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There’s more to beans than you think

Educational videos released this week by the Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) celebrate the International Year of Pulses (IYP), as dScreen shot of International Year of Pulses video demonstrates pulses' benefits for human healthesignated by the United Nations. Pulses--dry beans, peas, and lentils--are an important crop for a sustainable agronomic future. The videos are the latest in a series of informational offerings by CSSA celebrating IYP.

The free, downloadable videos, https://www.crops.org/iyp/iyp-videos, are geared toward elementary school students but are of interest to all audiences. The two videos provide narration and animated explanations of scientific content. Illustrator Jim Toomey also animated the Soil Science Society of America’s popular 2015 International Year of Soils video series, https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZVYohuIygMqtilTezSHbzveYUj3WLjdm.

The video “Pulses and Human Health” focuses on the benefits of eating pulses. A serving of pulses contains between 30-50% of your daily protein requirements. In additional to fiber and essential minerals, pulses have a low-glycemic index, providing steady energy throughout the day. Around the world, people eat more than just the beans – for example, all parts of a pinto bean plant are edible!

Pulses and Soil Health reviews nitrogen fixation and other benefits to the soil. Unlike most plants that pull nitrogen from the soil as a food source, pulses work with soil microbes to pull nitrogen from the air. Nitrogen is a common component of fertilizer, and planting pulses in fields or a home garden can reduce the need for fertilization.  

The videos coordinate with curriculum developed by a cooperating group, the U.S. Dry Pea Lentil Council. For more on that curriculum, visit http://www.poweredbypulses.org/powered-by-pulses-curriculum---grades-4-8.html.

CSSA is one of the leading scientific societies working to increase knowledge about pulses within the science community and with the general public. CSSA’s information page about IYP efforts can be found at www.crops.org/iyp. The page contains tips for growing pulses in your garden as well as links to recipes and stories about the importance of bean crops.

CSSA will release more information about pulses during the 2016 IYP celebration.