Nutrient Content and Nutritional Water Productivity of Selected Grain Legumes in Response to Production Environment

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Oct 26;14(11):1300. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14111300.


There is a need to incorporate nutrition into aspects of crop and water productivity to tackle food and nutrition insecurity (FNS). The study determined the nutritional water productivity (NWP) of selected major (groundnut, dry bean) and indigenous (bambara groundnut and cowpea) grain legumes in response to water regimes and environments. Field trials were conducted during 2015/16 and 2016/17 at three sites in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (Ukulinga, Fountainhill and Umbumbulu). Yield and evapotranspiration (ET) data were collected. Grain was analysed for protein, fat, Ca, Fe and Zn nutrient content (NC). Yield, ET and NC were then used to compute NWP. Overall, the major legumes performed better than the indigenous grain legumes. Groundnut had the highest NWPfat. Groundnut and dry bean had the highest NWPprotein. For NWPFe, Zn and Ca, dry bean and cowpea were more productive. Yield instability caused fluctuations in NWP. Water treatments were not significant (p > 0.05). While there is scope to improve NWP under rainfed conditions, a lack of crop improvement currently limits the potential of indigenous grain legumes. This provides an initial insight on the nutrient content and NWP of a limited number of selected grain legumes in response to the production environment. There is a need for follow-up research to include cowpea data. Future studies should provide more experimental data and explore effects of additional factors such as management practices (fertiliser levels and plant density), climate and edaphic factors on nutrient content and NWP of crops.

Keywords: bambara groundnut; cowpea; dry bean; evapotranspiration; food and nutrition insecurity; groundnut; yield.

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture / methods*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Edible Grain* / chemistry
  • Edible Grain* / growth & development
  • Fabaceae* / chemistry
  • Fabaceae* / growth & development
  • Fats / analysis
  • Iron / analysis
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Plant Proteins / analysis
  • Plant Transpiration
  • South Africa
  • Volatilization
  • Water / metabolism
  • Zinc / analysis


  • Fats
  • Plant Proteins
  • Water
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Calcium