The mung bean, Vigna radiata (L.) R.Wilzek, also known as moong bean, green gram or mung is a member of the Fabaceae / Leguminosae family.
The annual, herbaceous plant grows straight and has many branches and grows between 30 to 150 cm tall. The leaves are alternate, trifoliate and 10 to 15 cm long. The individual leaflets are elliptical to ovate, possess pointed tips and are 5 to 10 cm long and 4 to 6.5 cm wide. Like the stem, they are very hairy.
The pale yellow to sulphur-yellow papilionaceous flowers are arranged in long-stemmed clusters with a small number of petals. Mung beans are mainly self-fertilising -- i.e. fertilisation occurs within the closed papilionaceous flower. The plant forms two long, cylindric pods once it has finished blossoming. The hairy, 4 to 10 cm long pods are green at first and then turn dark brown to black when ripe. They contain between 7 to 20 brownish or yellowish-green seeds with a clearly visible hilum. They can be round and swollen, but also elongated or square with round edges.
Mung beans have a pure protein content of 24.0 to 25.6 %. The pure protein’s amino acid composition is qualitatively very high given the high lysin content of a maximum of 9.4 per 16g N. Additionally, mung beans contain essential amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, threonine, cysteine, tryptophan, methionine, phenylalanine and valine. It’s net fat content is low at 1.3 % and consists of more than 50 % unsaturated fatty acids. It contains 69.2 % carbohydrates, 4.9 % raw fibre and 3.9 % ash. Additionally, the seeds of the mung bean contain a number of vitamins (vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, niacin, folic acid, vitamins C, E and K) and minerals (including high levels of calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorous), as well as iron, a very important trace element.