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Breeding phytophthora resistant chickpea

R.B. Brinsmead and E.J. Knights

Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Hermitage Research Station, Warwick QLD 4370

NSW Agriculture, Agricultural Research Centre, Tamworth NSW 2340

Root rot (Phytophthora sp.) is a serious problem for commercial chickpea (Cicer arietinum) production in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. Infection is likely on land recently growing chickpea or Medicago spp. and accompanied by cool wet growing conditions.


Lines identified by Brinsmead et al. (2) as having slight to moderate degrees of root rot resistance and other lines having desirable agronomic characters (Tyson, PI13792-9 and 77- 16.1.3) were used as parents in 1982 in a modified pedigree breeding system to produce cultivars having improved root rot resistance.

Results and discussion

An elite selection from CPI56564 x ICC2903 was identified and named Barwon (1). Its performance compared to the standard commercial cultivars Amethyst, Dooen and Tyson in root rot infested and free sites is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Mean yield (g/m2) chickpea cultivars.

Although only displaying moderate resistance Barwon has given an average 59%, 63% and 102% yield increase compared to Amethyst, Dooen and Tyson, respectively, from 12 sites where phytophthora was evident. Where this had not occurred, Barwon slightly out yielded these other cultivars in northern New South Wales and on the Darling Downs in Queensland. For other regions of Queensland, Amethyst and Tyson outyielded Barwon by an average of 12%. Pacific Seeds Pty Ltd will have Barwon available for farmers use under Plant Variety Rights in 1992. Complex crosses from the original lines used in the breeding programme display promise of further improvement in agronomic characters.


Anon. 1990 Plant Varieties J. 3, 28-29.

Brinsmead, R.B. Rettke, M.L., Irwin, J.A.G., Ryley, M.J. and Langdon, P.W. 1985. Plant Disease 69, 504-506.

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