Overview Objectives

The specific objectives were:
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.

Project Background and Objectives

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.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

Progress Summary. Major objectives for year 1 of the project were largely achieved despite interruptions due to the SARS related travel bans.

1. Disease survey of pea and faba bean in the major cropping areas of Yunnan and Qinghai.

A.The disease survey in Qinghai was deferred from July 2003 to June 2004. This survey of cropping regions was conducted before significant levels of in crop disease had developed after an April-May sowing. Root samples were taken from both crops for follow-up laboratory assays for root rot diseases, to be done both at CAAS and at ICARDA. It had been expected that root rots would be noted as a serious disease incidence in both pea and faba bean crops.
The principal diseases noted were: aschochyta and a chocolate spot like disorder in faba bean crops, Faba bean necrotic yellow virus (FBNYV) and Pea seed borne mosiac virus (PSbMV) at QAAFS research station at Xining, Qinghai. This survey utilised the Tissue Immuno - Blot Analysis (TIBA), a field procedure of blotting sap onto specially prepared membranes for fixing and stabilisation of samples for subsequent anti-body identification of viruses. Further observations in August 2004 By Dr Ian Rose, while on a germplasm collecting mission in Qinghai, noted both rust and chocolate spot plus some aschochyta as occurring widely in Qinghai. A low incidence of unknown viruses were also noted.
It is recommended that a follow-up disease survey be carried out in July-August 2005.

B. Disease inspection at the Hebei Institute of Cool season Crops (HICSC), Zhangbe.
A sick plot with 10 years of continuous pea cultivation, around 20 m X 50 m, appeared to contain root rot pathogens, but different from that for pea wilt Fusarium oxysporum. The pathogen is still being identified. Then it is necessary to establish whether the same or different pathogens are the principal root rots in of crops in Qinghai. Other diseases noted so far in TIBA blot samples sent to ICARDA include luteo viruses and PSbMV.

C . Disease survey in Yunnan with the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Science (YAAS)
The survey was conducted over 2 weeks 4 - 19 March. The TIBA technique was used for surveying viruses, with some analyses done in Yunnan and the balance done with membranes brought to ICARDA. Unused membranes and excess anti-body reagents were brought to CAAS, for future surveys and for transfer of this technology to CAAS.
Viruses newly detected in China were, FBNYV, Beet western yellows and Cucumber mosiac virus. Specifically there was a concern that farmers were only spraying to control aphids, the principal vector, around flowering time after populations had built up and disease transmission was widespread.
The other major diseases noted were rust on both faba bean and peas, and chocolate spot on faba bean.

2. Germplasm exchange

A. At ATFCC a geographic core collection of 210 accessions was drawn from the pea collection of landraces, and forwarded to CAAS in November 2003. In addition 44 vegetable type peas and 110 wild relatives and subspecies of Pisum Sativum were also forwarded in 2003. Elite breeding lines of pea and faba bean from Australia were also provided to China in 2003, 13 faba beans and 137 peas.
More elite lines are being sent to China in late 2004, both from the faba bean breeding programs and the pea breeding program in Australia, about 50 faba selections and 100 pea selections.

B. Germplasm collections were conducted in Yunnan, in May 2004. A total of 70 samples including pea and faba bean landraces were collected. These were mailed to Australia where they were processed by AQIS and received into quarantine at Horsham in September 2004.

C. In 2005 the core pea collection from China will be forwarded to Australia. A further germplasm collection mission will be made in Yunnan. In 2004 seed of the 54 faba bean and pea samples collected in Qinghai will be forwarded to Australia. Due to the relatively small area of cultivation in Qinghai, all counties were collected in 2004, and there will be no further collection in 2005.

The September 2003 schedule for germplasm collection in Qinghai was deferred 1 year to 2004.

3. Molecular studies of genetic diversity

The visit of Zong Xuxiao to Melbourne University to develop primers for genetic diversity analyses was deferred for 1 year to enable him to pursue course work studies for his PhD program.
Meanwhile Zong’s students at CAAS are proceeding with AFLP analyses of the pea core collection received from Australia, and of a geographic subset of Chinese land races which will be reduced to a core collection based on molecular diversity analyses.
Dr Rebecca Ford visited these molecular laboratories in Beijing in December 2003 as a guest of the Chinese government, to assist in planning at CAAS for these analyses.

This project aims to increase productivity of pea and faba bean production in China through collaboration between breeders, pathologists and genetic resource specialists by focussing on common interests. These are grouped around the major goal of developing of cultivars with multiple disease and abiotic stress resistances.

Collection and exchange of pea and faba bean germplasm
During year 2 of the project collecting expeditions were carried out in Qinghai (spring sown) and Yunnan (autumn sown) provinces of China to collect pea and faba bean landraces. Collecting of germplasm was combined with surveys to elicit information on the socio-economic situation of the farms sampled and aspects of on-farm management. Diverse genotypes for both crops were collected and survey results suggest that prices obtained by farmers for their crops are relatively low. Evidence for extreme variation in nitrogen fixation was obtained during the survey in Yunnan, suggesting that a closer look at agronomic practices is warranted to optimise the benefits which can be derived from a legume in a farming system.

Germplasm exchange continued between both countries, with elite breeding material from Australia going to China and collected Chinese landraces and a core collection for peas arriving in Australia. Germplasm collected during year 1 in NW Yunnan was processed through quarantine. It is currently undergoing multiplication and initial characterisation (peas in Horsham, faba beans in Tamworth). A second allotment originating from Qinghai is about to be harvested in quarantine. Likewise, material received from Australia was multiplied in Zhangbei and initial observations were carried out by breeders in Qinghai and Yunnan provinces.

Improvement of pea and faba bean breeding programs in China
Disease surveys carried out in Qinghai (2004) and Yunnan (2005) have not confirmed the importance of root diseases for pea and faba bean production in farmers fields as opposed to research plots. The results of an additional survey in Qinghai by Chinese staff are expected shortly to double check this conclusion. In Qinghai pea breeding is going to focus on powdery mildew resistance while in Yunnan selection for rust resistance and frost tolerance in faba beans are major objectives.

A shuttle breeding program with seed increases alternating between Zhangbei and Kunming was established to service participants in three provinces.
Work on molecular characterisation of pea germplasm commenced in Beijing with samples taken during multiplication at Zhangbei. Due to a delay with this work, a preliminary Chinese core collection was compiled on the basis of geographic, characterisation and evaluation data in order to expedite introduction to Australia and a enable a comparison with a global core collection in both countries during the final phase of the project. Further refinements of both cores will be made when molecular characterisation data become available.
Short-term training of breeders from Qinghai and Yunnan in the use of phytopathological techniques in Australia enhanced the capacity of local programs to establish their own disease and abiotic stress screening nurseries.

This project made progress in 2005/6, year 3 of the project, towards germplasm evaluation in both Australia and China, improvement of pea and faba bean breeding programs in China, introgression of Australian elite lines with drought tolerant and disease resistance traits into respective breeding programs in China, and molecular finger-printing of pea and faba bean landraces and elite lines for a comparison of genepools and association mapping of markers with key phenotypic traits.

A joint China-Australia review of project progress was held in Yunnan in February 2006. This forum discussed project activities in each of the target provinces Yunnan, Qinghai and Bashang county in Hebei, and planned project activities for 2006/7.

Goal 1, The collection and exchange of pea and faba bean germplasm. This was completed. In previous years ATFCC had sent to China, pea germplasm of a core collection of 210 accessions, 44 vegetable pea varieties, 111 wild relatives and 247 elite breeding lines, and for faba bean 44 elite lines from Australian breeders. China provided to Australia; a pea core collection of 289 accessions chosen to represent geographically diverse origins, 56 pea and 64 faba bean landraces collected from Yunnan and Qinghai provinces, plus 30 pea breeding lines and 9 faba bean breeding lines from Yunnan. These were released from Australian quarantine to the program in Australia over 2005 -2006. These are currently under further seed multiplication by ATFCC and faba bean programs at DPI NSW and University of Adelaide. Those accessions with a good supply of seed from quarantine have been placed in the ATFCC Base collection for long term conservation. A phenotypic comparison of both the Australian and Chinese germplasm will be made in both countries, for abiotic stress (salinity and frost tolerance), phenologic, biomass and yield expressions.

Goal 2, Improvement of pea and faba bean breeding programs in China.
Elite pea breeding lines and pea germplasm from Australia (total 650) were assessed in 2005 in each target region for use as parents and for placement in 2006 yield trials, with 37 lines selected for yield potential in Qinghai and 18 in Yunnan. Evaluation for disease reaction in Yunnan identified 29 pea lines for resistance to powdery mildew, and many elite lines for rust resistance - a disease currently not present in Australia. Additionally for tolerance to reproductive frost, 50 germplasm each of pea and faba bean were assessed at different altitudes in Qinghai.
A field trial for an agronomic comparison of the ATFCC and Chinese pea core collections for locations in Qinghai, Bashang, Yunnan and Horsham Australia has been designed and sown, except for Yunnan where it will be sown in November 2006. These core collections are also being compared for tolerance to salinity in a semi-controlled environment at Horsham.
Newly collected faba bean landraces were assessed, by DPI NSW for reaction to Bean Leaf Roll Virus with one out of 18 lines promising as a new source of resistance, and by University of Adelaide for reaction to Aschochyta with 50% promising as sources of resistance. These landraces also had lines resistant to rust and partial resistance to Bean Yellow Mosaic Virus.
DPI NSW evaluated 32 pea landraces from Yunnan for reaction to Pea Seed Borne Virus with 6 completely free.
Confirmation trails for expressions of resistances are in progress in 2006.
Shuttle breeding of 2 generations per year continued with the Yunnan pea and faba bean breeding programs gaining an extra generation per year with an off-season nursery in Bashang, Hebei.

Goal 3. Molecular characterisation.
The characterisation of pea germplasm with 24 unique single band polymorphic markers was completed in 2005/6. The materials included 1,200 Chinese landraces chosen to represent geographic diversity in the Chinese pea germplasm, 650 lines from Australia including the ATFCC core collection, elite breeding lines, vegetable peas and wild relatives, and nearly 300 additional varieties and breeding lines from other countries. The gels have all been rated, with a small number of analyses repeated. The 1,200 Chinese landraces with geographic diversity will be reduced to a core set of 300 representing genetic diversity based on SSR diversity. The composition of this core will be compared with the geographic core of 298 Chinese landraces based on geographic diversity alone, which was also forwarded to Australia.
For faba bean AFLP analyses are mostly completed on, 700-800 landraces from the Chinese germplasm and the elite breeding lines from Australia and China.
Zong Xuxiao will undertake combined analyses of molecular and phenotypic diversity at University of Melbourne in October 2006.
There is obvious scope to combine molecular and phenotypic data for association with genotype x environment interactions, and to initiate gene discovery for expressions associated with drought stress and specific abiotic stresses.

Goal 4. Training of Chinese staff.
In 2005/6 there were no visits of Chinese staff to Australia.
In China, Mr He Chenbang of Qinghai, who visited Horsham in the previous year, began studies for an MSc at the CAAS Graduate School in Beijing.
There were 4 visits of Australian staff to China in 2005/6, including the review / planning meeting held in Yunnan in February 2006, where 3 staff from Australia attended, and 1 came for the mid-term review in July 2005.

Goal 5. Production of a handbook for pea and faba bean diseases in China.
Photography and collation of photographs continued. This goal is on-target for production of 1,000 handbooks in Chinese only, in 2006/7.

Project Outcomes

Faba bean and pea landraces were collected in approximately equal proportions of 95 and 93 accessions respectively, from 41 sites in Yunnan (2004), 30 sites in Qinghai (2004) and 66 sites in Yunnan (2005). Data were entered on site physical characteristics, cropping systems and socio-economic features. The new germplasm was divided for Chinese and Australian genebanks.
The Australian Temperate Field Crops Collection (ATFCC) sent 602 unique lines of pea germplasm to China. As well, the Victorian Department of Primary Industries (DPI) pea breeding program sent 305 different elite breeding lines and varieties, while Australian faba bean breeding programs at Adelaide University and DPI NSW sent 44 elite lines.
China provided Australia with a geographic pea core collection of 298 accessions, plus the new collections of 95 faba bean and 93 pea landraces. In both China and Australia, the imported germplasm continues to be assessed and used in their respective breeding programs.
Disease surveys of commercial crop areas were made in Yunnan and Qinghai in 2004, and repeated in Qinghai in July 2005. 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.
Elite pea breeding lines and pea germplasm from Australia (total 650) were assessed in 2005 in each target province - for use both as parents and for placement in 2006 yield trials. Shuttle breeding of two generations per year was implemented, with the Yunnan pea and faba bean lines grown in an off-season nursery in Bashang, Hebei, and shuttle breeding of pea breeding material from Bashang to Yunnan. Elite breeding lines of faba bean from Australia were evaluated in three provinces in China, and selections from these chosen for use as parents.
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 ID
Project Country
Commissioned Organisation
Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia
Project Leader
Dr Robert Redden
03 53622151
03 53622354
Collaborating Institutions
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
Project Budget
Start Date
Finish Date
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr Paul Fox
Related Country