problem because of their inherent capacity for symbiotic atmospheric nitrogen fixation, which provides economically sustainable advantages for farming. In addition, a legume-rich diet has health benefits for humans and livestock alike. However, grain legumes form only a minor part of most current human diets, and legume crops are greatly under-used. Food security and soil fertility could be significantly improved by greater grain legume usage and increased improvement of a range of grain legumes. The current lack of coordinated focus on grain legumes has compromised human health, nutritional security and sustainable food production.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Genetic Gains
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Legumes, Human health, Food production, Sustainable agriculture, Climate change, Grain legumes, Grain legume production, Food and nutritional security
Subjects: Others > Food Production
Others > Sustainable Agriculture
Others > Food and Nutrition
Others > Food Security
Others > Legume Crops
Depositing User: Mr Ramesh K
Date Deposited: 09 Jan 2017 07:54
Last Modified: 26 May 2017 04:26
Official URL:
Acknowledgement: We thank the World University Network (WUN) and research collaboration awards (UWA and the University of Leeds) for financial support. C.H.F. thanks the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC UK, BB/M009130/1) and the European Union (KBBE-2012-6-311840; ECOSEED) for financial support. J.W.C. thanks BBSRC UK and Wherry and Sons (UK) for an industrial CASE studentship (BB/K501839/1). H.-M.L. was supported by the Hong Kong RGC Collaborative Research Fund (CUHK3/CRF/11G), the Lo Kwee-Seong Biomedical Research Fund and Lee Hysan Foundation. K.-M. Fung, Q. Wang and L. K.-W. Siu of The Chinese University of Hong Kong assisted in the production of Fig. 3, Table 1 and the associated webpage ( We thank H. Upadhyaya for the images shown in Fig. 4. T.A.M. and J.M.H. thank the Western Australian Government, Department of Industry and Resources for financial support. The authors thank Bodhi’s Bakery, Fremantle, Western Australia, for baking the bread and biscuits and Belmar Foods, Balcatta, Western Australia, for manufacturing and providing the pasta. B.N.K., H.B. and T.D.C. are supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC), ITRH—Legumes for Sustainable Agriculture (IH140100013). M.J.C. and C.H.F. thank the ARC (DP150103211) for financial support. A.J.M. is supported by grant funding (BB/JJ004553/1 and BB/L010305/1) from the BBSRC and the John Innes Foundation.
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