Lentil has always been an important and widely known food. The reason behind its popularity is that lentil is protein enriched. It is the constituent of vitamins like magnesium, vitamin B, zinc, potassium, and iron. Moreover, lentils are a great source of fiber, proteins, and carbohydrates.
It is important to note that there are numerous varieties of lentils. And not all lentils are equal, based on the difference in genetics. In addition to that, the weather and soil conditions can impact the quality of lentils.
Even the lentils with the same genetics can have different yields if grown under dissimilar conditions. The recent research in this field evaluated how the difference in environment and genetics can alter the lentil crop quality grown in the lands of Montana.
The author of this research, Chengci Chen says that understanding the crop you grow is the key to a successful harvest. Similarly, farmers need to have a better insight into the effect of genetics and the environment on lentils. That way, they will be able to grow high-quality crops.
Chen conducted this research in the five different sites in Montana. The selected locations have dissimilar soil and weather conditions. The researchers choose four varieties of lentils to be grown at specific locations. According to Chen, the obtained results can be implied all over the world. The United States and Canada are the largest exporters of lentils. The findings of this research can be utilized by farmers all over the world for nutrition and food security.
The observations that this research generated are as follows:
- Environmental conditions affect starch content and crop yield.
- Lentil genetics directly affect the concentration of protein and macro and micro-nutrients such as sulfur, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and iron.
- Farmers can choose the specified lentils genetic to grow on their land. The genetics that suit the weather and soil of their land.
Considering these findings while growing lentils would help farmers produce lentils that are nutrient-enriched. It is important to note that even a single location receives a different type of weather throughout the year.
Further studies should be conducted, to better understand this crop. That is because lentil is a crucial crop in the United States that add much to the state’s economy. We have earned $179 million through lentils export in the year 2020.
Lentil farming is prevalent in inland areas of Pacific Northwest along with Eastern Washington, Montana, North Dakota and Idaho. The demand for protein-based plants is growing every year. That is why we need to focus on this sector of agriculture too.
With lentils, we can fight malnutrition. Mineral malnutrition is a health concern that is increasing globally. If we want to live a healthier life, we should intake minerals and protein-enriched food.
Another finding from Chen’s research that is relatively unfavorable is the negative correlation between starch concentration and lentil proteins. That is to say that, the genetics of lentils with high starch has a low concentration of proteins.
Chen and his colleagues are working to develop a variety of lentils with higher nutrition and yields.