Chickpeas Resist Caterpillar Pest

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists and their collaborators have developed new lines of chickpeas that are resistant to the the larval stage of the beet armyworm moth that likes feed on the plant’s leaves.

The “CRIL-7” chickpeas were conventionally bred from a cross between wild and cultivated species by a team of scientists from the ARS Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research Station in Pullman, WA; Washington State University’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, also in Pullman; and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Patancheru, India. ARS entomologist Stephen Clement led the project under a three-year grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development that concluded in December 2008.

In 2006 and 2007 greenhouse trials, 28% to 6% of beet armyworms that fed on the leaves of resistant chickpeas died within a few days of hatching from eggs, according to ARS. The surviving worms were smaller and shorter than usual. The CRIL-7s outperformed commercial cultivars used for comparison of resistance, but still require agronomic testing under field conditions as the next step towards commercialization, adds Clement.

For more information, go to www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2009/090825.htm

Source: ARS News Service

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