The Ultimate Falafel – Yissum Introduces New Chickpea Varieties with
High Nutritional Values and Better Adaptation to Limited Rainfall
Yissum, the Research and Development Company of the Hebrew University at Jerusalem introduces new chickpea varieties, which retain high nutritional values yet exhibit improved synchronization between flowering and the rainy season to increase yield. The new varieties were developed by Professor Shahal Abbo, The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University.
The chickpea ranks second among the world's food legumes. The majority of the crop is cultivated in India, where it is an important staple diet component which supplies starch and protein to the predominantly vegetarian Indian population. Chickpea is also very popular among vegetarians in Western countries. Chickpea also contains lutein, an important antioxidant whose intake is associated with lower risk of macular degeneration (blindness). For these reasons, the nutritional value of chickpea grains is highly important for human health in both developing countries and industrialized nations.
The new chickpea varieties were developed by Prof. Abbo using non-GMO breeding technologies, and are characterized by larger seeds, high lutein content, moderate tolerance to fungal infection and improved synchronization between flowering and the rainy season to increase yield.
"Chickpea is not only a staple diet component in large areas of the globe, but also an important health food in Western countries and its consumption is rising steadily. Therefore, the new varieties, developed by Prof. Abbo using non-GMO techniques, are highly important for human health in developing countries, and may promote marketing in industrialized nations," said Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum. "We therefore anticipate that the new varieties developed at the Hebrew University offer a unique business opportunity. Yissum is now looking for partners for further development and commercialization of this invention," concluded Michlin.
Chickpea production has increased over the past 30 years from 6.6 million metric tons to over 10 million metric tons, and although the majority of this crop is grown in India for domestic use, it is also an important domestic and export crop in several countries, including the USA and Australia.
Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. was founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the Hebrew University’s intellectual property. Products based on Hebrew University technologies that have been commercialized by Yissum currently generate $2 Billion in annual sales. Ranked among the top technology transfer companies in the world, Yissum has registered over 7,700 patents covering 2,200 inventions; has licensed out 580 technologies and has spun out 74 companies. Yissum’s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Novartis, Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Intel, Teva and many more. For further information please visit www.yissum.co.il .