Asia to benefit from beetle research

Mungbean plant

A quest by CSIRO for mungbean resistant to Central Queensland' s increasingly widespread bruchid beetles will yield long-term benefits for the industry in a number of Asian countries.

Bruchids are a predominantly tropical and potentially devastating pest of stored pulses, and their population growth has mirrored the growth of the Central Queensland mungbean industry.

The beetle work follows successful identification by the CSIRO's Division of Tropical Crops and Pastures of DNA markers for seed quality traits in mungbeans.

Researcher Chris Lambrides targeted mungbean genetic material which would be resistant to weather damage in the paddock, so delivering high-quality, better-priced seed.

The current project is supported by growers through the GRDC and by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). Mr Lambrides will use similar biotechnology to search for markers in mungbean genetic material for resistance to bruchid beetle.

"Bruchids are difficult to control with chemicals, which are to be avoided if possible to reduce the risk of residue problems when the beans are exported," he said.

He said mungbean production — which is nearly all for export — has increased in recent years, and is currently around 20,000 tonnes a year, with prospects for future increases to 50,000 tonnes.

The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre is also supporting the project and has supplied mungbean genetic material that is resistant to bruchids. This will be incorporated into crossing programs along with a wild relative of mungbean which is found in Queensland and which also has bruchid resistance.

The resistant material will b crossed with, among other lines, the commercial mungbean variety Berken, which is susceptible to bruchids and very prone to weather damage in the field.

Subprogram 2.11.23 Contact: Mr Chris Lambrides 07 3377 0213

Region North