Food Science and Technology Department


First Advisor

Kaustav Majumder

Second Advisor

Bijesh Maharjan

Third Advisor

Carlos Urrea-Florez

Date of this Version



Jundt, E. 2023. Optimizing Soil Nutrient Management to Improve Dry Edible Bean Yield and Protein Quality.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Food Science and Technology, Under the supervision of Professor Kaustav Majumder and Professor Bijesh Maharjan. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2023

Copyright © 2023 Emily Jundt-Bodfield


Soil nutrient management is of the utmost importance to ensure crop yields are maximized to feed the world’s growing population. Micro and macronutrient deficiencies can be detrimental to plant growth and cause a drastic reduction in yield. Optimization of nutrient management needs extensive research. Nutrients such as nitrogen increase crop yield, even in legumes capable of using a large amount of nitrogen (N) via biological N fixation. Iron (Fe) fertilizers are also crucial for legumes as they are susceptible to Fe deficiency induced chlorosis.

Dry edible beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are leguminous plants and excellent dietary protein sources. Great Northern (GN) beans are a market class of dry edible beans and a major agricultural commodity in Nebraska. Soil nutrient management with N fertilizer can enhance bean production by increasing N uptake, improving protein quantity and quality, and result in a potential economic benefit to bean farmers. Soil nutrient management with Fe fertilizers can combat iron chlorosis and increase bean yield.

Thus, this study aims to evaluate and optimize the effects of N treatment on GN bean yield, total protein, soluble protein, digestibility, and intestinal absorption. This study also aims to evaluate the effects of Fe fertilizers on GN bean yield. Results concluded that N treatment at a

rate of 140 kg/ha was successful at increasing GN bean yield, total protein, soluble protein, digestibility, and intestinal absorption compared to the control, which had no added N. Results also concluded that Fe fertilizer, regardless of source and application type, had no significant effect on GN bean yield.

As the demand for plant-based protein grows, it brings a large market for legume proteins that can be optimized with N management. N management to enhance dry bean yield, protein content, digestibility, and intestinal absorption will benefit the growing population and ensure nutritious plant-based protein sources are available.

Advisors: Kaustav Majumder and Bijesh Maharjan