Innovative Pulses for Western European Temperate Regions: A Review

Alicia Ayerdi Gotor, Elisa Marraccini: Innovative Pulses for Western European Temperate Regions: A Review . In: Agronomy, vol. 12, no. 170, 2022.


In Europe, there is an increasing interest in pulses both for their beneficial effects in cropping systems and for human health. However, despite these advantages, the acreage dedicated to pulses has been declining and their diversity has reduced, particularly in European temperate regions, due to several social and economic factors. This decline has stimulated a political debate in the EU on the development of plant proteins. By contrast, in Southern countries, a large panel of minor pulses is still cropped in regional patterns of production and consumption. The aim of this paper is to investigate the potential for cultivation of minor pulses in European temperate regions as a complement to common pulses. Our assumption is that some of these crops could adapt to different pedoclimatic conditions, given their physiological adaptation capacity, and that these pulses might be of interest for the development of innovative local food chains in an EU policy context targeting protein autonomy. The research is based on a systematic review of 269 papers retrieved in the Scopus database (1974–2019), which allowed us to identify 41 pulses as candidate species with protein content higher than 20% that are already consumed as food. For each species, the main agronomic (e.g., temperature or water requirements) and nutritional characteristics (e.g., proteins or antinutritional contents) were identified in their growing regions. Following their agronomic characteristics, the candidate crops were confronted with variability in the annual growing conditions for spring crops in Western European temperate areas to determine the earliest potential sowing and latest harvest dates. Subsequently, the potential sum of temperatures was calculated with the Agri4cast database to establish the potential climatic suitability. For the first time, 21 minor pulses were selected to be grown in these temperate areas and appear worthy of investigation in terms of yield potential, nutritional characteristics or best management practices.

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