Lablab: A New Crop for Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States of America

Lablab [Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet] is a tropical plant that is native to Asia and Africa. For generations, it has been a novelty garden plant in the United States. Several studies were conducted to characterize lablab productivity under Virginia’s agro-climatic conditions, which are not sub-tropical or tropical. Fresh and dry yields varied from 33 to 121 Mg/ha with a mean of 66, and 7 to 18 with a mean of 13 Mg/ha, respectively, in 2011, whereas fresh and dry yields varied from 40 to 93 Mg/ha with a mean of 59, and 7- 18 with a mean of 12 Mg/ha, respectively, in 2012. Overall means of fresh and dry yields (over years) varied from 47 to 91 with a mean of 62, and 9 to 15 with a mean of 13 Mg/ha, respectively. Concentrations of protein, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Al, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, Na, and Zn in lablab plant tissue produced in Virginia were 15, 0.28, 2.30, 1.32, 0.27, 0.22, 224, 20, 18, 343, 79, 0.03, and 40, respectively. Lablab seed yields in Virginia varied from 559 (PI 593055) to 1678 (PI 288467) kg.ha-1. The average protein concentration in lablab seed produced in Virginia was 25.4%, with a range from 20.6 to 28.8%, on dry weight basis The lablab seeds contained trace amounts of oil. On a dry weight basis, it ranged from 0.54 to 1.13 percent, with an average of 0.87 percent. The sugar content of lablab seeds ranged from 4.2 to 10.1 percent by dry weight, with a mean concentration of 6.2 percent. The predominant fatty acids in lablab seed oil were C18:2 (Linoleic acid: 53.5 percent), C16:0 (Palmitic acid: 15.8 percent), and C18:3 (Linolenic acid: 14.1 percent ). The total saturated fatty acid content of lablab seed ranged from 21.0 to 24.9 percent, with a mean of 22.2 percent. The total amount of unsaturated fatty acids in lablab seed ranged from 74.8 to 78.9 percent, compared to a mean of 77.6 percent. Based on Al, P, K, and S concentrations (ppm) in lablab biomass (110 to 554, 2400 to 3200, 20300 to 24700, and 1900 to 2400, respectively), lablab biomass may also be a potential feed stock for bio-ethanol. One advantage of using lablab biomass as a feedstock for bioethanol will be the lablab’s symbiotic N fixation, which could reduce/eliminate the use of N fertilizers. Lablab was determined to be a potential forage and grain crop in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America.

Author (s) Details

Dr. Harbans L. Bhardwaj
Agricultural Research Station, Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia, USA.

Dr. Anwar A. Hamama,
Agricultural Research Station, Virginia State University, Petersburg, Virginia, USA.

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