Utilization of common bean genetic resources for sustainable crop improvement and healthy food

Project co-financed by:

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Description of the project:

Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is the most important edible food legume for direct human consumption in the world as it represents a valuable source of proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fibre and is a rich source of other components with nutritional and health benefits. Thus, it is a crop featured in breeding programs worldwide, including Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (AIS).

 In the last decade several thousand accessions were collected in different parts of Southern and Eastern Europe and stored in European Gene Banks, including AIS and Center for Plant Diversity in Tapioszele, Hungary (CPD), with approximately 3000 accessions. In the proposed project multicrop passport descriptors and seed characteristics of common bean genotypes from both collections will be used to establish a set of approximately 300 genotypes with distinct phenotypes and covering diverse environments of the studied area. Phaseolin type will be determined in each accession allowing us to classify accessions according to the gene pool of origin (Andean or Mesoamerican) and identify dissemination pathways of this species. Several different DNA marker techniques will be implemented in the project with a goal to clarify genetic relationships among accessions. Based on the collected molecular data we will form a core collection comprising 4080 accessions originating from different habitats and showing diverse phenotypic and genetic profiles.

Nutritional and nutraceutical beans characteristics have not been considered in crop breeding programs so far. The introduction of novel morphological and genetic information on unexplored east European bean germplasm is suggested as an effective tool to increase the genetic variation and nutritional and nutraceutical characteristics of cultivated beans. Nutritional characterization and evaluation of core collection of common bean accessions will include analysis of crude proteins, crude fibre, elements (minerals), phenolic compounds, antioxidant potential, folates (folic acids), fattyacids, and nutrient profiling.

Screening of core collection for traits of interest will be carried out through implementation of molecular tools, such as functional QTL determined markers (SNP, RGA, SRAP, SSR). The focus will be on traits associated to our ongoing research (drought tolerance, Colletotrichum sp. resistance, nutritional analysis of seeds) and special interests (symbiotic relationships). Based on in house experiments and literature, a selection of markers corresponding to locations of QTLs of interest will be prepared. These markers will be amplified using PCR following inhouse established PCR protocols and PCR protocols suggested in the literature. This final assessment will complete phenotypic and genotypic profiling of the accessions and provide an insight into their potential for breeding for higher yield and nutritional value, and tolerance to abiotic and biotic stressors.

The accessions with the best performance will be tested in field experiments in Slovenia and Hungary with purpose to demonstrate the fitness of plants in respect to yield, nutritional value, and tolerance to pathogens. Their dependence on symbiotic relationships will be explored. Samples from roots will be evaluated for intensity of colonization with mycorrhizal fungi and their diversity will be estimated. Soil properties, e.g content of minerals, organic matter, pH, will be determinated and their relevance for seed nutritional value will be assessed. Selected accessions will be tested for resistance to anthracnose by artificial infections using the prevailing races of Colletotrichum lindemuthianum in Europe.

Core collection will be a robust tool to tackle challenges arising from rapidly changing environment as it will provide materials for evaluation of germplasm, identification of trait-specific accessions, gene discovery, allele mining, genomic studies, marker development, and molecular breeding.

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Nutrition Institute
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IBAN: SI56 340001012501108
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Nutrition institute is engaged in research and education in the field of nutrition and advising the food industry in the formulation and labeling of foods. In the scope of the institute, research group Healthy Nutrition is established, which performs research on food and nutrition.