of China Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative (CAFSCI)

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Host resistance, epidemiology and integrated management of faba bean, chickpea and lentil diseases

Overview of Project

Historically China has placed major emphasis on improving cereal production, and development of food legumes has been largely ignored. There is a need to invest in food legume research, and this project was designed to increase the adoption and lift the productivity of faba beans and field peas in rain-fed areas of central western and northern China, also the grains regions of Australia, by facilitating the development of varieties with superior qualities in terms of disease resistance and yield.

The priorities for this project - germplasm collection, disease surveys, germplasm evaluation, accelerated breeding of peas and faba beans and molecular analyses of diversity - were initially developed by delegates from collaborating institutions in a planning workshop held in Lanzhou, Gansu province during June 2001. In subsequent discussions it was proposed to involve the provinces of Yunnan, Qinghai and the northern region of Hebei.

The major purpose of the project was to strengthen the capacity of breeding programs to develop new varieties with improved productivity, desired grain quality, disease resistance and greater tolerance of frost stresses, and which will be more widely adopted by farmers.

Overview Objectives

  1. to collect and exchange pea and faba bean germplasm between Chinese and Australian collaborators
  2. to improve pea and faba bean breeding programs in China
  3. to undertake molecular characterisation of diversity in pea core collections from China and Australia, and diversity analyses of breeding programs in China
  4. to train Chinese staff through opportunities in both Australia and China
  5. to produce a handbook for pea diseases in China to assist extension.
Key Outcomes of Project

Major findings for faba bean were: Bean Yellow Mosaic Virus (BYMV) is the major virus in faba bean (60% occurrence in Yunnan, 21% in Qinghai). Other important faba bean diseases were rust and chocolate spot in Yunnan, cercospora and Fusarium root rot in Qinghai and Rhizoctonia in Bashang. Major findings for pea were: 60% of pea crops in Qinghai had Bean Western Yellows Virus (BWYV), and in Bashang 60% of pea crops had Pea Seedborne Mosaic Virus (PSbMV). On pea, Fusarium root rot was important in Yunnan and Qinghai and powdery mildew in Bashang.

Priorities for breeding disease resistance were identified for peas as powdery mildew in all provinces and rust resistance in Yunnan. Disease breeding priorities were only identified for faba bean in Yunnan - for rust, chocolate spot and BYMV. Diseases occurred too late in Qinghai and Zhangbei on both crops to warrant inclusion in plant breeding programs.

The genetic characterisation of 2120 lines of pea germplasm was undertaken at ICGR in 2005-06. Landraces from China had more diverse clusters than from the rest of the world, with one cluster of spring types from north central China, and another of both winter and spring types from western, eastern and southern provinces. For faba bean, AFLP diversity analyses were made on 473 landraces from the CAAS collection of Chinese germplasm and accessions from the rest of the world. Faba bean landraces from China tended to cluster separately from the rest of the world though with a partial overlap.

Each country can benefit from widening of its breeding gene pools to exploit the exchanged genetic resources. Peas from China appear to have previously unrecognised molecular and morphological diversity which is unique to China. Germplasm has been exchanged between CAAS and ATFCC, and this provides excellent plant breeding opportunities to both China and Australia to exploit the other’s genetic resources from the respective alternate gene pools.

For both peas and faba bean this brings opportunities to utilise new genes and alleles for responding to abiotic/biotic stresses, as well as providing new quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for growth traits associated with expression of grain yield. The findings also raise interesting questions on the evolution of peas in China, for future investigation.

Training and extension were important aspects of the project. One thousand handbooks with photos, descriptions and control measures for 115 biotic/abiotic stresses of pea and faba bean were produced (in Chinese only) in 2006-07."

Project Dates

01 Jul 2003 - 30 Jun 2007


Department of Primary Industries - Victoria - Australia
NSW Department of Primary Industries - Australia
Qinghai Academy of Agricultural and Forestry Science - China
University of Melbourne - Australia
University of Adelaide - Australia
Hebei Institute of Cool Season Crops - China
Institute for Crop Germplasm Resources - China
Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences - China


Dr Robert Redden


Launch Website