Mung bean (Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilczek) is an important food and cash crop in the rice-based farming systems of South and Southeast Asia. It is a legume cultivated for its edible seeds and sprouts, and also as animal feed. Alternative spellings include mungbean and moong bean, and it is also called green gram There are 3 subgroups of Vigna radiata: one is cultivated (Vigna radiata subsp. radiata), and two are wild (Vigna radiata subsp.sublobata and Vigna radiata subsp. glabra).
Mung bean (Vigna radiata) used to be known as Phaseolus aureus Roxb. before many Phaseolus species were moved to the Vigna genus (Lambrides, C. J. ; Godwin, I. D., 2006. Mungbean. In: Chittarajan, K.,Genome Mapping and Molecular Breeding in Plants, 3: 69-90). Mung bean, Vigna radiata, is a different species from Vigna mungo, which is usually called black gram or urdbean.
Short crop duration, low input requirements and high global demand make mungbean an ideal rotation crop for smallholder farmers. It generates a triple benefit: additional income, additional nutrient-rich food, and increased soil fertility. However, investment in mungbean variety improvement has been low, leading to a narrow genetic base for the crop. Consequently, current mungbean varieties lack key traits to cope with emerging pests, diseases and seasonal variability, which constrains production.
Mungbean has a diploid chromosome number of 2n=22.
The plant is an annual, erect or semi-erect, reaching a height of 0.15-1.25 m (FAO, 2012. Grassland Index. A searchable catalogue of grass and forage legumes. FAO, Rome, Italy; Lambrides et al., 2006; Mogotsi, K. K., 2006. Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilczek. In: Brink, M. & Belay, G. (Editors). PROTA 1: Cereals and pulses/Céréales et légumes secs. [CD-Rom]. PROTA, Wageningen, Netherlands).
It is slightly hairy with a well-developed root system. Wild types tend to be prostrate while cultivated types are more erect (Lambrides et al., 2006). The stems are many-branched, sometimes twining at the tips (Mogotsi, 2006). The leaves are alternate, trifoliolate with elliptical to ovate leaflets, 5-18 cm long x 3-15 cm broad. The flowers (4-30) are papillonaceous, pale yellow or greenish in colour. The pods are long, cylindrical, hairy and pending. They contain 7 to 20 small, ellipsoid or cube-shaped seeds. The seeds are variable in colour: they are usually green, but can also be yellow, olive, brown, purplish brown or black, mottled and/or ridged. Seed colours and presence or absence of a rough layer are used to distinguish different types of mung bean (Lambrides et al., 2006; Mogotsi, 2006).
Cultivated types are generally green or golden and can be shiny or dull depending on the presence of a texture layer (Lambrides et al., 2006). Golden gram, which has yellow seeds, low seed yield and pods that shatter at maturity, is often grown for forage or green manure. Green gram has bright green seeds, is more prolific and ripens more uniformly, with a lower tendency for pods to shatter. In India, two other types of mung beans exist, one with black seeds and one with brown seeds (Mogotsi, 2006). The mung bean resembles the black gram (Vigna mungo L.) with two main differences: the corolla of Vigna mungo is bright yellow while that of Vigna radiata is pale yellow; mung bean pods are pendulous whereas they are erect in black gram. Mung bean is slightly less hairy than black gram. Mung bean is sown on lighter soils than black gram (Göhl, B., 1982. Les aliments du bétail sous les tropiques. FAO, Division de Production et Santé Animale, Roma, Italy).
Genomic Resources for Mungbean
- Genome sequence of mungbean and insights into evolution within Vigna species
- Genomic resources in mungbean for future breeding programs
- Heterosis and Combining ability studies in mungbean: Genetic architecture for economic traits in genetically diverse lines of mungbean (Vigna radiata L.)
- The use of characterisation data to establish the Indian mungbean core collection and assessment of genetic diversity
- The AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center mungbean (Vigna radiata) core and mini core collections
- Genome-wide SNP discovery in mungbean by Illumina HiSeq.
- Characterization of new microsatellite markers in mung bean, Vigna radiata (L.)
- Construction of a genetic linkage map and genetic analysis of domestication related traits in mungbean (Vigna radiata)