Pulses are also known as legumes or lentils. Pulses are seeds from the legume plant family and lentils are a pulse. Legumes (beans) are among the oldest cultivated plants. In fact, fossil records demonstrate that prehistoric people domesticated and cultivated legumes for food. Today, this extremely large category of vegetables contains over 13,000 species and is second only to grains in supplying calories and protein to the world's population. There are various types of pulses which differ in colour, shape, size and taste. Pulses are important food crops due to their high protein and essential amino acid content. Like many leguminous crops, pulses play a key role in crop rotation due to their ability to fix nitrogen.