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Legume bioactive compounds: influence of rhizobial inoculation

1 CICS-UBI-Health Sciences Research Centre, University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal
2 LEPABE-Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
3 Polytechnic Institute of Castelo Branco, Superior School of Health Dr. Lopes Dias, Castelo Branco, Portugal
4 Departamento de Microbiología y Genética and Instituto Hispanoluso de Investigaciones Agrarias (CIALE), Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain
5 Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiología, IRNASA-CSIC, Salamanca, Spain
6 Unidad Asociada Universidad de Salamanca-CSIC “Interacción Planta-Microorganismo”, Salamanca, Spain

Special Issues: Plant probiotic bacteria: solutions to feed the World

Legumes consumption has been recognized as beneficial for human health, due to their content in proteins, fiber, minerals and vitamins, and their cultivation as beneficial for sustainable agriculture due to their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in symbiosis with soil bacteria known as rhizobia. The inoculation with these baceria induces metabolic changes in the plant, from which the more studied to date are the increases in the nitrogen and protein contents, and has been exploited in agriculture to improve the crop yield of several legumes. Nevertheless, legumes also contain several bioactive compounds such as polysaccharides, bioactive peptides, isoflavones and other phenolic compounds, carotenoids, tocopherols and fatty acids, which makes them functional foods included into the nutraceutical products. Therefore, the study of the effect of the rhizobial inoculation in the legume bioactive compounds content is gaining interest in the last decade. Several works reported that the inoculation of different genera and species of rhizobia in several grain legumes, such as soybean, cowpea, chickpea, faba bean or peanut, produced increases in the antioxidant potential and in the content of some bioactive compounds, such as phenolics, flavonoids, organic acids, proteins and fatty acids. Therefore, the rhizobial inoculation is a good tool to enhance the yield and quality of legumes and further studies on this field will allow us to have plant probiotic bacteria that promote the plant growth of legumes improving their functionality.
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