Two new pinto bean germplasm lines, known as USPT-WM-1 and USPT-WM-2, have been developed for breeding cultivars of beans that will resist White Mould. The disease is caused by the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, and affects dry edible beans, especially in North America. Under favourable conditions, the fungus’ mushroom stage will eject millions of infectious spores into the air, infecting nearby bean plants or travelling on the wind to wreak havoc elsewhere. Infected plants typically sport white, cottony tufts on their stems, leaves and pods. Severe outbreaks can reduce both the yield and the quality of the seed.
The new pinto lines owe their resistance to such assaults to crosses made between ‘Aztec’, a semi-upright pinto bean, and ND88-106-4, an upright navy bean breeding line. Besides White Mould resistance, the new pintos offer high yields. However, they have fallen prey to race 53 of Bean Rust and were mildly susceptible to Beet Curly Top Virus. So it seems we cannot have everything.
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