A Preliminary Evaluation of Faba Bean as a Green Shell Bean in Virginia, USA

  •  Ramesh Dhakal    
  •  Anwar Hamama    
  •  Harbans Bhardwaj    


Even though faba bean (Vicia faba L.) is an important food crop on worldwide basis, its use as a vegetable i.e. use of green seeds as food is limited. We were interested in characterizing production and food quality traits of faba bean grown in eastern USA. Our main objective is to develop faba bean as a winter alternative crop for this region to diversify cropping system that currently mainly depends upon cereal grain crops. This necessitates existence of winter-hardy faba bean varieties. We conducted a preliminary experiment with two winter-hardy faba bean breeding lines to record production and seed composition traits. Two faba bean lines (VSX-BL and VSX-BH) were planted in the field in November 2022 and green pods were harvested in June 2023 at physiological maturity. Values of most of the traits under study were statistically similar between the two lines except for concentration of phosphorus. Results demonstrated that faba bean green pod and green seeds yields could be approximately 5700 and 2100 kg ha-1. The shelling percent in green faba bean pods was approximately 37 whereas seed number per pod was approximately 2.6. Concentrations (g 100 g-1) of fructose, glucose, and sucrose were 0.245, 0.668, 2.9021, respectively whereas concentrations of Fe and Zn (mg kg-1) were 103.7 and 69.7, respectively. Green faba bean seeds contained small amounts of RFO carbohydrates. Seed composition traits of green faba bean seeds compare well with green seeds of pea, soybean, and white lupin. Our results provide a positive proof of concept that production of green faba bean as an alternate winter food legume crop in eastern USA is possible.

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