The mung bean (Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilczek, 1954) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Fabaceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Species V. radiata.
The term is basionym:
– Phaseolus radiatus L..
The terms are synonymous:
– Azukia radiata (L.) Ohwi;
– Phaseolus aureus Wall.;
– Phaseolus abyssinicus Savi;
– Phaseolus chanetii (H.Lev.) H.Lev.;
– Phaseolus hirtus Retz.;
– Phaseolus novo-guineense Baker f.;
– Phaseolus radiatus var. aureus Prain;
– Phaseolus radiatus var. grandis Prain;
– Phaseolus radiatus var. typicus Prain;
– Phaseolus setulosus Dalzell;
– Phaseolus sublobatus Roxb.;
– Phaseolus trinervius Wight & Arn.;
– Pueraria chanetii H.Lev.;
– Rudua aurea (Roxb.) F.Maek.;
– Rudua aurea (Roxb.) Maekawa;
– Vigna brachycarpa Kurz;
– Vigna opistricha A.Rich.;
– Vigna perrieriana R.Vig.;
– Vigna radiata subsp. dublobata (Roxb.) Verdc.;
– Vigna radiata var. dublobata (Roxb.) Verdc.;
– Vigna radicata (L.) Wilczek;
– Vigna sublobata (Roxb.) Babu & S.K.Sharma;
– Vigna sublobata (Roxb.) Bairig. & al.;
The following subspecies and varieties are recognized within this species:
– Vigna radiata subsp. radiata;
– Vigna radiata subsp. sublobata (Roxb.) Verdc.;
– Vigna radiata var. radiata;
– Vigna radiata var. setulosa (Dalzell) Ohwi & H.Ohashi;
– Vigna radiata var. sublobata (Roxb.) Verdc..
The term Vigna was dedicated to the Florentine doctor and botanist Domenico Vigna (1577?-1647), professor of medicine with lectures in botany at the University of Pisa and for short periods prefect of the botanical garden.
The specific epithet radiata comes from rádius rayo: due to the presence of elements arranged in a radial pattern.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Vigna radiata is a plant present in an area of East Asia that includes China, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, New Guinea and Oceania.
The cultivation of this legume, which began in India in remote times, is widespread in the tropical and subtropical areas of Asia, from Pakistan to the Philippines. Furthermore, there are cultivations of Vigna radiata on all continents, including Europe.
Its natural habitat is not known, however, it has naturalized in open wastelands, roadsides, thicket edges, at altitudes up to 500 meters in southern China, while it can be found up to 2,000 meters altitude.
Vigna radiata is a herbaceous, climbing, annual plant with a well-developed root system that grows from 13 to 130 cm in height.
The lateral roots are numerous and thin, with grown root nodules.
The stems are very branched, sometimes twined at the ends. Young stems are purple or green and mature stems are grayish yellow or brown. They can be divided into upright bushy, semi-trailing and trailing types. Wild types tend to be prostrate while cultivated types are more upright.
The leaves are ovoid or broad ovoid, the cotyledons die after emergence, and ternate leaves are produced on two single leaves. The leaves are 6–12 cm long and 5–10 cm wide.
Racemes with yellow flowers arise in the axils and tips of the leaves, with 10-25 flowers per pedicel, self-pollinated.
The fruits are elongated cylindrical or flat cylindrical pods, usually 30-50 per plant. The pods are 5-10 cm long and 0.4-0.6 cm wide.
Inside the pods there are 12-14 seeds separated by septa, which are green, yellow, brown or blue and can be cylindrical or spherical in shape. The seeds are 25 – 40 mm long and up to 3 mm wide.
Seed colors and the presence or absence of a rough layer are used to distinguish different types and varieties.
Vigna radiata is an erect or semi-erect annual plant widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical areas for its edible seeds.
It also has traditional medicinal uses, can be used as soap and is grown as a green manure and cover crop.
It is a plant of the drier tropics, where it is found up to 2,000 meters above sea level. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are between 21 and 36°C, but can tolerate 8-40°C.
The plant does not tolerate frost. It prefers an average annual rainfall of between 650 and 900 mm, but tolerates 500 – 1,250 mm.
The plants grow well when grown in the dry season. Seed set can be negatively affected by rainfall during the flowering period.
It prefers a sunny position, tolerating light shade.
From the point of view it grows best in well-drained soil rich in organic substance, succeeding in sandy to clayey soils. Some cultivars tolerate moderately saline and alkaline conditions; prefers a pH between 5.5 and 6.2, tolerating 4.3 – 8.3.
Established plants are moderately drought resistant.
Young pods can be harvested in about 2 months after sowing the seed.
You can have a yield of dried seeds around 50 – 120 days and you can get yields of 400 – 700 kg of dried seed per hectare.
Two main groups of cultivars have been identified:-
Golden ones with yellow seeds; the pods often shatter when ripe.
Green ones with dark green or light green seeds; the pods ripen more evenly and are less likely to shatter.
Cultivars can be short-day, long-day or neutral day length.
Being a leguminous plant, the mung bean is in symbiotic association with rhizobial bacteria which allow it to fix atmospheric nitrogen (58-109 kg per hectare of mung bean). It can provide large quantities of biomass (7.16 t biomass/ha) and nitrogen to the soil (30 to 251 kg/ha). The nitrogen fixing capacity not only allows it to meet its own nitrogen needs, but also benefits subsequent crops. It can be used as a cover crop before or after cereal crops in rotation, which makes a good green manure.
When removing plant remains at the end of the growing season, it is best to remove only the aerial parts of the plant, allowing the roots in the soil to rot and release their nitrogen.
The plant reproduces by seed. It is recommended to soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in situ. Germination occurs at temperatures above 12°C, with 25°C being the optimum temperature, when the seed can germinate within 3 – 7 days. The seed germinates even in fairly dry soil but the actual speed varies depending on the amount of moisture introduced during the germination phase. It is epigeal, with the stem and cotyledons emerging from the seedbed.
After germination, the seed divides and grows a soft, whitish root. During this stage, mung bean sprouts are harvested. If it is not harvested, it develops a root system, then a green stem containing two leaves and emerges from the ground.
Customs and Traditions –
Vigna radiata was preliminarily described by Linnaeus in 1753 as Phaseolus radiatus. Subsequently, this species was separated, together with many others, from the Phaseolus genus and inserted into the new Vigna genus.
This plant is known by various common names, and the English word mung originates from the Hindi word mūṅg (मूंग), which is derived from the Sanskrit word mudga (मुद्ग).
It is called: mung bean or green gram (English); maash (Persian ماش٫ Kurdish ماش); mūng (Hindi: मूंग); monggo, đậu xanh (Vietnamese); kacang hijau (Indonesian); munggo (in the Philippines).
This plant was domesticated in India, where its progenitor (Vigna radiata subspecies sublobata) is found in the wild.
Charred mung beans have been discovered at many archaeological sites in India. Areas with the earliest finds include the eastern Harappan civilization in modern-day Pakistan and western and northwestern India, where finds date back to about 4,500 years ago, and southern India in the modern state of Karnataka where finds date back to more than 4,000 years ago. Some scholars, therefore, hypothesize two separate domestications in northwest and southern India. In southern India, there is evidence of the evolution of larger-seeded mung beans between 3,500 and 3,000 years ago. About 3,500 years ago, mung beans were widely cultivated throughout India.
Cultivated mung beans later spread from India to China and Southeast Asia. Archaeobotanical research at the Khao Sam Kaeo site in southern Thailand indicates that mung beans arrived in Thailand at least 2,200 years ago.
It is evident, therefore, that this plant has a long history of consumption by humans. The main parts consumed are the seeds and shoots. Mature seeds provide an invaluable source of digestible protein for humans in places where meat is lacking or where people are mostly vegetarian. The mung bean has a large market in Asia (India, Southeast Asia and East Asia) and is also consumed in southern Europe and the southern United States. Mung bean protein is considered safe as a novel food (NF) under Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. Mung bean consumption varies by geographic region. For example, in India, mung bean is used in sweets, snacks and savory foods. In other parts of Asia it is used in cakes, sprouts, pasta and soups. In Europe and America it is mainly used as fresh bean sprouts. Consumption of mung beans as such in the United States is of the order of 22-29 g/capita per year, while consumption in some areas of Asia can reach 2 kg/capita per year.
The mung bean is considered an alternative crop in many regions.
In the United States, the average price of green bean is around $0.20 per pound. This is double the price of soybeans. The difference in production costs for mung bean and soybeans is post-harvest cleaning and/or transportation. Overall, mung beans are considered to have market potential due to their drought tolerance and are a food crop and not a fodder crop, which may help mitigate economic risk from commodity crop price variability for farmers.
Cooked whole mung beans are usually made from dried beans by boiling them until soft. Green beans are light yellow when the husk is removed. Mung bean paste can be made by peeling, cooking, and pulverizing the beans into a dry paste.
Although whole mung beans are also occasionally used in Indian cuisine, beans without the skin are more commonly used. In Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, whole mung beans are commonly boiled to prepare a dry dish often served with congee. Hulled mung beans can also be used similarly to whole beans to make sweet soups.
Mung beans in some regional cuisines of India are stripped of their outer covering to make mung dal. In Bangladesh and West Bengal the stripped and split bean is used to make a soup-like dal known as mug ḍal (মুগ ডাল).
In the southern Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and also in Maharashtra, steamed whole beans are seasoned with spices and freshly grated coconut. In southern India, particularly Andhra Pradesh, batter made from ground whole moong beans (including the skin) is used to prepare a variety of dosa called pescarattu or pescara dosa.
In Southern Chinese cuisine, whole mung beans are used to make a tángshuȐ, or dessert, called lȜdòu tángshuȐ, which is served hot or cold. They are also often cooked with rice to make congee. Unlike in South Asia, whole mung beans rarely appear in savory dishes.
In Hong Kong, hulled mung beans and mung bean paste are made into frozen ice cream or popsicles. Mung bean paste is used as a common filling for Chinese mooncakes in eastern China and Taiwan. During the Dragon Boat Festival, boiled and shelled beans are used as a filling in ready-to-eat zongzi. The beans can also be cooked until soft, blended into a liquid, sweetened and served as a drink, popular in many parts of China. In southern China and Vietnam, mung bean paste can be mixed with sugar, fat, and fruit or spices to make desserts, such as bánh đậu xanh.
In Korea, peeled mung beans are soaked and ground with a little water to make a thick batter. This is used as the base for Korean pancakes called bindae-tteok. They are also commonly used for Hobak-tteok.
In the Philippines, ginisáng monggó/mónggo (sautéed mung bean stew), also known as monggó/mónggo guisado or balatong, is a savory stew of whole mung beans with shrimp or fish. It is traditionally served on the Friday of Lent, when most Catholic Filipinos traditionally abstain from meat. Variations of ginisáng monggó/mónggo can also be prepared with chicken or pork. Mung beans are also used in the Philippine dessert ginataang munggo (also known as balatong), a rice porridge with coconut milk and sugar flavored with pandan leaves or vanilla.
Mung bean paste is also a common filling in desserts known as ondé-ondé and bakpia in Indonesia and hopia in the Philippines, and further afield in Guyana (where it is known as “black-eyed cake”). It is also used as a filling for pan de monggo, a Filipino bread. In Indonesia, mung beans are also made into a popular sweet snack called es kacang hijau, which has the consistency of porridge. The beans are cooked with sugar, coconut milk and a little ginger.
A staple diet in some parts of the Middle East consists of mung beans and rice. Both are cooked together in a pilaf-like rice dish called māš wa-ruzz, which means mung beans and rice.
Transparent spaghetti typical of some Asian cuisines are prepared with bean starch. Vigna radiata sprout is similar to soya sprout, compared to which it is consumed much more in non-Asian countries.
Green beans are recognized for their high nutritional value. Green beans contain approximately 55%–65% carbohydrates (equal to 630 g/kg dry weight) and are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is composed of approximately 20%-50% proteins of the total dry weight, of which globulin (60%) and albumin (25%) are the primary storage proteins (see table). The mung bean is considered an important source of dietary protein. Proteolytic cleavage of these proteins is even greater during sprouting. The carbohydrates in mung beans are easily digestible, which causes less flatulence in humans than other forms of legumes. Both the seeds and sprouts of the mung bean produce fewer calories than other grains, making it more appealing to obese and diabetic individuals.
In addition to its food, this plant can be grown as a green manure or as a cover crop, enriching the soil with the nitrogen formed on its roots.
Seed flour is also rich in saponins and can be used as a soap substitute. It makes the skin smooth and soft.
Preparation Method –
Vigna radiata is a plant whose cooked or sprouted seeds are consumed.
The dried seeds are boiled and used in various ways. For example, they can be eaten as a vegetable, added to soups and stews, or they can be fermented into Indian dishes such as idli.
The seed is also often sprouted and used in salads or cooked.
The seed is split in two, then fried and eaten as a snack.
It can also be ground into powder and used to prepare dishes such as starch paste, biscuits, bread, etc.
Both the pods and the cooked leaves are consumed.
Leaves and young shoots are cut into small pieces and cooked with salt and chilli, and garnished with mustard seeds, curry leaves and pickled onions.
Below are some foods prepared with green mung bean, especially in India, China and much of Asia:
– Mamean, Japanese jam similar to anko used for various desserts.
– A variety of Chinese tong sui soup.
– One of the fillings for Chinese zongzi glutinous rice.
– Basic ingredient for the Vietnamese dessert chè xôi nước.
– Some varieties of Korean sweets tteok.
– The nokdubap variety of Korean bap.
– One of the fillings for the Filipino dessert turón.
– A variety of Korean jeon pancakes.
In addition to food use, as mentioned, Vigna radiata is used in the traditional medicine of its countries of origin. The seeds are said to be a traditional source of cures for paralysis, rheumatism, cough, fever and liver disorders.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and food uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; we therefore decline any responsibility for their use for healing, aesthetic or food purposes.