Bread and cereals have been the symbol of nutrition for the world's population for many centuries. This also applies to legumes like for example peas, beans or lentils. Thanks to the progressive development of technology, it is now possible to combine the best of both worlds by processing the legumes into flour and then working them into a dough, thus producing a tasty and qualitatively improved bread.
A very promising alternative farming system that is drawing more supporters is the combined use of legumes and rhizobia-based biofertilizers. However, with this approach, a number of questions are raised: Why are legumes so important in the context of sustainable agriculture? What are rhizobia and how are they related to legumes? What are biofertilizers and how do they benefit crop production?
TRUE Case study 22 at the Agricultural University of Athens uses legumes in crop rotations schemes in organic crops of non-legumes, aiming to increase soil fertility and ensure an adequate nitrogen supply to the crop despite the non-use of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers. This study will compare the environmental impact of organic and conventional cultivation systems and identify wider environmental effects when legumes are used in crop rotation schemes with non-legume vegetables.
Legumes are "smart" plants because they can utilize nitrogen from the atmosphere to cover their nutritional needs. Legumes do not need nitrogen fertilization as they form symbiotic relationships with rhizobia bacteria. Non-legume crops however need synthetic fertilizers to replenish the nitrogen removed from the soil. Case Study 21 at the AUA uses beans and grafting technique to obtain efficient rootstock/scion genotypes in terms of symbiotic nitrogen fixation and GHG emissions.
The Center for Plant Diversity is home to our experimental legumes for the TRUE Project. Through our bean tour, we share updates on the progress of the trials in the fields and how we hope they will contribute to AgriKulti's overall goals.
In Hungarian folk tales, the bean is always an auspicious sign. In one of our most famous tales, the bean becomes a tree so high that the hero, just a little boy at the start of his climb, has become an adult by the time he reaches the top. Thus, the bean in the Hungarian tradition often symbolises development, self-knowledge, maturity and connecting with our innermost secrets. But what on earth does this have to do with TRUE and our pulse project?