The Hidden Half


This Tepary bean, Phaseolus acutifolius, is native to Mexico and can grow in extremely dry conditions. Bean and pea plants both belong to the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family of plants and are grown all over the world as important sources of protein.

The high levels of oligosaccharides in beans lead to the unfortunate flatulence that can follow a meal of beans. These long chain carbohydrates are too large to be absorbed by our small intestine during digestion so pass to the large intestine. 

Image showing the root structure of a bean plant.

Once in the intestine bacteria living in the colon multiply leading to higher level of gas production as they respire. This added to the process of breaking down soluble fibre can lead to a higher level of flatulence.

The roots of this bean plant look very similar to those of the pea plant which is perhaps not surprising due to their close family relation.

3D Root Architecture

This video shows the development of a bean plant at 14 days growth. Having burst through the seed wall the shoot and root material then grow rapidly with many primary, secondary and lateral roots developing to make a complex system of overlaying roots. 

The Hidden Half

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