Cluster Bean (colloquial: Gavar, Guwar, Guar, Guvar Bean) is an annual legume and the source of guar gum. This legume is a very valuable plant within a crop rotation cycle, as it lives in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. In fact, agriculturists in semi-arid regions of Rajasthan follow crop-rotation and use guar as a source to replenish the soil with essential fertilizers and nitrogen fixation, before the next crop. Guar as a plant has a multitude of different functions for human and animal nutrition but its gelling-agent-containing seeds (guar gum) are today the most important use.
Demand is rising rapidly due to industrial use of guar gum in hydraulic fracturing (oil shale gas). About 80% of world production occurs in India and Pakistan, but due to strong demand, the plant is being introduced into new areas. Guar is very drought-tolerant and sun-loving, but it is very susceptible to frost. Even though it can cope with little but regular rainfall, it requires sufficient soil moisture before planting and during maturation of seeds. Frequent drought periods can lead to delayed maturation. On the contrary, too much moisture during early phase of growth and after maturation lead to lower seed quality.
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