Evaluation of grain legumes germplasm of Vavilov Institute for diseases resistance
Dr. Margarita Vishnyakova ( )


Germplasm collection of Vavilov Institute in Saint Petersburg is the representative sample of world genetic resources of grain legumes. It contains more than 45 000 accessions from 15 genera and 146 species cultivated ones and wild relatives. Its contents reflects the main aspects of genetic resources distribution: from the centers of origin or main diversity where the material have been collected for many years, and from different countries dealing with the consumption and breeding the crop. As the collection is about eighty years old it contains a lot of old landraces, varieties and rare material collected by expeditions.
The main objectives of the work with the collection since twenties are: enlarging, preservation, evaluation and using it in national breeding. Every year about 2000 accessions go to breeders. The experience of international connections shows the value of the collection for world community.
The collection is maintained in living condition by means of regeneration in the network of experimental stations covering with their distribution several different geographical areas and by storage in genebank.
The evaluation of the collection is carried out in the same frame of a network of experimental stations. The main aim of the evaluation is searching of the sources of valuable traits. Screening starts in the field with the evaluation of agronomic traits. For every crop, the traits related to the period of maturity and high productivity are always being investigated. For every crop the most important specific characteristics are evaluated. In collaboration with the research laboratories and other institutes (sometimes foreign ones) evaluation of the other main characters including resistance to diseases and pests is being done.
The evaluation for diseases resistance in our institute is doing either on natural or artificial infection background in conformity with descriptors for crop. The field evaluation for some crop have been supplemented with laboratory tests in growing chambers.
The disease scores were based on the percentage of affected tissue of the plant including leaves, stem and pods.

Evaluation of chickpea resistance to Ascochyta

Ascohyta blights is the main constrain to chickpea production and is broadly spread in Russia and other countries. Sometimes it causes 80-90% of yield decline. Besides the quality seeds of ill plants is poor.
559 accessions have been evaluated in Krasnodar region in Kuban experimental station of the Institute during 5 years (Bulynsev S.V., Teter Z., 1999). Screening have been made either on the plots with artificial infection background and during the seasons of severe disease distribution. Both kinds of field evaluation were proved with testing the seedlings in growing chambers. It was the local race of Ascohyta rabiei and race identification was not available.
The plants looking healthy, without sings of disease or only with about 10% tissue affected have been regarded as high resistant. Resistant plants had not more than 25% tissue affected. As a result 21 accessions have been determined as high resistant and 38 as resistant. The origin of sources of resistance is given in table 1.
The most resistant forms came from Central Asia, Russian Federation, Iran and Mexico.

Pea evaluation to resistance to black spot

Black spot is the most widespread disease in pea. The agent Mycosphaerella pinodes is considered to be the most damaging: it has the potential to cause the complete destruction of the yield. In the absence of complete resistance to this agent looking for intraspecific partial resistant sources is still looks essential.
The samples for the evaluation have been deliberately chosen to represent different countries of origin, mainly from the eastern Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, Former Soviet Union Republics, mainly Middle Asian countries, and China. Germplasm from these regions is not widely included in breeding programs and seems to offer opportunities for new sources of resistance.
This evaluation has been made in the frame of International project with CLIMA and ICARDA and the site chosen for screening was in Ethiopian highlands at the Holetta Research station. It is situated 45 km north-west of Addis Ababa at 2400 m above sea level. Annual rainfall is 1110 mm of which 70% falls in June-September. As in many other regions of the country the disease is endemic at this station.
The set of 390 pea lines has been evaluated. The material was preliminary estimated for vigor and maturity at ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria (Francis C. et al,1999).
The scores of susceptibility of pea to Mycosphaerella pinodes ( Berk.et Blox.) have been considered as following : 0 - no disease, 1- less than 25% tissue was affected, 2 - 25-50% tissue was affected, 3 -50-75% tissue was affected, 4 - greater than 75% tissue was affected. Where necessary intermediate scores 0.5,1.5, 2.5, and 3.5 have been used. Lines showing a disease score of 2.5 and less have been considered as potentially resistant.
The evaluation has been made on the natural infection background. It was severe due to intense rainfall activity during September-October those are normally dry. Under condition of this severe black spot epidemic 27 lines with moderate infection levels (scored less than 2.5) have been recorded as resistant, nine of them were also considered as good agronomic types, four of those were also of early maturity. Resistant accessions were from 9 countries. The line from China was considered the most resistant. It was collected by the expedition of our Institute in 1956 (table 2).
Following Nikolay Vavilov (Vavilov,1918) it is considered that extremes for resistance to diseases have to be geographically located. It looks like that less susceptible to fungal diseases varieties are from zones favorable for invasion. Horizontal type of resistance is regarded as a prospective for the disease. Thus we think that germplasm from Central Asian countries demonstrated some resistance highlighting a need for more acquisition and further testing.
The potentially resistant lines identified in Ethiopian experiments have been tested in Western Australia to assess resistance in a widely different environment. A crossing program incorporating sources of resistance is planned. The most resistant Chinese variety is to be used as priority parental material.

Common bean evaluation to resistance to Xanthomonas phaseoli

Bacterial diseases of common beans are widely distributed and damage from 30 to 80% of plants depending on the environment. There are more than 10 species of the agents which are able to adapt to the environment.
The most popular and widely spread agent is Xanthomonas phaseoli (E.F.Smith) Dowson. During epidemic years 50% of seed could be lost. That why the breeding varieties resistant to this disease is one of the priorities in Russia.
Evaluation of the germplasm has been carried out in the Institute since 1992. Field-testing has been made with the inoculation of the plants with bacterium culture suspension by spraying (Buravtseva T.V. et al.,2000). The scores of susceptibility have been considered as following: 0 - no disease, 1- not more than 10% leaf surface is affected, leaves of the lower and partly middle part of the plant are damaged, 2 -11-30% leaf surface is affected, leaves of the lower, middle and partly upper part of the plant are damaged; 3 - 30-50% leaf surface is affected, leaves of the all parts of the plant are damaged, spots on the stem are visible; 4 - 50% and more leaf surface is affected, leaves of the all parts of the plant are damaged, strips on the stem are visible.
262 accessions of Phaseolus vulgaris L. were tested for three years in Leningrad region. Totally resistant lines had not been revealed. All accessions have been classified in accordance with the level of susceptibility (table 3).
A set of accessions of other species besides Phaseolus vulgaris has been tested. There the sources of resistance have been found (table 4).

Lentil evaluation to resistance root rot and grey mould

The main constrains for lentil production in Russian Federation are grey mould in the regions with temperate climate and root rot especially in arid southern regions. Screening of the total collection of Vavilov’s Institute lentil germplasm (2354 accessions) has been carried out in Tambov region (Middle Russia) on experimental station during 10 years (Golubev A.A. et al.,1998; Yan'kov I.I. et al.,1998). Field evaluation has been made in natural and artificial infection environment. The climatic conditions of the region allow to get reliable results.
Grey mould is caused by fungus pathogen Botrytis cinerea Fr. It is widely spread especially in the conditions of high humidity of air and soil during blooming and pod formation periods. Symptoms of the disease are wet spots on the plant tissue later converting into the grey layer of fungus spores on stems, leaves and pods. As a result seed yield is not formed.
Root rot is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum Schl. via soil. The disease is manifested in a period of seedling, and culmination is during blooming and pod formation periods. Plants get yellow, leaves of bottom part of the plant fall, productivity sharply declines.
Screening has been made in conformity the descriptor for lentil. The scores of susceptibility and number of accessions evaluated and classified are given in the table 5. As a rule, the most of resistant forms were represented by landraces. The landrace from Turkey has been recorded as resistant to both diseases and also considered as good agronomic type. It has been taken as a parental form for new Russian varieties of lentil.
The revealed sources of resistance have been included in “trait” collections. The results of evaluation have been summarized in special issues.


  1. Bulynsev S.V., Teter Z. Chickpea. Resistance to Ascohyta rabiei. Catalog of VIR world germplasm collection 1999, N 697, St-Petersburg, 28 p.
  2. Buravtseva T.V., Avchina E.M., Egorova G.P. Common bean. Evaluation of germplasm to bacterial diseases resistance. Catalog of VIR world germplasm collection 2000, N 712, St-Petersburg, 28 p.
  3. Francis C., Khan T., Priliouk L., Gofru D., Bejuga G. Screening peas of Vavilov institute and ICARDA for black spot resistance. In: New approaches and Techniques in Breeding Sustainable Fodder Crops and Amenity Grasses. Proceedings of 22-nd EUCARPIA Fodder Crops and Amenity Grasses Section Meeting. 1999. St-Petersburg, Russia. P. 242-244.
  4. Golubev A.A., Volusneva T.A., Archipov v.s., Andreeva N.N. Lentil. Resistance to root rot and gray mould. Catalog of VIR world germplasm collection 1998, N 461, St-Petersburg, 28 p.
  5. Yan'kov I.I., Bulynsev S.V., Golubev A.A. The immunological assesment of VIR world germplasm collection of pea, chickpea and lentil. Abstracts of EUCARPIA meeting, 1998, Pontevedra, Spain.
  6. Vavilov N.I. Plant immunity to infection diseases. Moscow,1918. 239 p.

Table 1. Origin of chickpea accessions resistant to Ascohyta rabiei (Pass.) Labrousse
Origin Number of accessions
High resistant Resistant
Afghanistan 1 2
Armenia - 1
Columbia - 1
Cuba - 2
Germany 1 -
Georgia 1 -
France 1 1
Iran 3 -
Israel - 1
Latvia - 1
Mexico - 8
Panama - 1
Russian Federation 7 4
Turkey - 1
Turkmenistan - 1
Uzbekistan 6 11
Afghanistan 1 2
Ukraine 1 3
Total 21 38

Table 2. Pea accessions tolerant to black spot (Mycosphaerella pinodes (Berk.et Blox.))
N VIR catalogue number ICARDA IFPI Crop N Origin Maturity
1 K-1914 3836 Afghanistan medium early
1 K-1914 3836 Afghanistan medium early
2 K-2274 3865 Turkey medium early
3 K-2293 3866 Uzbekistan late
4 K-2745 3904 Ethiopia medium early
5 K-2752 3911 Ethiopia early
6 K-2974 3937 Ethiopia early
7 K-3093 3967 Ethiopia early
8 K-3094 3968 Ethiopia medium early
9 K-3095 3969 Ethiopia medium early
10 K-3108 3980 Italy early
11 K-5061 4015 China medium early
12 K-5104 4016 Kyrgyzstan medium early
13 K-5105 4017 Kyrgyzstan medium early
14 K-5107 4019 Kyrgyzstan early
15 K-5112 4020 Kyrgyzstan medium early
16 K-5152 4021 China medium early
17 K-5153 4022 China medium early
18 K-5154 4023 China medium early
19 K-5170 4035 China medium early
20 K-5177 4042 China medium early
21 K-5189 4053 China medium early
22 K-5416 4070 Ethiopia medium early
23 K-5417 4071 Ethiopia early
24 K-5425 4079 Ethiopia medium early
25 K-5959 4105 Portugal early
26 K-6065 4111 Kazakhstan early
27 K-6067 4112 Kazakhstan medium early

Table 3. Classes of resistance of common beans to Xanthomonas phaseoli (E.F.Smith)Dowson
Scores The level of resistance Number of accessions assessed
0 Tolerance (the score of susceptibility is 0-0.1) 0
I Resistant (the score of susceptibility is 0.1-1.5) 41
II Weak susceptibility (the score of susceptibility is 1.51-2.5) 61
III Strong susceptibility (the score of susceptibility is 2.51-3.5) 102
IV Very strong susceptibility (the score of susceptibility is 3.5-4.0) 58

Table 4. Accessions of Phaseolus species in VIR germplasm resistant to Xanthomonas phaseoli (E.F.Smith)Dowson
Accession Origin Level of susceptibility
Phaseolus lunatus L. k-8946 / Russian Fed. 0
Phaseolus acutifolius H.Gray k-15147/ USA 0

Table 5. The scale of susceptibility of lentil to diseases and number of accessions evaluated
Scores Morphological manifestation Results of the screening (number of accessions)
root rot gray mould
1 No disease or very weak (not more than 10% tissue is affected) 20 31
3 Weak (10-15% tissue is affected )
5 Middle (26-50% tissue is affected) 1905 38
7 Strong (51-75% tissue is affected) 449 2296
9 Very strong (greater than 75 % tissue is affected)

By Book: "Standartization diseases resistance screening in grain legumes germplasm banks" Spain, Valodolid, 2001. P.1-8.    Top page

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