Chickpea (Cicer arietinum)

Chickpea belongs to the Fabaceae family and is the second most grown food legume worldwide after the common beans. It was domesticated in the Fertile Crescent, and chickpea cultivation has spread throughout the Mediterranean Basin, central Asia, and Africa (Rocchetti et al., 2020).

There are two main cultivated types of chickpea: the ‘Desi’ type, which is characterized by purple flowers and small dark seeds, and is mostly grown in the Indian sub-continent and Ethiopia; and the ‘Kabuli’ type, which has white flowers and large light seeds, and is mainly consumed in the Mediterranean Basin (Boukid, 2021).

In the Mediterranean area, chickpea is usually grown in the spring–summer season, relying on the residual moisture of the soil. However, many studies conducted in Mediterranean countries have shown that the mild winter conditions of this area offer the possibility to sow chickpea in autumn, with increased yield and yield stability (Iliadis, 2001). However, breeding efforts to develop novel chickpea varieties that are better adapted to European agro-ecosystems are still lacking although national activities and recent projects are now growing due to the stimulus of consumer demand and market trends (Bellucci et al., 2021). It is traditionally commercialised as seeds, flour or canned foods. In the frame of alternative protein sources, chickpea emerged as a rich source of dietary proteins (17–22%) that can be dryor wet-extracted

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