Can Heat-Resistant Beans Cushion Farmers Against Climate Change?
Researchers have developed 30 new types of heat-resistant beans expected to withstand effects of climate change.
The CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) made the announcement in March during a development conference organised by the German government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Rising temperatures could disrupt bean production in African countries such as DRC, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Uganda, according to the CGIAR, which selected the new lines.
More than 15 years ago, scientists started crossing the common bean with the tepary bean that resulted in these new types, according to Steve Beebe, a senior beans breeder based at the CGIAR’s International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Cali, Colombia.
The tepary bean is a bean plant native to the Southwestern U.S. that is cultivated in Mexico and Arizona for its drought-resistant qualities.
Beebe said the new lines were developed by conventional breeding methods of cross-pollination in Colombia, with the added task of cutting the developing embryo off the young pod and culturing it in the laboratory.
A statement from the CGIAR notes that the 30 new types of heat-resistant beans were selected by testing more than 1,000 bean lines, and that they can increase yields at night-time temperatures above 22 degrees Celsius although normally temperatures greater than 18 or 19 degrees Celsius reduce bean yields.
Read more at SciDev.net.