Popular diets across the world typically focus on the right balance of essential components like protein, fat, and carbohydrates.
These items are called macronutrients, and we consume them in relatively large quantities. However, micronutrients often receive less attention. Micronutrients are chemicals, including vitamins and minerals, that our bodies require in very small quantities. Common mineral micronutrients include zinc, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, copper, and selenium.
Tom Warkentin, University of Saskatchewan
A new variety of pea, CDC Saffron. Peas contain micronutrients essential for good nutrition.
A recent study published in Crop Science examined the mineral micronutrient content of crops grown in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. The study was conducted jointly by the University of Saskatchewan and North Dakota State University. The researchers examined four types of grain legumes (pulses)—field peas, lentils, chickpeas, and common bean.
Although these legumes have up to twice the micronutrients as cereals, according to Tom Warkentin, professor of plant breeding at the University of Saskatchewan, they are not cultivated on the same scale as cereals in most countries. Therefore, grain legume crops are often overlooked as potentially valuable sources of micronutrients.
Diets that do not provide adequate amounts of micronutrients lead to a variety of diseases that affect most parts of the human body. Warkentin says, “Iron deficiency is the most common, followed by zinc, carotenoids, and folate.”
The study found that genetic characteristics (genotype) as well as environmental conditions—such as soil properties and local climate—can affect the micronutrient content of grain legumes. The researchers measured micronutrient levels by a technique known as atomic absorption spectrometry. According to Warkentin, “In the case of selenium, we found that environmental conditions are more important than genotype.”
Warkentin notes, “A 100-gram (3 ½-ounce) serving of any one of the four grain legume crops studied provided a substantial portion of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, manganese, copper, and nickel.” The serving size was based on the dry weight of the grain legumes. He adds that lentils were the best source of iron, while chickpeas and common bean were higher in magnesium. Calcium was the only key micronutrient that these crops lacked.
Interestingly, most of the crops studied were high in selenium, with chickpeas and lentils being the best sources. Selenium is an important but often overlooked micronutrient. Selenium deficiency can lead to diseases that weaken heart muscles and cause breakdown of cartilage. It can also give rise to hypothyroidism, since selenium is a required chemical in the production of thyroid hormone.
Warkentin concludes, “Increased production and consumption of grain legume crops should be encouraged by agriculturalists and dietitians around the world.” Since grain legume crops don’t require nitrogen-based fertilizers, which are derived from fossil fuels, they are very sustainable. Warkentin also says, “Grain legume crops are highly nutritious. In addition to the micronutrients described in this research, they also contain 20-25% protein, 45-50% slowly digestible starch, soluble and insoluble fiber, and are low in fat.”
Access the full article here:
Susan Fisk | newswise
Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital
New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
05.12.2017 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
11.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences