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seeds is needed, including protein content, amino acid composition and nutritional availability, carbohydrate content and composition, fat content and fatty acid makeup, energy availability, and functional characteristics. Because of its radically different style of preparation from normal beans, it is important that the percentage of utilizable protein be assessed. (Antimetabolic factors may be less deactivated during a few minutes of toasting than in several hours of boiling, although, with the higher temperature, this seems improbable.)

Collections of seed should be made at the southernmost limits of nuña cultivation, and trials to identify types adapted for long daylength should be set up. In addition, any other methods for circumventing daylength limitations should be investigated.10 Successful trials are likely to be the key to unlocking the nuña's global potential. However, breeding for other traits is also needed because the plants are currently late-maturing, tall and weak, and susceptible to diseases such as anthracnose.

SPECIES INFORMATION

Botanical Name Phaseolus vulgaris Linnaeus

Family Leguminosae (Fabaceae)

Common Names

Quechua: ñuñas (Cajamarca, La Libertad, Trujillo, Lima); numia (Huanuco), nambia (Ancash), nudia and hudia (Cuzco), kopuro (Bolivia); chuvi, poroto, purutu, porotillo

Spanish: nuñas

English: nuñas, popping beans, popbeans

Origin. Observations of ancient beans discovered at the Guitarrero Cave in Ancash, Peru, indicate that nuñas may have been available 11,000 years ago.11 Thus, nuñas existed well before the Incas, and perhaps before the common (frijol) type, itself. Because of their ancient beginnings, nuñas have been called “a kind of witness of the first steps of plant domestication.”

Description. The morphology of the nuña plant is identical to that of the common bean. It is an indeterminate, climbing vine (2–3 m tall) that produces a large number of pods from abundant flowers that are primarily self-fertilized. Bush types may exist, but are unreported.

Like the common bean, each pod contains 5–7 seeds. Most seeds


10 Work at CIAT has shown that photoperiod sensitivity may be overcome through use of 8-hour photoperiods. Information from J. White.
11 For further information, see Kaplan and Kaplan, 1988.


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