The following points highlight the three main types of legumes.
Type # 1. Soybean (Hindi – Bhat or Ramkurthi):
Glycine max (L.) Merr.
1. It is an erect or prostrate, small, bushy annual plant (Fig. 72).
2. Seeds of soybean are the richest natural vegetable food known.
3. The flour, which contains high amount of protein content, is an excellent food for diabetics.
4. Soybean seeds are devoid of starch and uric acid.
5. Soybean milk is recommended for invalids and infants.
6. An important drying oil (soybean oil) is obtained from the seeds of this plant. It is used for cooking as well as for several other purposes. Oil is also used in the manufacture of candles, soaps, varnishes, paints, greasing, disinfectants, etc.
7. Soybean oil is also used for manufacture of margarine, oil cloth, linoleum, printing inks and insecticides.
8. Lecithin, a by-product obtained in the soybean oil industry, is used as wetting agent in various industries of food, cosmetics, plastic, leather and drugs.
9. Protein isolates, prepared form beans, are used in preparing various food products.
10. Soymeal and soybean protein are used in manufacture of adhesives and synthetic fibres.
11. Germinated soybeans are very rich in vitamin C.
12. Oil cake has 40 to 50% protein contents. It is used as fodder.
Type # 2. Groundnut or Peanut (Hindi – Mungphali):
Arachis hypogaea I.
1. It is a creeping or bushy annual plant with a characteristic habit of ripening its fruits underground (Fig. 73).
2. The plants are used for forage and stock-feeding.
3. Nuts are used commonly in winter season as such, or in the preparation of candy or peanut butter.
4. From the seeds or nuts, peanut oil is obtained. Refined oil is used for cooking purposes, while the inferior grades are used for soap making and as illuminants.
5. The hydrogenated oil yields the ‘vegetable ghee’.
6. Oil cake is used as a stock feed for catties.
7. Ardil, a synthetic fibre, is manufactured from the proteins found in groundnuts.
8. Groundnut has high nutritive value. It is highly rich in proteins and vitamins, particularly vitamin B and nicotinic acid.
9. High quality oil is used in pharmaceutical industry.
10. Groundnut shells are used for manufacture of cork substitutes and coarse boards.
Type # 3. Pea (Hindi – Matar):
Pisum sativum L. var. arvense (L.) Poir.
1. It is cultivated in several countries of the world, including India and USA.
2. In India, it is cultivated chiefly in Punjab, U.P., Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh for its edible seeds and buds which are used as vegetable.
3. Plants are also used for forage and also as green manure.
4. Gregor Mendel carried on his famous experiments in plant breeding on this plant.
5. Seeds are round, smooth or wrinkled and yellow or white coloured.
6. Besides protein, the seeds also contain sugar. The seeds are widely used for canning.