of China Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative (CAFSCI)

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Improvement of Adzuki bean in China

Overview of Project

Adzuki bean is native to China, where approximately five million households grow about 650,000 hectares. The grain is mainly produced in four northern provinces for use in foodstuffs (a market worth about $A1 billion) and for the $A75 million export market. In Australia, 500-1000 hectares of adzuki bean (cv. Bloodwood) supply about 400 tonnes per year of high quality raw beans to Japanese processors. This food legume could be a useful source of vegetable protein.

However, the plants tend to produce much leaf and stem but little grain. The crop is also a target for virus and fungal diseases and insect pests, both during growth and while in storage. As well, adzuki bean growth is constrained by inadequate nitrogen fixation and by sensitivity to temperature and daylength. In all, Chinese farmers consider the crop more risky to grow than cereals. The project aimed to stimulate plant breeders to work on adzuki bean, by characterising the germplasm presently available.

Key Outcomes of Project

The adzuki germplasm was shown to fall into separate groups for northern and for southern China, with additional groups overlapping in central China. A general centre of diversity was located from the Yellow River to the Yangtze River valleys inland in middle China, including Shanxi, Henan and Hubei provinces. Each group had characteristic genotype x environment interactions, with relative growth, phenology and yield rankings altered at each assessment location.

At Harbin less than 20 per cent of accessions produced seed. These were the earliest lines at all locations and apparently photoperiod-insensitive. Vegetative growth was the most vigorous at this site, which had the latest time from sowing to flowering.

At Liaoyang in Liaoning all but 28 per cent of accessions from southern and middle China produced seed, and standardised growth, phenologic and reproductive data were recorded for most entries. This site also recorded the greatest mean yield and the greatest maximum yield in China, and was the second latest site in time from sowing to flowering. North Chinese accessions yielded best at Liaoyang,

Growth of some entries was severely checked by unidentified virus(es) at all sites except Henan, with site specificity for infection pattern particularly at Shijiazhuang. Only a few accessions were virus free at all locations.

At Shijiazhuang (38 2’N) in Hebei all accessions produced seed. This was also the most uniform test site as per the variance of repeated check plots in an unreplicated nursery. This was the second earliest site and second ranking for mean yield. Mean seed weight was greatest at this site though Liaoyang was nearly equivalent and the maximum value for seed weight was expressed at Harbin. The greatest yields at Shijiazhuang were shown by middle-lower northern origin of accessions.

Zhengzhou (34 31’N) in Henan was free from virus, however 20 per cent of the trial was water logged so results were complete only for the remainder. Here accessions sourced from middle China were the greatest yielders. Vegetative growth was least at this site, though it recorded the highest mean and maximum pods/plant. Seed weight was generally less and yields were medium to low.

At Ya’an (29 50’N) in Sichuan, there was a high level of virus infection, as well as insect damage to seed set. This site had the earliest mean time to flowering, was the second most vigorous in vegetative growth, but medium amongst sites for expression of reproductive traits. The best yielding group was from south-middle China, with high pod number compensating for low seed weight.

Project Dates

01 Jan 1997 - 30 Jun 2000


Queensland Department of Primary Industries - Australia
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences - Legume Laboratory - China

Launch Website