Kesar dal to be made non-toxic

Forty years after its ban, experts in food poisoning are collecting vital scientific data to find out if Kesar dal is dangerous to human health, and if so, how to reduce its toxicity. The res-earch is important from the economic and nutrition point of view, as Kesar dal costs Rs 20 a kg and is high in nutrition. It has been linked to a health condition called Lathyrism, but there’s no conclusive evidence.

The National Institute of Nutrition here is the nodal agency on Kesar dal research and experts feel that there is ample scope to turn the pulse into a potent food crop, using detoxification methods and genetic modifications.

Though in use for thousands of years, it was declared unfit for human consumption due to its alleged toxicity, and banned in many states including AP.

Biomedical scientists, toxicologists, clinicians and food technologists, who met at the NIN on Thursday, exchanged data and formulated strategies to make better use of Kesar dal.

Dr G.S. Toteja, director, Desert Medicine Research Centre, Jodhpur, said production of pulses in India was to the tune of 17 million tonnes, when the dem-and is 21 million tonnes. “Kesar dal, if promoted, would fill the gap,” he said.

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