Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 105–109 | Cite as

Genetic Diversity for Seed Mineral Composition in the Wild Legume Teramnus labialis

  • Michael A. Grusak
Original Paper


Teramnus labialis (L.) Spreng. is a wild, tropical legume whose seeds are collected and used as a food source by tribal populations. In order to assess the potential of this legume to provide dietary minerals for humans, fourteen diverse accessions were grown under controlled, nutrient-replete conditions and seeds were harvested for mineral analysis. The germplasm originated from Indonesia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South America. Seed concentrations of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sodium (Na), iron (Fe), copper (Cu), manganese (Mn), and zinc (Zn) were found to fall within the range of published values for several cultivated grain legumes, while calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) were higher in T. labialis seeds. Mineral concentrations across the diverse accessions showed ranges of 1.3- to 2.3-fold for the macronutrient minerals (Ca, Mg, P, K) and 1.8- to 15.9-fold for the micronutrient minerals (Fe, Cu, Mn, Zn, and Na). The existing genetic diversity in this wild legume, especially for the essential minerals Ca and Mg, could be exploited to develop T. labialis as a new cultivated legume for tropical regions of the world.


Calcium Germplasm Magnesium Seed minerals Wild legume 



This work was funded in part by funds from USDA-ARS under Agreement No. 58-6250-6-001. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the US Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government. The author wishes to thank Brad Morris (USDA-ARS, Griffin, Georgia USA) and Theodore Hymowitz (University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois USA) for providing the germplasm used in this study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Department of PediatricsBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA

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