Lathyrus sativus (grass pea) and its neurotoxin ODAP

Ze Yi Yan, Peter S. Spencer, Zhi Xiao Li, Yong Min Liang, Ya Fu Wang, Chun Ying Wang, Fen Min Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Lathyrus sativus (grass pea) is a high-yielding, drought-resistant legume consumed as a food in Northern India and neighboring countries as well as in Ethiopia. Its development into an important food legume, however, has been hindered by the presence of the neurotoxin - β-N-oxalyl-L-α,β- diaminopropionic acid (β-ODAP) in seeds which, if consumed in large quantities for prolonged periods, can cause irreversible paralysis. Recently, some low-toxin lines have been developed that may prove safe for both animal and human foods. Cultivation of L. sativus should thus be considered in suitable regions because the demand for legume animal feed protein products is expected to increase. This paper addresses advances in understanding L. sativus from the perspective of its taxonomy, genetics, ecology, chemistry, nutrition, medicine, biology and for animal nutrition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-121
Number of pages15
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Lathyrus sativus
  • Leguminosae
  • Neurotoxin
  • Nutrition
  • ODAP
  • Protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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