Using Mung Beans in the Lab


Mung beans are cheap, reliable and easy to germinate, and offer a useful way to look at the germination process.


  • Plant growth: Using hydroponics to explore what plants need to grow. Resource: What do plants need to grow?
  • Enzymes: Resource: Phosphatase enzymes in plants
  • Idea: Explore whether bean roots always grow downwards
  • Idea: Investigate the effect of light on growing seedlings
  • Idea: Investigate the effect of water on growing seeedlings
  • Idea: Observing sprouting mung bean root hair cells

Teaching Topics

  • Cells
  • Plant Growth
  • Plant Nutrition
  • Hydroponics


Mung Beans, Vigna radiata

Mung beans are legumes (members of the Fabaceae family), and are most commonly used in the UK for growing nutritious bean sprouts. Mung beans are annuals, growing up to about 1m in height. The first flowers appear seven to eight weeks after planting and the crop reaches maturity in 12 to 14 weeks. The mung bean plant comes originally from India, but is now widespread throughout the tropics.

Growing and sourcing

Obtaining: Buy fresh seeds from suppliers including Blades Biological. Seeds must be fresh to germinate.

Propagating: Germinate from seeds. This video demonstrates the germination of mung beans with both cotyledons and roots visible. As demonstrated in the film, mung beans can be planted in a clear tank using a seed compost to observe root formation.

Compost: Use a seed compost for germinating these seeds.

Light: Light is needed only once the cotyledons are ready to open. A windowsill is suitable.

Water: Keep damp without soaking.

Temperature: A warm room is suitable.

Feeding: There’s no need to feed these seedlings.

Notes: Look out for signs of ‘Damping-off” in your seedlings.

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