Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

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

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.01  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production  Agricultural plants 

Code Science Field
B225  Biomedical sciences  Plant genetics 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
common bean, genetic diversity, mycorrhizal fingi, core collection, nutritive and nutraceutical properties, agronomic properties
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (21)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  22463  PhD Anita Kušar  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  108 
2.  20428  PhD Matevž Likar  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  282 
3.  23514  PhD Marko Maras  Plant production  Researcher  2016  118 
4.  15489  PhD Irena Mavrič Pleško  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  380 
5.  05667  PhD Vladimir Meglič  Plant production  Head  2016 - 2018  883 
6.  10506  PhD Alenka Munda  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  228 
7.  29498  PhD Barbara Pipan  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  277 
8.  35156  PhD Mateja Potisek  Plant production  Junior researcher  2016 - 2018  39 
9.  24300  PhD Igor Pravst  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016 - 2018  317 
10.  26091  PhD Jaka Razinger  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  451 
11.  12013  PhD Marjana Regvar  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  537 
12.  32176  PhD Aleš Sedlar  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  54 
13.  37723  PhD Lovro Sinkovič  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  228 
14.  22935  PhD Saša Širca  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  343 
15.  08500  PhD Jelka Šuštar Vozlič  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  504 
16.  16393  PhD Kristina Ugrinović  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  646 
17.  05672  PhD Gregor Urek  Plant production  Researcher  2016 - 2018  737 
18.  14548  PhD Špela Velikonja Bolta  Chemistry  Researcher  2016 - 2018  444 
19.  21623  PhD Katarina Vogel Mikuš  Biology  Researcher  2016 - 2018  616 
20.  35388  PhD Mateja Zupin  Microbiology and immunology  Junior researcher  2016  26 
21.  24278  PhD Katja Žmitek  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016 - 2018  167 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0401  Agricultural institute of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055431  20,096 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  66,775 
3.  3018  NUTRITION INSTITUTE  Ljubljana  3609081000  492 
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 multi-crop 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 40-80 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), fatty-acids, 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 in-house 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 the 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 determined 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.
Significance for science
A large number of common bean landraces have evolved in Europe since the introduction of this species on the continent. This is largely the result of the adaptation to the soil type and climate conditions of the new environments, the geographical isolation of several growing areas, the peculiar agro-technique (i.e., the consociation with maize), aesthetical and organoleptic preferences of the producers and consumers. As a consequence, several countries have been proposed as secondary centres of diversification for Phaseolus vulgaris, including Europe, Brazil, and central-eastern and southern Africa and China. Within these broad areas there are still large gaps with scarce information on genetic diversity of the existing common bean germplasm. In the proposed project we intend to investigate bean accessions from East and South Europe where beans represent important component in the human diet but have not been yet adequately characterized neither for morphological nor molecular features. Characterisation of phenotype, biochemical components, DNA markers, potential for drought and disease tolerance of a set of accessions from diverse habitats will provide us important information on (1) common bean genetic resources as a source of diversity for robustness (2) genetic and environmental variation in key nutritional traits (crude proteins, fibres, antioxidants, phenolic compounds, folic acid, minerals i.e. Fe, Zn, etc.) affecting human health, (3) estimation of potential to improve the management and conservation of bean genetic resources, and (4) evaluation of potential to develop “new added nutritional or sensory value” via different breeding strategies.
Significance for the country
In the strategy and documentation on development of Slovene agriculture, the direction is defined as creating sustainable production of quality, affordable foodstuffs. Environmentally sound methods of production ensure preservation of soil fertility, protection of the environment, conservation of biotic diversity and preservation of traditional country land. The proposed project is dealing with common bean, a crop which has a long history of cultivation and use in the East and South Europe. During the last three centuries numerous autochthonous landraces evolved and many of them have until recently been produced on a large scale. Unfortunately, these landraces are disappearing from the production although they are still very popular among the consumers and gardeners in the region. Several thousand common bean accessions were collected in different parts of South and East Europe and stored in several European gene banks over the last decade. Data on morphological, biochemical and genetic characteristics of the stored accessions will be added in the database of the gene banks at the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (KIS) and Centre for Plant Diversity in Tapioszele, Hungary (CPD) that will serve scientific community, plant breeders, farmers and hobby gardeners. With the collection and selection of this material the traditional varieties and landraces will not disappear from fields and gardens contributing to their preservation and diversification. The results of the research will form a basis for further selections in order not to lose the traditional varieties and secure the availability for the farmers and consumers. With the organization of field days we will promote the traditional varieties and their use and show as well the added value that farmers can get from growing these varieties. We intend to publish brochures describing landraces and varieties and growing technologies, their traditional use, and the ways of preservation. The revitalization and reintroduction of traditional varieties and landraces will provide farmers with added value when putting these products on the market.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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