Mothbean is known to be a drought- and heat-tolerant legume crop (Manga et al., 2015). It is also known by other common names, such as mat bean, matki bean, mout bean, or dew gram (Stephens, 1994). The name “moth” comes from the Hindi word pronounced “mat” or “mote” according to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS, 1979). Mothbean is popular pulse crop in India. It has been tried for cattle forage in Texas and California and has shown promise (Stephens, 1994).
In many parts of the world, there is increasing scarcity of water for agriculture (Jury and Vaux, 2007). Consequently, there is potential for the use of drought-tolerant legumes in agriculture not only for their symbiotic nitrogen (N) fixation potential but also for reduced water use. Mothbean is a hot weather, drought-resistant legume. Although mothbean is a short-day plant, Stephens (1994) indicated that climatic requirements of mothbean are similar to those for cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). It could be grown in the spring and fall seasons in most of Florida, and in the winter in southern Florida. When seeded in early September in Gainesville, FL, fair pod production was achieved by late November (Stephens, 1994). The National Academy of Sciences (1979) indicated that mothbean could substantially increase the food or forage available to arid and semiarid lands throughout the tropics, subtropics, and even some warm-temperate areas and that it is the most drought-tolerant pulse crop. Mothbean hay is readily eaten by livestock and has a feeding value almost equal to that of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) hay (NAS, 1979). U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), currently maintains a collection of 56 mothbean accessions.
Based on our desire to diversify cropping system, we are interested in several crops related to mungbean and mothbean since such crops have been observed to have great potential as supplemental or alternate sources of legume protein (Fery, 2002). Most of these crops are known to be heat and drought tolerant and have potential for introduction in the United States for increased production. It has been observed that introduction of these crops can create new opportunities and provide alternative crops for American farmers. These crops can also provide American consumers access to new and novel foods.
Given that mothbean is known to be adapted to hot, dry climates and no information is available on its production potential in the eastern United States, the objective of this study was to characterize variation among 54 accessions from the USDA-ARS collection for potential seed yield and nutritional quality when grown in the eastern United States.
AOAC 1995 Official methods of analysis of the association of official grain legumes. 16th ed. AOAC Intl., Arlington, VA
Fery, R.L. 2002 New opportunities in Vigna, p. 424–428. In: J. Janick and A. Whipkey (eds.). Trends in new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA
Manga, V.K., Juktani, A.K. & Bhatt, R.K. 2015 Adaptation and selection of crop varieties for hot arid climate of Rajasthan Indian J. Plant Sci. 4 1 9
National Academy of Sciences 1979 Tropical legumes: Resources for the future. Natl. Acad. Sci., Washington, DC
Siddhuraju, P., Vijayakumari, K. & Janardhann, K. 1994 Chemical analysis and nutritional assessment of the less known pulses, Vigna aconitifolia (Jacq.) Marechal and Vigna vexillata (L.) A. Rich Plant Foods Hum. Nutr. 45 103 111
Stephens, J.M. 1994 Bean, moth: Vigna aconitifolia (Jacq.) Marechal. Univ. Florida, Coop. Ext. Serv., Inst. Food Agr. Sci. HS554