Ongoing Quinoa Research Projects
- Safiullah Pathan (PI). Evaluation of Promising Quinoa Lines in the Midwest for Enhanced Food Security and Sustainability. Funding source: USDA-NIFA-CBG
- Safiullah Pathan (PI). Optimizing Production Practices of Nutrient-rich Leafy Green Quinoa under Field and High Tunnel Environment. Funding source: NIFA-Evans-Allen
- Safiullah Pathan (PI). Assessment of Nutritional, Bioactive Components and Human Health Benefits of Green Leaves of Quinoa. Funding source: USDA-NIFA-CBG
Quinoa is a nutritious crop that has been cultivated for thousands of years in South American countries, owing to its ability to withstand drought and salt, among its capacity to grow in poor soil with minimum inputs. Quinoa is a summer annual belonging to the family Amaranthaceae, which also includes the popular table vegetables spinach and amaranth. Quinoa grain is gluten-free, rich in protein and contains all essential amino acids, important minerals and vitamins that one needs. Nutrient-rich quinoa grain is eaten worldwide as a health food, sometimes referred to as a superfood. The United States is the world's largest consumer and importer of quinoa grains. In 2020, U.S. imported about 35,000 tons, with 90% from Peru and Bolivia. A small amount is produced in U.S. Northwestern states; however, no production resides in the Midwest.
Like quinoa grains, quinoa greens (quinoa green leaves, sprouts, and microgreens) are rich in nutritional value and health promoting properties such as antimicrobial, anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-obesity, antioxidant, and cardio-beneficial. Quinoa greens are gluten-free and provide an excellent source of protein, amino acids, essential minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. However, consumption of quinoa greens, as vegetables, are less common. Quinoa greens represent a promising value-added vegetable that could resolve malnutrition problems and contribute to food and nutritional security. The greens can be grown year-round (in fields, high tunnels, and/or greenhouses) and have short growth durations. Taste survey participants believe the taste, texture and flavor of quinoa greens were equal to or better than spinach. Popular methods of cooking green leaves consist of stir-frying, sautéing, steaming, and eating sprouts and microgreens as salad greens. Adding nutrient-rich quinoa leafy greens as a value-added specialty vegetable in American food chains will benefit under-representative and socially disadvantaged groups, such as minority and limited-resourced farmers as well as consumers.
- Evaluation of promising quinoa lines and selection of most suitable lines in the Midwest
- Production and promotion of quinoa grains as a nutrient-rich value added climate-smart commodity, as a drought, salinity and cold-tolerant crop
- Production, promotion, and marketing of quinoa greens as nutrient-rich value added specialty vegetable with short growth duration, requiring less water and fertilizer to grow
- Assessment of nutritional, bioactive components and human health benefits of green leaves of quinoa
- Promoting quinoa as a dual-purpose crop for grains and greens production
Quinoa Team Members:
Pathan, S., & Siddiqui, R. (2022). Nutritional composition and bioactive components in quinoa greens: A Review. Nutrients, 14-558.
Pathan, S. (2020). Quinoa greens: A promising new vegetable. Lincoln University Cooperative Research Guide Sheet LUCE GS#24-A-2020.
Pathan, S. (2020). LU of MO researcher studies nutritional value of quinoa. ARD Updates. 11(3), 3. www.umes.edu/ard.
Pathan, S., Eivazi, F., Valliyodan, B., Paul, K., Ndunguru, G., & Clark, K. (2019). Nutritional composition of the green leaves of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.). J. Food Res. 8(6), 55-65.
Pathan, S., Eivazi, F., Ndunguru, G., & Clark, K. (2019). Performance of promising quinoa lines in the Midwest. ARD 19th Biennial Research Symposium, 254, 157.
Pathan, S. (2016.) Quinoa: An alternative cash crop for marginal farmers in the Midwestern states. Down to Earth, 7(1), 3-5.