A humble redgram contains far more calcium than what milk offers


The redgram, also called tur, arhar or pigeonpea, is a staple source of protein in vegetarian diet.

Agricultural scientists have now uncovered hitherto unknown strength of redgram and found a coat on this seed is rich in calcium outbeating milk six times, says scientists at ICRISAT.

A sample of 100-gram redgram seed coat has 652 mg of calcium against 120 mg found in 100 ml of milk.

Unfortunately, the current seed processing treats the coat part literally like a dirt. “The seed coat fraction, accounting for about 10 per cent of the seed, is a by-product of the split gram (dal) processing industry and it is disposed of either as waste or cattle feed,” scientists pointed out in a paper published in peer-reviewed journal ‘Sustainability’

They suggest that it has huge potential as a key input in baby food and mineral supplements.

The scientists feel that it can be used in other food supplements and by pharmaceutical companies to make products addressing osteoporosis and rickets.

The research led by scientists at the ICRISAT’s Gene Bank is now evaluating the bioavailability of the nutrients in redgram (scientific name: Cajanus cajan L. Millsp).

“The human body requires 800-1,000 mg of calcium per day, which reports indicate that the contemporary Indian diet is not providing,” the paper observed.

Where it grows

Interestingly, pigeonpea is largely grown in the semi-arid tropics of South Asia, Central America, and Africa – the mandate area for the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

Incidentally, India is its biggest producer and consumer globally, accounting for 82 per cent of the cultivation and 77 per cent of production.

India grows redgram in about 17 lakh hectares annually and produces about 37.50 lakh tonnes. This is followed by Myanmar (6.76 lakh tonnes) and Malawi (4.30 lakh tonnes).

Published on

September 02, 2022

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