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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Pulse (disambiguation)

A pulse is an annual leguminous crop yielding from one to twelve grains or seeds of variable size, shape, and color within a pod. Pulses are used for food and animal feed. The term "pulse", as used by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), is reserved for crops harvested solely for the dry grain. This excludes green beans and green peas, which are considered vegetable crops. Also excluded are crops that are mainly grown for oil extraction (oilseeds like soybeans and peanuts), and crops which are used exclusively for sowing (clovers, alfalfa). However, many of the varieties so classified and given below are also used as vegetables, with their beans in pods while young cooked in whole cuisines and sold for the purpose; for example black eyed beans, lima beans and Toor or pigeon peas are thus eaten as fresh green beans cooked as part of a meal. Pulses are important food crops due to their high protein and essential amino acid content. Like many leguminous crops, pulses play a key role in crop rotation due to their ability to fix nitrogen.


World economy

India is the world's largest producer and the largest consumer of pulses. Canada, Myanmar, Australia and the United States are significant exporters, and are India's most significant suppliers, in that order.


Variety of pulses

FAO recognizes 11 primary pulses.

  1. Dry beans (Phaseolus spp. including several species now in Vigna)
  2. Dry broad beans (Vicia faba)
  3. Dry peas (Pisum spp.)
    • Garden pea (Pisum sativum var. sativum)
    • Protein pea (Pisum sativum var. arvense)
  4. Chickpea, Garbanzo, Bengal gram (Cicer arietinum)
  5. Dry cowpea, Black-eyed pea, blackeye bean (Vigna unguiculata )
  6. Pigeon pea, Arhar /Toor, cajan pea, congo bean (Cajanus cajan)
  7. Lentil (Lens culinaris)
  8. Bambara groundnut, earth pea (Vigna subterranea)
  9. Vetch, common vetch (Vicia sativa)
  10. Lupins (Lupinus spp.)
  11. Minor pulses include:

Protein content

Pulses are 20 to 25% protein by weight, which is double the protein content of wheat and three times that of rice. For this reason, pulses are called "vegetarian's meat". While pulses are generally high in protein, and the digestibility of that protein is also high, they often are relatively poor in the essential amino acid methionine, although Indian cuisine includes sesame seeds, which contain high levels of methionine. Grains (which are themselves deficient in lysine) are commonly consumed along with pulses to form a complete protein diet.


Pulses have significant nutritional and health advantages for consumers.[1] They are the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities,[2] and in the Seven Countries Study, legume consumption was highly correlated with a reduced mortality from coronary heart disease.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Schneider AV (2002 Dec). "Overview of the market and consumption of pulses in Europe". Br J Nutr 88 (3): S243–50. doi:10.1079/BJN2002713. PMID 12498623.  
  2. ^ Darmadi-Blackberry I, Wahlqvist ML, Kouris-Blazos A, Steen B, Lukito W, Horie Y, Horie K. (2004). "Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities". Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 13 (2): 217–20. PMID 15228991.  
  3. ^ Menotti A, Kromhout D, Blackburn H, Fidanza F, Buzina R, Nissinen A (1999 Jul). "Food intake patterns and 25-year mortality from coronary heart disease: cross-cultural correlations in the Seven Countries Study. The Seven Countries Study Research Group". Eur J Epidemiol 15 (6): 507–15. doi:10.1023/A:1007529206050. PMID 10485342.  

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