Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean

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CIAT also has a diverse collection of around 21, accessions of tropical forage legumes with a focus on Centrosema and Stylosanthes. Forage Seed Production, Volume 1: Temperate species. CABI publishing. Forage Seed Production, Volume 2: Tropical and subtropical species. Williams RJ. Tropical legumes. Genetic resources of forage plants. This information was revised and validated by crop experts. Toggle navigation About About. The Platform. Filters Pages Publications News Activities.

Genetic Resources of Mediterranean Pasture and Forage Legumes in SearchWorks catalog

Forages: legumes. Home Resources Crops Forages: legumes.

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Publications Characterization of tropical and Mediterranean fodder tree legumes 17 KB. Characterization of tropical and Mediterranean herbaceous legumes 31 KB. Descriptor list for forage legumes 5 MB.

Best practices: Health diagnosis in forage legume genebanks KB. Germination methods for forage legumes 70 KB. The use of forage legumes may be 11, years old. Conservation Many forage legumes can be conserved as seeds in genebanks. Search Genesys for legume collections. Extensive collection, proper evaluation, in depth study of genetic attributes and cataloging of germplasm is prerequisite for its efficient utilization. According to an estimate there are about genera, 18, species of legumes Leguminosae in the world. Out of these, only about 30 legumes are used to an appreciable extent for forage production [ 15 ].

Out of total germplasms stored, , accessions belonging to forage crops [ 17 ].

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This is one of the most diverse collections of forage grasses, legumes and fodder tree species held in any gene bank in the world [ 18 ]. Diversity of cultivated and range legumes were collected in form of diverse germplasm accessions through different indigenous and exotic germplasm collection programme. Crop wild relatives CWR being the reservoirs of genes for stress tolerance and quality have been utilized for genetic enhancement of forage legumes.

The main centre of diversity for tropical legumes viz. Teramnus , Atylosia , Pueraria and Mucuna are mainly confined to north eastern region.

Genetic Resources of Mediterranean Pasture and Forage Legumes

Likewise, rich genetic wealth for the temperate legumes namely Medicago , Melilotus , Trifolium and Hedysarum is distributed in western Himalayan region [ 20 ]. Besides, India possesses enormous diversity of minor and under-utilized fodder species such as Agrostis alba , Desmodium parvifolium , Leptochloa fusca , Potentilla fruticosa , Rhynchosia minima and Salvadora persica [ 21 ].

List of prominent forage genetic resources distributed in 15 agro climatic zones of India. Currently a total of accessions of different forage crops including cereal forages , grasses 11,, range legumes , forage millets and others [ 85 ] are being maintained at long term storage LTS module of National Gene Bank at NBPGR, New Delhi [ 22 ]. At present IGFRI maintains more than accessions of 19 major forage crops including cereal forages, forage legumes, grasses and fodder tree at midterm storage [ 23 ].

Tropical forage legumes breeding programmes are associated with certain unique problems.


Most of the tropical pasture legumes still possess traits of wild plants that include seed shattering, small seed size, seed dormancy, relatively slow germination rates, etc. In most of the cases we have very little knowledge about the basic biology of the species. Some of the problems include overlapping of vegetative and reproductive growth phases, uneven pod setting, non-synchronous maturity and seed shattering in forage legumes [ 24 ].

Inherent heterozygosity as most forage species are cross pollinated. Self-incompatibility limits the extent to which they may be inbred; small floral parts make artificial hybridization tedious; poor seed producers; or produce seed with low viability as well as inherently low seedling vigor and competitive ability.

Many forage species produce weak seedlings and stands are not easily established. Strains may perform differently with different systems of grazing management. Persistence of perennial tropical forage legumes is not as a single trait, but rather as a complex of traits dependent on various factors, such as diseases, insects, abiotic stresses, or management stress. Fertility barriers of one sort or another are very common in tropical forage legume breeding viz.

The genus Trifolium from the tribe Trifolieae of the family Leguminosae Fabaceae is important for its agricultural value. A few of the species of this large genus have actually been cultivated [ 26 ], out of which 25 species are important as cultivated and pasture crops [ 27 ]. Egyptian clover or berseem T.

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Berseem was introduced in India from Egypt in , and has been established as one of the best Rabi winter season fodder crop in entire North West Zone, Hill Zone and part of Central and Eastern Zone of the country, occupying more than two million hectare [ 28 ].

Berseem being an introduced crop in India, the most important drawback in genetic improvement has been the lack of genetic variability [ 29 , 30 ]. Variability in the existing gene pool has been induced through mutation, polyploidization and inter-specific hybridization.

High biomass production potential along with extended growth period and resistance to biotic stresses specially root rot and stem rot have been the main target traits that were to be improved genetically. Interspecific hybrids of berseem with Trifolium apertum [ 31 ], T. A major breakthrough in berseem breeding in India was achieved through induction of polyploidy. The work on polyploidization of berseem genome was started with the aim to induce greater leaf and stem size [ 35 , 36 ].

Embryo rescue technique has been effectively utilized to overcome the problems of post fertilization barriers in interspecific crosses of berseem with Trifolium apertum , T. Recently, SSR based markers were developed for large scale utilization programme in Berseem [ 30 ]. Few studies on genetic diversity in Berseem and related Trifolium species were reported by using isozymes [ 29 ] and molecular markers [ 41 ].

The genus Stylosanthes comprises approximately 40 species, distributed in the tropical [ 42 ], subtropical and temperate regions areas of America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. It can be grouped into two subgeneric sections, Stylosanthes and Stylosanthes.

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Six species, namely Stylosanthes scabra , S. These are very popular and have been widely adapted due to their ability to restore soil fertility, improve soil physical properties, and provide permanent vegetation cover as well as to provide nutritious fodder. The most specific problems associated with Stylosanthes are the limited variations of available germplasm and the susceptibility to anthracnose disease caused by the fungus Colletotrichum gloeosporioides.

In the past, mainly five species of Stylosanthes S. This was in addition to the native perennial S. Testing and evaluation of wide germplasms carried out at IGFRI on acid and saline soil which contribute major part of the soils of India, indicated better adaptation of S. The potential of S. The one could be based on the finding that it is the second progenitor of S. It may be possible to artificially synthesize S.

These artificial S.


By doing so the genetic variation existing in the two diploid progenitor species would become available in improving the allotetraploid S. So far developed map and linked markers with anthracnose resistance also provide the opportunity to use them after converting them in sequence tagged sites STS or sequence characterized amplified region SCAR and then using them in direct breeding programs.

Genus Medicago is one of the oldest forage legume comprising 60 perennial and 35 annual species, distributed mainly around the Mediterranean basin, cultivated throughout the world in diverse environments ranging both temperate and tropical environments [ 49 ]. Medicago sativa alfalfa or lucerne is widely cultivated as the most important forage legume in the temperate areas of the world.

Lucerne is native to South West Asia as indicated by occurrence of wild types in the Cancasus and in mountainous region of Afghanistan, Iran. The major breeding objectives in the crop include vigorous tall growing plants, better branching, quick regeneration, and balance between seed and forage yield and persistence.

Genetic resources for alfalfa improvement are limited and restricted to the M. Most of the lucerne cultivars grown in the country and worldwide are susceptible to many diseases and insect pests and the most serious constraint is the alfalfa weevil Hypera postica Gyll. Resistance to weevil has been reported in several annual species such as M. Genes conferring resistance to aphid have been identified in M.

Similarly, three woody species viz. However, due to post fertilization barrier, interspecific hybridization is difficult, so we may need to use biotechnological tools like ovule-embryo culture and electroporation. Inter specific hybrids of M. However, pollen and embryological studies demonstrated that there exist strong post fertilization barriers for recovering hybrids between M. Utilizing embryo culture and fertilized pod culture techniques interspecific hybrids were obtained between M.

Bauchan and Elgin [ 65 ] reported chromosomal incompatibility and presence of two SAT chromosomes in M. Utilizing protoplast fusion technique S 1 plants were obtained between M. A lot of molecular information has been generated across species. However, information from M. Some breeding goals such as region-specific adaptation; drought-tolerance; improvement for forage quality should be considered [ 68 ]. Attempts have been made to produce transgenic alfalfa containing fungal chitinase gene for resistance against fungal pathogens [ 69 ], tolerance to abiotic stresses such as salt and cold [ 70 , 71 ], improved forage quality [ 72 ], and sulfur-containing amino acids [ 73 ], value addition by making it an edible forage vaccine [ 74 ].

In recent years the breeding strategies for Lucerne are more towards utilizing potential of polycross methods followed with phenotypic selection. It has resulted in development of a few cultivars in recent years. The future strategies should include development of cold and drought hardy lucerne with degree of persistence for pasture and meadows, increasing genetic base, high seed production, stress tolerance, diseases and pest resistance etc. It can be grown throughout the year due to its short duration and fast growing nature. It is suitable for inter, mixed and relay cropping system.

Cultivated cowpea, which is in subspecies unguiculata , is divided into five cultivar groups namely Unguiculata , Sesquipedalis yard-long-bean , Textilis , Biflora and Melanophthalmus [ 75 ]. The commonly cultivated cowpea belongs to cultivar group Unguiculata the most widespread and economically important group of the species.

They are pulse and vegetable and forage types. In Australia and Asia cowpea is primarily a fodder crop, but is also used for green manure or as a cover crop [ 76 ]. In India, the crop is cultivated around 6. In India a large numbers of varieties for vegetable, pulse and fodder purpose have been developed.

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The breeding objectives have focused around developing lines with terminal drought tolerance, early maturity, erect growth to fit in cropping systems and enabling improved radiation use efficiency, high harvest index and resistance to diseases. The desirable traits in forage cowpea varieties are leafiness with indeterminate growth to get green fodder for a longer period.

In future development of cowpea lines against various forms of root-knot nematode, cowpea aphids and Fusarium wilt, is required. Further, development of transgenic cowpea lines with resistance to major insect pests can also be a breakthrough in cowpea breeding. Tropical forage legumes were promoted in the past with the major focus on livestock production in India. This has led to a substantial decrease in research on tropical forage legumes. In view of current climate change problems and environmental concerns, research on forage legumes should be resumed with adequate funding support at national and international levels.

Newer biotic and abiotic stress tolerant varieties should be developed for the changing environmental conditions. Forage legumes have potential to contribute significantly to environment-friendly agricultural land use and sustainable livestock production in the tropics. Licensee IntechOpen. This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3. Help us write another book on this subject and reach those readers.

Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean
Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean
Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean
Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean
Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean
Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean
Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean Plant Genetic Resources of Legumes in the Mediterranean

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