In this study, an electron spin resonance (ESR) investigation on gamma-irradiated chickpea cultivated in Turkey is reported in detail. ESR spectra of unirradiated (control) chickpea were composed of an equally spaced sextet originating from the presence of Mn2+ ions and a single weak resonance signal both centered at g = 2.0054 +/- 0.0006. Although irradiation was found to have no effect on the Mn2+ signals, it caused a noteworthy increase in free radical signal intensity of chickpea in the studied dose range of (0.1-4.5 kGy). In addition, the ESR spectrum of irradiated chickpea recorded at low scan range (10 mT) showed that there were more than one radical species, having different spectral features, contributing to the central resonance signal. From this point of view, we focussed on the free radical signal in the present study. The area under the ESR absorption curve which is related to the free radical concentration was determined from the experimental spectra recorded throughout the study, and its variation with microwave power, radiation dose, storage time and temperature was investigated in detail. Free radical concentration was observed to decay very fast within the first 15 days after the irradiation cessation and little thereafter. At the end of the storage period (60 days), the free radical concentration is still higher than that of the control (unirradiated) sample. The decay of free radical concentration at room and high temperatures were described well by the sum of three second-order decay functions representing three different radical species (A, B and C). The activation energies of these radicals, evaluated by Arrhenius analysis, are in the order E-C > E-B > E-A. Simulation calculations have shown that three radical species (A, B and C) of different spectral parameters were found to best explain the experimental values.