Promoting Australian pulses through data sharing
Pulse crops include chickpea, lentils, mung bean, cowpeas and beans grown for their dry edible seeds high in protein and fibre, but low in fat. Pulses provide some of the world’s most economical sources of protein for food and feed. These proteins are high in the essential amino acids lysine and methionine, making them nutritionally complementary to the cereals that lack both these amino acids. While growing pulses has natural advantages such as increasing soil nitrogen content, increasing tropical pulse production has some inherent challenges.
Increasing climate variability and change are major risk factors, as are the increasing incidences of pests and diseases. In a recent study, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) forecasted that agricultural production could fall by as much as 19 per cent by 2050 with Australia projected to be one of the most adversely affected regions in terms of reductions in agricultural production and exports.
'Promoting Australian pulses through data sharing' is a joint project between the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF). Funded by the Australian National Data Service (ANDS), the aim of this project was to harness the significant amounts of data collected as part of the QUT led project. Specifically, a nested association mapping population of mung beans containing the largest levels of genetic variation in the smallest population possible, generated by QUT, has potential to provide substantial information to growers, researchers, farmers, seed distribution companies and breeders. QUT-derived information available as part of the project includes:
- Days to flowering
- Seed size
- Seed colour
Response to Stress (Data)
- Phytophora Root Rot
- Halo Blight
- Bortytis Grey Mould
- Powdery Mildew
The data enables users to perform simulation modelling to further the understanding and prediction of genetics, environment and management interactions to improve the stability of tropical pulse production in Australia. The cultivation of tropical pulses such as chickpea and mung bean is experiencing price and yield booms and the industries are worth approximately $441 and $80 million, respectively in Queensland alone. Mung bean is particularly poised to increase production over the next few years.
The information from the nested association mapping population will contribute significantly to this boom and is expected to accelerate the breeding programme by at least ten years.