Accelerating the development of chickpea with enhanced acid soil tolerance

Page last updated: Friday, 7 July 2023 - 9:01am

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This project aims to initiate and lay the foundation of research and breeding for acid soil tolerance in chickpea.

Start date: 16/05/2022
Finish date: 30/06/2023


Acid soil with aluminium toxicity is the single biggest limitation after Ascochyta blight (AB) towards improving chickpea productivity in Australia, since it is the most sensitive amongst pulse crops.

Current Australian chickpea varieties do not possess genetic variation for acid soil tolerance, which have hampered breeding progress for improved chickpea grain yield and adaptation beyond the traditional areas of cultivation in southern Australia. Improved chickpea acid soil tolerant cultivars would lead to pulse crop options that could grow on acid soils and facilitate expanding chickpea production on soils where acid soils/Al toxicity currently preclude chickpea cultivation.

Significant GRDC investment in screening lines for acid soil tolerance in wild Cicer has led to the identification of accessions which possess acid soil tolerance as well as the development of a variety of screening technologies.

This project aims to facilitate and accelerate the transition from discovery to deployment and subsequently the development of chickpea germplasm with levels of acid soil tolerance superior to all cultivars currently available to growers and in backgrounds based on elite chickpea varieties.

The project team – which involves a collaboration between DPIRD, Murdoch University and Agriculture Victoria – will undertake a one-year initiation phase to screen and genotype targeted germplasm collection and structured populations from crosses of cultivated varieties with wild relatives known to exhibit tolerance to soil acidity.

The researchers will identify confirmed sources of inherent tolerance, bulk up seed for future research, fine tune phenotyping methodology under lab/glasshouse conditions and develop genetic (genomic) information that chickpea pre-breeders and breeders will use in developing varieties that would sustain yield potential of new chickpea varieties on acidic soils.

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