Safe pea to harvest
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CTA. 2003. Safe pea to harvest. Spore 103. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47834
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore103.pdf
Grasspea (Lathyrus sativus L.; guaya in Ethiopia and gilban in Sudan) has long been known as a source of forage for animals. It grows mainly in north and north-east Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. It is rich in protein...
Grasspea (Lathyrus sativus L.; guaya in Ethiopia and gilban in Sudan) has long been known as a source of forage for animals. It grows mainly in north and north-east Africa, southern Europe, the Middle East and South Asia. It is rich in protein (30%), improves the quality of sheep s wool, fixes nitrogen in the soil and is very drought resistant. Both foliage and seeds are used for forage and the latter also for human consumption. But the plant contains a neurotoxin which paralyses leg muscles in humans if eaten as a main source of food for more than 3 months. It is harmless for animals and less harmful for humans when eaten in small quantities and accompanied by vitamin A-rich green vegetables. Especially in times of drought, when the beans are the only source of food for many people in Ethiopia, India and Sudan, the irreversible disease (neurolathyrism, named after the plant) takes its toll. Researchers working at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) harvested the first grasspea lines with low neurotoxin levels during trials in 2002. Four new lines resulted from a breeding programme, crossing low toxin Lathyrus varieties from the Middle East with varieties from Asia and Africa that contain higher levels of neurotoxin. Ethiopian researchers have now started developing locally adapted lines and seed production programmes. ICARDA, A A El-Moneim PO Box 5466, Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic Fax: +963 21 22 13 490 Email: email@example.com