, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 3-4
Date: 04 Mar 2011

In this issue

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Reviews of staple crops

Continuing our series of reviews of the World’s principal staple crops, Glen Hartman and associates document the remarkable story of soybean. Production of this crop has increased from 17 million metric tons (MMT) in 1960 to 230 MMT in 2008 and the crop is now grown on around 6% of the world’s arable land. This astonishing increase is related to the numerous benefits of the crop: it is a source of both oil and protein and, as it is a legume, fixes nitrogen, thus improving soil fertility. Also, unlike cereals, on which so many of the world’s population depend for sustenance, the protein of soybean is not deficient in one or more essential amino acids. It therefore has enormous potential for improving the diets of people throughout the world, whether it is consumed as a vegetable or processed into various food products. On the negative side soybean is susceptible to a number of biotic diseases such as rust and red leaf blotch and sensitive to such abiotic factors a