Native to the Northeastern India-Burma region of Asia. The Mung Bean is cultivated most extensively in the India-Burma-Thailand region of Southeastern Asia as well as in other countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Vietnam and China.
The Mung Bean is grown principally for its high protein seeds for human consumption, while it can also be utilized as fodder for livestock or as a green manure. Mung Bean is a short season crop adapted to multiple cropping systems in the drier and warmer climates of the lowland tropics and subtropics. It is an erect to sub-erect plant, very hairy, much branched and grows to a height of 1 - 5 ft. Flowers are pale yellow and crowded in clusters of 10 - 25. Pods are black or brown, 3 - 5 in long, each containing 10-15 seeds. Seeds are small, globose or oblong. Most varieties have green seeds although in some it is yellow, brown, marbled black or marbled brown.
Mung Bean are annual plants propagated by seeds. Temperatures of 28o - 30o C are optimum for seed germination and plant growth. The plants require 60 to 90 days from planting to maturity. In general, Mung Beans grow well on warm sandy soils. Seedling and foliar diseases may destroy plantings in areas of humidity and rain fall. It is recommended to plant in moist soils on 1 m raised beds (especially if heavy rain is expected). Seeds should planted at a depth of 3-4 cm, with 5 cm between each plant and rows 50 cm apart. It is relatively drought tolerant and is favored by dry weather during pod ripening to facilitate seed harvesting. Mung Bean would benefit from irrigation if available. Fertilizers are recommended on soils with low fertility. Commercial fertilizers should be well worked into the soil before seeding. For best results lime highly acid soils to a slightly acidic level. Some places may be able to plant a Spring, Summer and Fall crop.
Harvesting and Seed Production
Mung Beans do not mature uniformly. If possible, the beans should be harvested with 2 to 4 handpickings, at an interval of 10 to 15 days. Otherwise, the beans can be harvested when one-half to two-thirds of the pods are mature although some loss must be expected due to shattering. Clean the beans quickly of all moisture containing trash and spread out thinly to dry before storing.
Pests and Diseases
Mung Beans are susceptible to attack by Mexican bean beetle, weevils, bean flies, leaf hopper, plant bugs, pod borers, aphids and spider mites. Most injurious are weevils which can entirely destroy the value of the seed for food, planting, sprouting or storage. Mung Beans are also susceptible to attack by powdery mildew, leaf spot, and other virus, bacteria and fungi. Virus control is aided by destroying infected plant materials and by control of aphids, leafhoppers and beetles that serve as virus vectors.
Cooking and Nutrition
Mung Bean seeds are prepared by cooking, fermenting, milling or sprouting. They are utilized in making soups, curries, breads, sweets, noodles, solids and other culinary products. Among the pulses it is favored for children and the elderly because of its ease in digestibility. Protein content of seeds averages 22-24 percent and when combined in the diet with grains it provides a balanced amino acid content.