Faba bean with low levels of vicine and convicine

The faba bean (Vicia faba L.) is a traditional legume of the Old World. It is grown in a temperate and semi-arid climate. Unripe and ripe seeds are used as food and forage. Significant is their seed protein content (about 30%) and their high accumulation capacity of nitrogen from the air with the help of symbiotic rhizobia (> 100 kg nitrogen fixation per hectare).

In Germany, the faba bean is still a little common field crop; By 2016, the acreage increased to about 40,500 ha. Main causes are among other things their susceptibility to dehydration and the presence of anti-nutritive seed constituents: Tannine and vicine and convicine limit the use of faba bean as feed for non-ruminants. Only a few vicine- and convicine-poor (e.g., Tiffany) varieties of summer  faba bean have been developed, moreover vicine- and convicine-poor winter faba beans do not exist. The breeding of vicine- and convicine-depleted varieties is impeded, because no suitable rapid screening tool for the selection of low vicine/convicine content exists and because a gene- or marker-based breeding selection is not implemented. Our goal, together with our project partners, is to analyse the genetics of vicine- and convicine-poverty and to find closely linked markers for the targeted breeding of new winter faba beans that are attractive for agriculture.

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