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Development of new lentil varieties in Bangladesh

Jalal Uddin1, A. Sarker2, Rajib Podder1, Ali Afzal3, Harunor Rashid1 and Kadambot H.M. Siddique4

1Pulses Research Centre, BARI, Ishurdi, Pabna Email
ICARDA, Aleppo, Syria Email
Pulses Research Sub-Station, BARI, Gazipur
CLIMA, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009, Australia.


Lentil ranks first position in respect of consumers’ preference and second in terms of area and production in Bangladesh. It is an important protein source in the daily diet of most of the people of the country. It is grown in Bangladesh after harvest of upland rice and jute, and transplanted lowland monsoon rice. The productivity of the crop suffers from numerous biotic and abiotic factors. Stemphylium blight (Stemphylium botryosum) causes 88%, Collar rot (Sclerotium rolfsii) 44.4 %, Rust (Uromyces fabae) 34.4 % yield loss. Recently botrytis grey mold (BGM) causeed by Botrytis cinerea has been found in lentil. A collaborative breeding approach between ICARDA and Pulses Research Centre (PRC) of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) was launched to incorporate resistance to these major diseases and to enhance earliness and yield potential in lentil. After 10-11 years of research including hybridisation, advancement of generation, nursery management, yield trials both at research station and farmers’ field, two new varieties of lentil have been released and registered by the National Seed Board of Bangladesh. These varieties provide approximately 15-20% yield advantage, are resistant to Stemphylium blight, rust and BGM and contain 24.5 have 28%seed protein. These varieties will boost to the lentil productivity and production and contribute to some extent to alleviate malnutrition in Bangladesh

Key Words

breeding, international collaboration, intercropping, rotation


Lentil is one of the oldest and most popular food legumes is Bangladesh. It provides a valuable and balanced protein source that, coupled with its ability to thrive on relatively marginal lands and under adverse environmental conditions, has ensured its survival as a crop. It is the second most important pulse crop in area and production, but stands first in the consumer’s preference in this country. Lentil is cultivated during winter (rabi or post rainy season; Nov-Mar.). Cultivation of lentil is mainly concentrated within the Gangetic floodplains in the northern and southern districts of the country. Lentils are used to prepare an inexpensive and nutritious split (Dal) all over Bangladesh. They are frequently combined with rice providing more complete protein. In addition to their food value lentil also plays an important role in cropping systems because of its ability to fix nitrogen (101 kg/ha/annum) and thereby enrich the soil (Anonymous. 1984). Lentil contains carbohydrates, mainly starches (55-65%); proteins, including essential amino acids (24-28%), and fat (1 - 4 %). Domestic pulse production satisfies less then half of the country’s needs and some 419648 m tons is imported at a cost of about 12307 million US$ (FAO, 2006). Lentil, purchased mostly from Australia, Nepal, Turkey and Canada, accounts for US$ 17.6 million (MOA, 2002). Bangladeshi's consumes about 10.5 g of pulses per capita per day, far below the 45 g per day recommended by FAO/WHO (Islam and Ali, 2002). It is grown on about 154590 ha, producing 122000 tons of grain, with an average yield of 789 kg ha-1

Low yield potential, susceptibility to diseases, delayed sowing, drought and weed infestation are the main production constraints to the lentil crop in Bangladesh. (Ahad et. al., 1993). The crop has some drought tolerance, but it is highly susceptible to excess moisture conditions and various other abiotic and abiotic stresses.

Background of newly developed Lentil varieties

The major constraints to lentil improvement were lack of genetic variability in traits of importance in local germplasm (Sarker et al., 1991). The breeding strategy was revised to include hybridisation at ICARDA. A decentralised breeding approach was launched and developed segregating populations using Bangladeshi local landraces at ICARDA, Syria. The result was a rust resistant cultivar Barimasur-2, followed two years later by Barimasur-4 and recently (2006) rust and stemphylium blight resistant varieties Barimasur-5 and Barimasur-6 (Table 1 and 2).

Breeding of BARImasur-5 : A cross was made between ILL 69 (Jordanian origin) X ILL 1316 (Iraq origin) during 1995 at ICARDA, Tel Hadya, Syria under glass house conditions with 18 hrs light intensity and temp. between 18-21OC to dvelop ILL 7616. This ICARDA breeding line (ILL 7616) was then crossed with ILL 2501 (Indian origin) using as female parent to develop X95S-136. Single plant selection from this breeding line was done from F3 in Bangladesh. BARImasur-5, a released variety of lentil in Bangladesh developed from this line X95S-136.

Breeding of BARImasur-6: BARImasur-6, a released variety of lentil in Bangladesh developed from the line X95S-167(5). The line X95S-167(5) was developed by crossing between ILL 7667 X Idlib-1 in 1995 at ICARDA, Tel Hadya under glass house conditions with 18 hrs light intensity and temp. between 18-21OC. ILL 7667 is a breeding lines developed at ICARDA by crossing ILL 98 X (ILL 5746 X ILL5700). ILL 5746 is a breeding lines developed by crossingILL 39 X ILL 954. ILL 5700 was developed from a cross between ILL 20 x ILWL 1. Single plant selection was done from F3 of X95S-167(5) in Bangladesh to develop BARImasur-6.

Table 1. Lentil varieties released by Pulses Research Centre, BARI in Bangladesh


Year of release

Source of origin

Crop duration (days)

Yield Potentiality







Resistant to Stemphylium Blight and Rust, Tolerant to foot rot, moderately resistant to aphid






Resistant to Stemphylium Blight and Rust, Tolerant to foot rot, moderately resistant to aphid

Table 2. Disease and insect reaction of BARImasur-5 and BARImasur-6


Disease reaction

Insect reaction

Stemphylium blight (0-5 scale)

Rust (1-9 scale)

Foot rot


BARI masur-5





BARI masur-6





Evaluation in research station and farmer’s field, registration as varieties and seed distribution to farmers

Promising lines X95S-136 and X95S-167(5) were selected starting from F3 generation received from ICARDA through F5. In F5 the lines were treated as families. The families were promoted to screening nurseries and yield trials (OT, PYT, RYT and PVS). After on-station and on-farm evaluation (Table 7-12) a proposal was given to National Seed Board (NSB) for registration of the promising line(s) along with their superior performance with the check variety. After verification the NSB gave registration of the lines as varieties, BARI masur-5and BARI masur-6 for countrywide cultivation in December 2006. Breeders seeds of these two varieties were then handed over to Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) during 2007. BADC produced foundation seed and from them certified seeds. The certified seeds will be sold to the lentil farmers through seed dealers. Performance of promising advance lines X95S-136 and X95S-167(5) of lentil in comparison with the released variety of lentil over locations and years in Bangladesh

Fitness of new varieties in existing cropping patterns

Lentil is traditionally grown during the dry winter months (rabi season) on residual soil moisture under rainfed conditions where it faces serious competition with wheat, boro rice, oilseeds, potatoes and other profitable winter crops, particularly where irrigation is available. As a result, the crop has been pushed to marginal and sub-marginal lands. The two varieties are well fit to the major lentil oriented cropping systems mentioned below.

1. Broadcast Aus-Fallow-Lentil

Areas of Kustia, Rajbari, Magura, Jessore districts in medium high topography lands with sandy-loamy soil. BARI masur-5and BARI masur-6 can be grown as mixed crop with mustard, wheat, linseed.

2. Jute-Fallow-Lentil

In medium low topography areas of Pabna, Kustia, Natore where Jute (Corchorus capsularies) is grown after receding floodwater in clay-loam soil.

3. Broadcast aman (long season) rice-lentil-fallow

BARI masur-5and BARI masur-6 can be grown in low-lying areas of Faridpur, Kustia, Rajbari, Pabna, Natore districts in heavy clay soil.

4. T.aman rice-lentil-Jute/Upland rice

BARI masur-5and BARI masur-6 can be grown in medium topography areas of Jessore, Chauadanga, Magura, meherpur, Kustia, Rajshahi districts in sandy-loam soil.

Mixed and intercropping

BARI masur-5and BARI masur-6 can be grown both as a mixed crop and as pure culture. The practice of mixed cropping and intercropping of lentil with crops such as wheat, mustard, linseed and sugarcane is being followed in some parts of the country. The practice seems to have development as an insurance against complete crop failure, and is characteristics of subsistence farming. Lentil is now very popular as an intercrop with sugarcane.

Relay cropping

BARI masur-5and BARI masur-6 can be grown as a relay in transplanted rice fields which is a common practice at greater Comilla, Noakhali and Barsial districts. An mount of 30-35 kg seed ha-1 found to be appropriate for optimum plant population and higher yield. Seeds should be broadcasted 15-20 days before rice harvest with saturated soil moisture.


Development of short duration lentil varieties with stable and higher yield, resistant to rust and Stemphylium blight disease, suitable for inter or mixed cropping were the key research objectives of the varietal improvement program of lentil. Scientists of Pulses Research Centre in collaboration with ICARDA, Syria have developed two new varieties of lentil BARImasur-5 and BARImasur-6 after 11 yars of research (1995-2006). These varieties are resistant to rust and stemphylium blight diseases. The latter one being the main constraint of lentil production in Bangladesh. National Seed Board of Bangladesh gave registration of the varieties, BARI masur-5and BARI masur-6 for countrywide cultivation in December 2006. The varieties have now highly been accepted by the farmers in the country.


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