Fast tracking the delivery of improved chilling tolerance chickpea for Australian growers

Page last updated: Thursday, 21 March 2024 - 1:33pm

Breeders will have access to improved vegetative cold and reproductive chilling tolerant chickpea lines and high throughput screening techniques and diagnostic molecular markers.

Start date: 01/06/2023
Finish date: 31/12/2026


The occurrence of chilling stress (mean daily temperature < 15oC) at flowering is major constraint to improving the yield and profitability of chickpea in existing and expansion target production environments in Australia.  

Chilling stress at flowering disrupts fertilization and pod set and delays the reproductive phase of chickpea. This delay exposes the plant to greater heat and drought stress, decreasing yield and increasing grower risk.  

Australian chickpea growers and breeding programs have long recognised low temperature stress as a major contributor to yield instability and an important target for genetic improvement.  

This project will build upon previous projects that identified lines possessing superior chilling tolerance in wild relatives of chickpea.  

The aims of the project are to 

  • Screen segregating populations derived from crosses between wild parents identified as possessing chilling tolerance and commercial chickpea cultivars under field conditions at Dale, WA. 
  • Establish a high throughput (HTP) screening assay that is scalable, accurate and reproduces field rankings of chickpea germplasm for chilling tolerance. 
  • Develop genetic diagnostic markers for chilling tolerance in chickpea to assist with selecting enhanced cold tolerant germplasm for use in breeding programs.

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Contact information

Amanuel Bekuma