The Guar or cluster bean (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba) is an annual legume and the source of guar gum. It is also known as Gavar, Guwar or Guvar bean.
This legume is a very valuable plant within a crop rotation cycle, as it lives in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. In fact, agriculturists in semi-arid regions of Rajasthan follow crop-rotation and use Guar as a source to replenish the soil with essential organic fertilizers and nitrogen fixation, before the next crop.
Guar as a plant has a multitude of different functions for human and animal nutrition but its gelling agent containing seeds (guar gum) are today the most important use.
It comprises many essential Vitamins, namely Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folates, and rich in carbohydrates.
Fig: Guar or Cluster bean
Guar is very drought-tolerant and sun-loving, but it is very susceptible to frost. Even though it can cope with little but regular rainfall, it requires sufficient soil moisture before planting and during maturation of seeds. Frequent drought periods can lead to delayed maturation. On the contrary, too much moisture during early phase of growth and after maturation lead to lower seed quality.
Cyamopsis tetragonoloba (L.) can grow on a wide range of different soil types. Preferably in fertile, medium-textured and sandy loam soils that are well-drained because water logging decreases plant performance. In respect of soil acidity, guar grows best in moderate alkaline conditions (pH 7-8) and is tolerant of salinity. Thanks to its taproots which are inoculated with rhizobia nodules, it produces nitrogen-rich biomass and improves soil quality.
Soil temperature > 21 °C (optimum: 30 °C); monsoon-regions: after first rain event in June or early July
Seed use: 10–30 kg/ha, biomass use: 50–100 kg/ha
Row spacing: seed use: 45–60 cm, biomass use: 30–45 cm
Fertilizer: Nitrogen is not necessary, Phosphorus is often limiting, Use only Certified Organic Inputs.
Plant Protection from Weeding: young guar plants development is very susceptible to weed concurrence; well and early prepared seedbeds help to reduce weed pressure.
Harvest seed pods: dry, brown, 60–90 days after sowing; biomass: first lower pods turn brown.
Fig: Guar or Cluster bean Crop
- Cluster beans are rich source of proteins, dietary fiber.
- it comprises many essential Vitamins, namely Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folates, and rich in carbohydrates,
- It also contains minerals namely, phosphorous, calcium, iron, potassium and with zero cholesterol and fats.
- It contains low calories and it posses low glycemic index.
- Cluster beans are being used as vegetables along with other food items like tamarind, grated coconut and tomatoes to lessen the bitter taste of cluster beans, to get health benefits.
- Cluster beans also provide relief from colitis, Irritable bowel syndrome, and crohn’s disease.
- Due to the presence of potassium, it improves heart health, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and lowers cholesterol levels.
- Due to the presence of phosphorous and calcium, it strengthens bones and improves bone health while the presence of iron improves hemoglobin content in RBC’s and improves oxygen intake capacity of the blood, thereby improves better circulation of blood.
- As it is rich in folic acid content, it can be used as best supplement vegetable food source to treat the deficiency of folic acid disorder in pregnant and lactating women.
- As it posses hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic properties, it is considered as one of the better vegetable food source for both diabetic and hypertension patients.