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Chemical and biochemical components of Beach pea (Lathyrus maritimus L.)
Ethiopia: Grass pea - a blessing and a curse
Lathyrus sativus , also known as grass pea , cicerchia , blue sweet pea , chickling pea , chickling vetch , Indian pea ,  white pea  and white vetch ,  is a legume family Fabaceae commonly grown for human consumption and livestock feed in Asia and East Africa. The seeds contain a neurotoxin that causes lathyrism , a neurodegenerative disease, if eaten as a primary protein source for a prolonged period. Like other legumes, it improves the nitrogen content of soil. The crop can survive drought or floods ,  but grows best in moist soils. It tolerates a range of soil types from light sandy through loamy to heavy clay, and acid, neutral, or alkaline soils. It does not tolerate shade.
It's a great plant - hell, it will even grow in the UK, but it's tragic that excessive consumption can be so harmful. Let's hope their research is successful. I wonder whether anyone has investigated the effects of fermentation on the ODAP levels - could it be made into some sort of miso or tempeh type product with reduced neurotoxic effects? I just grow it for its pretty blue flowers. I won't eat it, though.
Lathyrism, a disease caused by consuming a lot of grass pea, has been affecting thousands in Ethiopia. A two days regional workshop on Lathyrism was held on October 6 and 7, , in Bahir-Dar city, Ethiopia. The main objective was to create awareness among participants from the region, zone, district and together with DCA initiate a joint action as a way forward to reduce the impact of Lathyrism.