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Conserving Tropical Leguminous Food Crops

Nyat Quat Ng
Published 2013 · Biology

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The chapter gives an account on the origin, centers of diversity, distribution, and uses of 11 major and 10 minor economic important tropical food legumes. It reports on the results of a comprehensive assessment on the current status of the conservation of the genetic resources of these crops. The study found that over one million accessions of the germplasm of these crops are presently being conserved in hundreds of genebanks globally. The largest collection is soybean with 230,026 accessions, followed by common bean (184,814), groundnut (128,435), chickpea (98,313), pea (94,001), cowpea (61,340), lentil (58,405), broadbean (43,695), mung bean (41,944), pigeon pea (40,509), and lima bean (13,991). The diversity of these major important crops appeared to have been relatively well preserved. It has not been the case for the minor ones, as their collection is small. Black gram only has 7,435 accessions; Bambara groundnut 5,609, lablab bean 5,520, rice bean 4,815, scarlet runner bean 4,813, winged bean 4,696, moth bean 3,811, yard-long bean 2,098, runner bean 934, tepary bean 865, Jack bean 800, tamarind 642, African yam bean 207, sword bean 171, catjan bean <80, creole bean <40 and kersting’s groundnut <40 accessions. Similarly, the diversity of the wild relatives of all food legumes is not very well collected and preserved. It is recommended that further research for enhancing the use of food legumes should be promoted and plant collecting expeditions for the wild relatives of all food legumes, and the traditional cultivars of the minor species should be conducted.
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