Strategies for faba bean improvement growing under severe conditions and in the presence of a wide range of disease

Author(s): Sonia Mejri, Yassine Mabrouk, Mouldi Saidi, Omrane Belhadj

Successful production of faba bean crops under severe conditions and in the presence of a wide range of disease-causing fungi, parasitic weeds, nematodes, insects, mites and other pests depends on the integration of genetic resistance, hygienic management, monitoring of the target organisms and timely application of appropriate chemical and biological treatments. This paper reviews the strategies developed to enhance growth of faba bean, the limits and possible solutions. Control methods are being developed that comprise agronomical management techniques, chemical and biological control methods, genetic and induced resistance. However, the main concern is that to date, no single method of control provides complete protection against these pathogens and parasites. For that reason, an integrated approach is needed in which a variety of such techniques are combined, in order to maintain faba bean production under severe conditions. For inducing genetic diversity the use of ionizing radiation especially gamma rays, is well established. Induced mutations have been used to improve major crops which are seed propagated. Since the establishment of the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of the Nuclear Techniques in Agriculture, more than 1800 cultivars obtained either as direct mutants or derived fromtheir crosses have been released worldwide in 50 countries. In the presence of regression of faba bean culture in the world caused by selection pressure on the pathogens and pests, creating new varieties, continued breeding for novel resistance genes, development of new selective chemicals, screening for new biocontrol agents and the design of new management strategies will all be necessary.

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