Dil Thavarajah

Associate Professor of Pulse Quality and Nutrition
Clemson University School of Health Faculty Research Scholar
Agricultural and Environmental Science Department, Plant and Environmental Sciences Department

Office: 270 P&A
Phone: 864-656-2607
Fax: 864-656-4960

Email: dthavar@clemson.edu
Personal Website: https://www.clemson.edu/cafls/organic-breeding/orei/index.html

 Educational Background

Ph.D Plant Physiology
University of Saskatchewan, Canada 2006

MSc Soil Sciecne
University of Saskatchewan, Canada 2002

BSc Soil Science
University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka 1996

 Courses Taught

1. HORT 4560: Vegetable Crops (Spring - odd years)
2. PES 4760: Global Food Security (Fall - odd years)


Dr. Thavarajah is currently leading Clemson University's pulse biofortification research program to combat malnutrition and obesity. Dil started the first USA Pulse Quality and Nutrition Laboratory at North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, in 2010. Before these positions, Dr. Thavarajah worked at the Canadian lentil biofortification program at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Dil is internationally recognized as a leader in lentil biofortification, especially for iron and selenium. Dil advises graduate and undergraduate students and serves as an honorary visiting lecturer, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka, and an advisor to the ICARDA Lentil Biofortification program.

 Research Interests

Dr. Thavarajah has a broader interest in understanding the genetic biofortification of lentil, field pea, and chickpea to improve human nutrition. Global nutritional security is one of the primary focuses of this program. The goal is to develop nutritionally enhanced lentil and field pea cultivars for both organic and conventional cropping systems around the world. The nutritional targets are prebiotic carbohydrates, protein quality, minerals (Fe, Zn, and Se), folates, and carotenoids. My program is closely working with ICARDA – Morocco, USDA-ARS – Washington State University, and Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC). Dr. Thavarajah leads Clemson University Pulse Crop Quality and Nutrition, Organic Field Pea Nutritional Breeding programs.

Major Grants
1. AFRI-NIFA-OREI: Breeding biofortified field pea for organic systems
2. AFRI-NIFA Foundation: Genomics of lentil prebiotic carbohydrates
3. USDA-ARS-PHI: Improving the nutritional value of chickpea
4. The Good Food Institute: Organic field pea protein ingredients
5. USAID: Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Crop Improvement

 Extension and Outreach

"Tiger Gardens": healthy home gardens to combat malnutrition and obesity in SC, USA.
"Lunch Box" - http://newsstand.clemson.edu/clemson-students-promote-healthy-eating-with-lunchbox-garden/
"Farm to table: Meet 5 Tigers who are working to eliminate hunger, malnutrition and obesity"


Publications (Peer-Reviewed)

*Undergraduate student; †Graduate student; ‡Senior author,

1. Michael Smathers*, Nathan Johnson, Pushparajah Thavarajah, Shiv Kumar, Dil Thavarajah‡ 2019, Moisture Stress Influences Starch Granule Formation in Lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus). In a submission to Plants.
2. Sarita Pandey, Manish Roorkiwal, Dil Thavarajah, Hemalatha R, Rajeev Varshney‡ 2019. Genetic mechanisms of micronutrient acquisition and storage in legumes towards global nutritional security. Plant Biotechnology Journal, PBI-01142-2019.
3. Nathan Johnson†. Casey Johnson, Pushparajah Thavarajah, Shiv Kumar, Dil Thavarajah‡ 2019. Lentil prebiotic carbohydrates play a vital role in human and plant health. Plants, People, Planet, PPP-R-2019-00112.
4. Sarah Powers†, Dil Thavarajah‡ 2019. Checking Agriculture’s Pulse: Field Pea (Pisum sativum L.), Sustainability, and Phosphorus Use Efficiency. Frontiers in Plant Sciences, 10:1489.
5. Dil Thavarajah‡., Siva, N., Johnson, N., McGee, R., Thavarajah, P. 2019. Organic cover crops influence subsequent kale (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala) biomass production and nutrient composition. Scientific Report, 9(1):10374.
6. George Vandemark‡, Thavarajah, S., Siva, N., Thavarajah, Dil‡. 2019. Genotype and environment effects on prebiotic carbohydrate concentrations in kabuli chickpea cultivars and breeding lines grown in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Frontiers in Plant Sciences, 467809.
7. Siva†, N., Thavarajah, P., Thavarajah Dil‡, 2019. Prebiotic carbohydrate concentrations of common bean and chickpea change during cooking, cooling, and reheating. Journal of Food Science - JFDS-2019-0570.
8. Siva†, N, Thavarajah P., Kumar, S., Thavarajah, Dil‡, 2019. Prebiotic carbohydrates in pulse crops towards improve human health. Frontiers in Nutrition, 6:38.
9. Siva†, N., Johnson, C.R., Vincent R., Jesch, E., Whiteside, W., Thavarajah, P., Duckett, S., Thavarajah Dil‡ 2018. Lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus) diet affects the gut microbiome and obesity markers in rat. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 66 (33):8805-8813.
10. Siva†, N, P. Thavarajah, Thavarajah, Dil‡. 2018. The impact of processing and cooking on prebiotic carbohydrates in lentil. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 70:72-77.
11. Christopher, G‡, Beck, R., Thavarajah, Dil‡ 2018. Dietary reference intake and nutritional yield of lentils in the northern Great Plains. Crop Science, 58 (3): 1342-1348.
12. Gayani M.S*. Lokuge, J.K. Vidanarachchi‡., P. Thavarajah, N. Siva, Thavarajah, Dil‡., R. Liyanage, N. Balasooriya, J. Alwis 2018. Prebiotic carbohydrates and in vivo prebiotic effect of pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima) grown in Sri Lanka. Journal of National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, 46 (4): 477 – 485.
13. Kumar, J‡, Thavarajah, Dil‡, S. Kumar, A. Sarker, Narendra P 2018. Analysis of genetic variability and genotype × environment interactions for iron and zinc concentration among diverse genotypes of lentil. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 1-4.
14. Abeysekera, W.K.S.M., Arachchige, S.P.G., James, S., Sotheeswaran, S., Thavarajah, D., Thavarajah, P., 2018. Resistant starch content of thirty-eight selected rice (Oryza sativa L.) varieties of sri Lanka. Journal of Agriculture and Crops, 4(9), pp.93-98.
15. Dil Thavarajah‡, Pushparajah Thavarajah, Alex Abare, Indika Mapa, Clarice J. Coyne, Shiv Kumar. 2017. Selecting Lentil Accessions for Global Selenium Biofortification, Plants 6(3):34.
16. Indika Pathirana†, Pushparajah Thavarajah, Niroshan Siva, Anuradhi N. K. Wickramasinghe, Powell Smith, Thavarajah Dil‡, 2017. Moisture deficit effects on kale (Brassica oleracea L. var. acephala) biomass, mineral, and low molecular weight carbohydrate concentrations, Scientia Horticulturae 226:216-222.
17. Christopher, G‡, Thavarajah, Dil‡ 2017. Carbohydrate concentration in lentils (Lens culinaris Medikus.): genotypic and environmental effects. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 9:1-8.
18. Thavarajah P‡, Thavarajah Dil 2017. Calorie control to gut microbiome management- nutrient rich foods for body weight control. Advances in Obesity, Weight Management, and Control. 7(5):00212.
19. Siva†, N, Thavarajah, Dil‡, S. Duckett, J. Elliot, P. Thavarajah. 2017. Can lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus) reduce the risk of obesity? Journal of Functional Foods, 38 (B): 706-715.
20. Ekanayake†, LJ. Dil. Thavarajah‡, R. McGee, P. Thavarajah. 2017. Will selenium fertilization improve biological nitrogen fixation in lentils? Journal of Plant Nutrition, 40 (17): 2392-2401.
21. Thavarajah, Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, A. Abare*. S. Basnagala, C. Lacher, P. Smith, G. Combs Jr. 2016. Mineral Micronutrients and Prebiotic Carbohydrate Profiles of USA-grown Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala L.), Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 52:9-15.
22. Sen Gupta†, D., Dil. Thavarajah‡, T. Wang, RJ. McGee, CJ. Coyne, S. Kumar, P. Thavarajah 2016. Phenotyping cultivated and wild lentils for iron, zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium concentrations. Australian Journal of Crop Science, 10(10): 1381- 1387.
23. Sen Gupta†, D, P. Cheng, G. Sablok, Dil Thavarajah, P. Thavarajah, CJ. Coyne, S. Kumar, M. Baum, RJ. McGee‡ 2016. Development of a panel of unigene derived polymorphic EST-SSR markers in lentil using public database information. Crops Journal, 4(5), 425-433.
24. Migliozzi*, M., Dil Thavarajah‡, P. Thavarajah, P. Smith. 2015. Lentil and kale: complementary nutrient-rich whole food sources to combat micronutrient and calorie malnutrition. Nutrient, 7 (11): 9285-9298.
25. Thavarajah, Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, E. Viall, M. Gebhardt*, C. Lacher, S. Kumar, GF. Combs Jr. 2015. Will selenium increase lentil (Lens culinaris L.) yield and seed quality? Frontiers in Plant Sciences, 6:356.
26. Johnson†, CR, Dil Thavarajah‡, P. Thavarajah, A. Fenlason, R. McGee, S. Kumar, GF. Combs Jr. 2015. A global survey of low-molecular weight carbohydrates in lentils. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 44: 178-185.
27. Johnson†, CR, Dil. Thavarajah‡, P. Thavarajah, S. Payne, J. Moore, JB. Ohm 2015. Processing, Cooking, and Cooling affect Prebiotic Concentrations in Lentil (Lens culinaris L.). Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 38: 106-111.
28. Ekanayake† JE, Dil Thavarajah‡, E. Vial, B. Schatz, R. McGee, P. Thavarajah, 2015. The effect of selenium fertilization on lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus) grain yield, seed selenium concentration, and antioxidant activity, Field Crops Research 177, 9-14.
29. Amarakoon†, D., Dil Thavarajah‡, D. Sen Gupta, K. McPhee, T. Desutter, P. Thavarajah 2015. Genetic and Environmental Variation of Seed Iron and Food Matrix Factors of North Dakota Grown Field Peas (Pisum sativum L.). Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 37:67-74.
30. Nair‡, R, Dil Thavarajah, P. Thavarajah, RR. Giri, D. Ledesma, Ray-Yu Yang, P. Hanson, W. Easdown, J. d’A Hughes, J.D.H. (Dyno) Keatinge 2015. Mineral and phenolic concentrations of mungbean grown in semi-arid tropical India. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 39: 23-32.
31. Rahman† MM, W. Erskine‡, M. Materne, L. McMurray, P. Thavarajah, Dil Thavarajah, K. H.M. Siddique. 2015. Enhancing selenium concentration in lentil (Lens culinaris subsp. culinaris) through foliar application. Journal of Agricultural Science, 153 (4):656-665.
32. Sivapragasam† N, P. Thavarajah‡, JB Ohm, Dil Thavarajah. 2014. Surface properties of semi-synthetic enteric coating films: opportunities to develop bio-based enteric coating films for colon-targeted delivery. Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fiber, 4(2): 139-143.
33. Sivapragasam† N, P. Thavarajah‡, JB Ohm, K Margaret, Dil Thavarajah. 2014. Novel Starch-Based Nano Scale Enteric Coatings From Soybean Meal for Colon-Specific Delivery. Carbohydrate Polymers, 111: 273-279.
34. Sivapragasam† N, P. Thavarajah‡, JB Ohm, Dil Thavarajah. 2014. Enzyme Resistant Carbohydrate Based Micro-scale Materials from Sugar Beet (Beta vulgaris L.) Pulp for Food and Pharmaceutical Applications. Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre, 3 (2):115-121.
35. Ray H, K. Bett, B. Tar'an, A. Vandenberg, Dil Thavarajah, T. Warkentin‡. 2014. Mineral Micronutrient Content of Cultivars of Field Pea, Chickpea, Common Bean and Lentil grown in Saskatchewan, Canada. Crop Science, 54 (4):1698-1708.
36. Hwang* SH, P. Thavarajah‡, Dil Thavarajah. 2014. Phytoestrogen enriched tofu from soybean meal. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 5(3) 256-261.
37. Thavarajah P‡, Dil Thavarajah. 2014. Inaccuracies in Phytic Acid Measurement: Implications for Mineral Biofortification and Bioavailability. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 5(1).
38. Sivapragasam† N, P. Thavarajah‡, JB, Ohm, Dil Thavarajah. 2014. Surface properties of semi-synthetic enteric coating films: potential bio-based enteric coating films for colon- targeted delivery Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre, (2): 139-143.
39. Joseph, O‡, M. Phelomene, N. Helene, H. Valens, O. Patrick, Dil Thavarajah, P. Thavarajah. 2014. Phenolic Compound Profiles of Two Common Beans Consumed by Rwandans. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 5 (20): 2943.
40. Johnson† CR, Dil Thavarajah‡, GF, Combs Jr, P. Thavarajah. 2013. Lentil (Lens culinaris L.): A prebiotic-rich whole food legume. Food Research International, 51(1): 107-113.
41. Gupta† DS, Dil Thavarajah‡, P. Thavarajah, R. McGee, CJ. Coyne, S. Kumar. 2013. Lentils (Lens culinaris L.), a rich source of folates. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 61 (32): 7794–7799.
42. DellaValle DM, Dil. Thavarajah, P. Thavarajah, A. Vandenberg, RP. Glahn‡ 2013. Lentil (Lens culinaris L.) as a candidate crop for iron biofortification: is there genetic potential for Fe bioavailability? Field Crops Research 144: 119-125.
43. Thavarajah, Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, D. Amarakoon, A. Fenlason, CR Johnson, P. Knutson, T Warkentin, 2013. Changes in inositol phosphates in low phytic acid mutants and commercial cultivars of field pea (Pisum sativum L.) during germination and in response to fertilization. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 4: 251-256.
44. Nair, RM‡, RY Yang, WJ Easdown, Dil Thavarajah, P. Thavarajah, Jd’A Hughes, D. Keatinge. 2013. Biofortification of mungbean (Vigna radiata (L.) R. Wilczek var. radiata) as a whole food to enhance human health. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 93(8):1805–1813..
45. Johnson†, CR, Dil Thavarajah‡, P Thavarajah. 2013. Phenolics and phytic acid affecting iron bioavailability in lentil (Lens culinaris L.). Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 31(1): 82–86.
46. Doehlert, DC, Dil Thavarajah, P Thavarajah, JB Ohm, S Simsek‡. 2013. Detailed composition analyses of diverse oat genotype kernels grown in different environments in North Dakota. Cereal Chemistry, 90 (6):572-578..
47. Rahman† MM, W Erskine‡, MS Zaman, P. Thavarajah, Dil Thavarajah, K. Siddique, 2013. Selenium biofortification in lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus subsp. culinaris): Farmers' field survey and genotype x environment effect. Food Research International, 54 (2):1596-1604.
48. Thavarajah, Dil‡, P Thavarajah, 2012. Evaluation of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) micronutrient composition: Biofortification opportunities to combat global micronutrient malnutrition. Food Research International, 49 (1): 99-104.
49. Amarakoon†, D., Dil Thavarajah‡, K. McPhee, P. Thavarajah, 2012. Naturally low phytic acid field peas (Pisum sativum L.) with high micronutrient concentrations: a food-based solution to global micronutrient malnutrition. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, 27(1): 8-13.
50. Thavarajah, P‡, Dil Thavarajah, GA Premakumara, A. Vandenberg, 2012. Detection of Common Vetch (Vicia sativa L.) in Lentil (Lens culinaris L.) using unique chemical fingerprint markers. Food Chemistry, 135(4):2203-6.
51. Bueckert, R‡, Dil Thavarajah, P. Thavarajah, J. Pritchard, 2011. Phytic Acid and Mineral Micronutrients in Field Grown Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) Cultivars from Western Canada. European Food Research and Technology, 233(3):203-212.
52. Thavarajah, Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, A. Wejesuriya, M. Rutzke, RP. Glahn, GF Combs Jr, A. Vandenberg 2011. The potential of lentil (Lens culinaris L.) as a whole food for increased selenium, iron, and zinc intake: Preliminary results from a three-year study. Euphytica, 180 (1):123-128.
53. Nelson†, A., S. Quideau, B, Frick, P. Hucl, Dil Thavarajah, MJ, Clapperton, D., Spaner‡, 2011. The soil microbial community and grain micronutrient concentration of historical and modern hard red spring wheat cultivars grown organically and conventionally in the black soil zone of the Canadian Prairies. Plant Breeding for Sustainable Agriculture. Sustainability, 3(3):500-517.
54. Thavarajah, Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, A. Sarker, M. Materne, G. Vandemark, R. Shrestha, O. Idrissi, O. Hacikamiloglu, B. Bucak, A. Vandenberg, 2011. A global survey of effects of genotype and environment on selenium concentration in lentils (Lens culinaris L.): Implications for nutritional fortification strategies. Food Chemistry, 125:72–76.
55. Thavarajah, Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, CT. See, A. Vandenberg, 2010. Phytic acid and Fe and Zn concentration in lentil (Lens culinaris L.) seeds is influenced by temperature during seed filling period. Food Chemistry, 122: 254-259.
56. Thavarajah, Dil., T. Warkentin‡, A. Vandenberg, 2010. Natural enrichment of selenium in Saskatchewan field peas (Pisum sativum L.). Canadian Journal of Plant Sciences, 90: 383-389.
57. Thavarajah Dil, P. Thavarajah, A. Sarker, A. Vandenberg‡, 2009. Lentils (Lens culinaris Medikus subsp. culinaris): A whole food for increased iron and zinc intake. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 57(12): 5413-5419.
58. Thavarajah P, Dil Thavarajah, A. Vandenberg‡ 2009. Saskatchewan grown lentils; a natural food source with low phytic acid. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 57 (19): 9044–9049.
59. Thavarajah, Dil., J. Ruszkowski, A. Vandenberg‡. 2008. High potential for selenium biofortification of lentils (Lens culinaris L.). Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 56(22): 10747-10753.
60. Lemke, RL‡, SP. Mooleki, SS. Malhi, G. Lafond, S. Brandt, JJ. Schoenau, H. Wang, Dil Thavarajah†, G. Hultgreen, WE. May, 2008. Effect of fertilizer nitrogen management and phosphorus placement on canola production under varied conditions in Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Plant Sciences, 89: 29-48.
61. Thavarajah, Dil., A Vandenberg, G. George, I. Pickering‡, 2007. Chemical form of selenium in naturally Se-rich lentils (Lens culinaris L.) from Saskatchewan. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 55: 7337-41.
62. Thavarajah, Dil†, RA. Ball‡, 2006. Drought induced changes in free amino acid and ureide concentrations of nitrogen fixing chickpea. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, 86:149-156.
63. Thavarajah, Dil†, RA. Ball‡, JJ. Schoenau, 2005. Nitrogen Fixation, Amino Acid, and Ureide. Associations in Chickpea. Crop Science, 25:2497-2500.
64. Thavarajah, Dil†, JJ Schoencau‡, JR Bettany, G Hultgreen, P Qian, SS Malhi, R Lemki, 2003. Early supplies of available nitrogen to the seed-row as affected by fertilizer placement. Journal of Plant Nutrition 26(3):683-690.

Chapters and Books (Peer-reviewed book chapters)

1. Thavarajah Dil‡, Mcswain, M. CR. Johnson, SK. Agrawal, P. Thavarajah, 2019. Pulses, Global Health, and Sustainability: Future Trends. In: Health Benefits of Pulses. Ed: Wendy Dhal, Springer Nature.
2. Thavarajah Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, CR. Johnson, SK. Agrawal. 2016. Lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus): a whole food rich in prebiotic carbohydrates to combat global obesity. In: Grain Legumes (ISBN 978-953-51-4659-9). Ed: Aakash Goyal, InTech.
3. Thavarajah Dil‡, CR. Johnson, R. McGee, P. Thavarajah, 2015. “Phenotyping nutritional and anti-nutritional traits of lentils (Lens culinaris L.). In: Phenomics of crop plants: Trends, options, and limitations. Ed: Shiv Kumar Agrawal, India, Springer.
4. Gupta, DS†‡, Dil Thavarajah, LJ. Ekanayake, CR. Johnson, D. Amarakoon, S. Kumar, 2015. Rice, Wheat and Maize Biofortification, In: Sustainable Agricultural Reviews, Cereals, pp, 123-140. Ed: Eric Licktfouse, Aakash Goyal, India, Springer.
5. Thavarajah Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, GF. Combs Jr, 2014. Selenium in lentils (Lens culinaris L.) and theoretical fortification strategies, In: Handbook of Food Fortification and Health: From Concepts to Public Health Applications. Ed: VR Preedy, London, England, Springer
6. Thavarajah Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, D. Sen Gupta 2013. Pulse biofortification in genomic era: multidisciplinary opportunities and challengers, In: Legumes in the Omics Era, Eds: S. Gupta, N. Nadarajan, and DS. Gupta. India, Springer.
7. Thavarajah Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, SK. Agrawal 2013. Lentils (Lens culinaris L.): linking whole foods for better human health. In: Legumes: Types, Nutritional Composition and Health Benefits, Nova Science Publishers, Inc., New York, USA.
8. †Johnson CR, Thavarajah Dil‡, P. Thavarajah, S. Kumar, 2013. Lentil prebiotics: raffinose-family oligosaccharides, resistant starch, and health implications. In Oligosaccharides: Food Sources, Biological Roles and Health Implications, Nova Science Publ., Inc., New York, USA.
9. Thavarajah Dil‡, P. Thavarajah 2012. Lentils (Lens culinaris L): a superior whole food solution to micronutrient malnutrition. In: Micronutrients: Sources, Properties and Health Effects. Eds: A.I. Betancourt, H.F. Gaitan. Nova Science Publ., Inc., New York, USA.


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