Partner Research Grants

Launched in 2014, the Grain Legumes Competitive Grants Scheme actively collaborates with partners to deliver the planned outputs and outcomes of the program. This offers a very important avenue for strengthened or new collaborative research with Advanced Research Institutes and NARS, for both fundamental and applied research relevant to program goals.

The Grain Legumes Competitive Research Grants for 2014 were awarded to 15 proposals that are being implemented in 2014-15 through pre-existing or new collaborations.

S.No. Project Title Brief Summary Institute
1. Assessment of chickpea Mesorhizobium symbiosis for maximizing biological nitrogen fixation and yield Increased concern for sustainable agriculture renewed interests in BNF in legumes. Chickpea being a legume can fix the atmospheric nitrogen with Mesorhizobium sp. and extract the nutrients from deep soil layers due to its extensive root system. The envisaged project will emphasize on the identification of chickpea germplasms with high BNF traits. The efficient lines would be utilized for transfer of BNF traits into high yielding cultivars. Development of Mesorhizobium inoculants with plant growth promotional traits in addition to their excellent BNF will open new opportunities for harnessing the benefit of BNF by resource poor farmers. 1: Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, India

2: G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pant Nagar, India

2. Assessment of symbiotic nitrogen-fixing potential and phosphorus use efficiency in chickpea lines/genotypes Chickpea (Cicer arietinum) has the inherent potential to sustain its growth and productivity through nitrogen fixation with Mesorhizobium ciceri and phosphorus acquisition with vascular arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Variations in symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) and phosphorus use efficiency (PUE) of chickpea observed across the farmer’s field is due to plant genotype and presence of ineffective native Mesorhizobium in soils. P deficiency also affects the root architecture and functioning, including SNF potential of chickpea genotypes. Hence, identification of chickpea lines for higher SNF and PUE under different agro-climatic conditions prevailing at farmer’s fields is prerequisite in variety improvement programs. 1. Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi

2. Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR), Kanpur, India

3. ICRISAT, Patancheru

3. Comprehensive assessment of plant traits and management practices to increase grain legume yields. Simulations with grain legume models have already provided valuable in the assessments of potential benefits of modifications of plant traits and management practices.  This study is to develop further grain legume models to expand the species and regions that are simulated.  These results will offer quantitative guides on those characteristics of the legume production system that can be modified for yield increase and better use of resources, particularly water.  A major outcome of this study will be recommendations guiding experimental research to enhance those cropping characteristics in each region likely to result in the greatest yield benefit. 1. North Carolina State University



4. UMR SYSTEM (Montpellier Supagro)

4. Comprehensive characterization of the wild introgressions in the peanut Chromosome Segment Substitution Line (CSSL) population: Genome-Wide Sequencing (GWS) and new markers discovery Peanut is an important food and cash crop in many tropical and sub-tropical regions in the word. Peanut wild relatives are considered as sources of agriculturally important traits. We have previously developed a CSSL population that incorporates the genome of peanut wild ancestors as segments introgressed in a cultivated background and offer the potential of precisely map valuable genes contributed by the wilds. We propose in this project to exploit the recent release of the genome sequence of peanut ancestors with NGS technology to comprehensively characterize CSSL introgressions and accurately establish their effects on phenotypic variation. 1. CIRAD


5. ENHANCING PIGEONPEA-BASED TECHNOLOGIES FOR IMPROVED PRODUCTIVITY IN CROPPING SYSTEMS OF SEMI-ARID EASTERN KENYA The productivity of pigeonpea in Kenya is severely constrained by biotic and abiotic stress factors. The most severe bottlenecks to improved pigeonpea productivity and production in semiarid regions are limited use of improved varieties and poor access and/or underutilization of improved agronomic management technologies. As a result, Kenya has become a net pigeonpea importer in Eastern and Southern Africa. The purpose of this project is to identify and disseminate farmer and market preferred pigeonpea varieties with tolerance to stress factors, determine their contribution in combination with appropriate and affordable crop management practices in increasing productivity in intercropped systems of semi-arid Eastern Kenya. 1. ICRISAT-Nairobi, Kenya

2. ICRISAT-Patancheru

6. Exploring is extra-early maturing lentil (Lens culinaris Medik) variety suitable for Bihar. Extra early maturing varieties will enhance the production by delayed sowing problem due to high soil moisture condition at sowing time  and escape from terminal heat and drought condition at reproductive phase 1. BIHAR AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY, BHAGALPUR, India



7. Genomic tools for introgression of stress tolerance traits from compatible wild Cicers into cultivated chickpea Wild crop relatives (WCR) of chickpea are sources of tolerance or resistance to several biotic and abiotic stresses. Two annual WCRs C. reticulum (Cr) and C. echinospermum (Ce) are genetically compatible with cultivated chickpea and thus amenable to introgression breeding. Molecular diversity amongst Cr and Ce germplasm at ICARDA and ICRISAT will be assessed by RAD-GBS and compared to that of new wild populations collected in 2013 and 2014. Separately, PacBio long-read sequencing will be used to define the organization of the wild genomes. These molecular tools will facilitate association mapping and introgression breeding for several CRP-GL product line objectives. 1. The University of California, Davis, USA (UCD)

2. ICARDA, Rabat, Morocco

8. Identification and utilization of terminal heat tolerant chickpea genotypes for the rice-fallow area in the state of Bihar, India. Despite highest productivity (>1000 kg/ha), the share of Bihar is only 1% (57,000 ha)  towards national chickpea production.  Late sown chickpea has gone down in the state, due to abrupt rises in the average temperature (near 36°C), which also induces more incidence of dry root rot disease in the month of March-April ( particularly where chickpea is sown in rotation with rice).    More contribution from the state towards national chickpea production will be made possible through growing terminal heat tolerant chickpea genotypes in the vast area available in Agro-climatic Zone-III, after harvest of medium and late paddy under the rainfed situation. 1. Bihar Agricultural University, Bihar, India.
9. Identification of genomic region controlling resistance to aflatoxin contamination and tolerance to drought stress in two groundnuts RIL populations Groundnut is one of the major oil crops worldwide and is a protein and calorie-rich food crop that serves as an excellent source for combating hunger and malnutrition. Two factors have been primarily responsible for the issues limiting groundnut production: drought which reduces both yield and quality and aflatoxin contamination which dramatically reduces the quality, causes food safety/health concerns, and is exacerbated by drought stress. These obstacles can be overcome by breeding drought-tolerant and aflatoxin resistant groundnut through marker-assisted breeding.  This project aims to identify linked markers to aflatoxin resistance and drought tolerance to deploy them in a breeding program. 1. US Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), USA

2. ICRISAT-Patancheru

3. ICRISAT-Malawi

4. University of Georgia (UGA), Department of Plant Pathology, Tifton, USA

10. Identification of Plant Architecture Traits in Grain Legumes This project aims to use comparative genetics and genomics to identify plant architecture traits of potential use in grain legume breeding programs. Mutagenesis and TiLLING populations within the CGIAR will be assessed and screened for architecture variants. The initial focus of the project will be on a leaf architecture trait known in pea that has the potential to improve machine harvestability in lentil. 1. ICRISAT, Patancheru

2. ICARDA, Rabat, Morocco

11. Identification of wild Arachis alleles conferring novel enhancements of cultivated groundnut Groundnut has greater genetic vulnerability than most if not all other major crops, because of its monophyletic polyploid origin. Wild Arachis species harbor rich diversity but are low yielding with many traits unsuitable for cultivation. From a cross between the synthetic polyploid TxAG6, and a cultivar is grown widely in India (TMV 2), ICRISAT has >100 large-seeded and 50 high-yielding lines in the F11 generation. Applying a new genotyping-by-sequencing procedure with analysis of extensive ICRISAT phenotypic data, we will explore transmission genetics mechanisms and patterns, identify genomic regions controlling key traits, design DNA-marker-assisted selection programs to utilize these lines Plant Genome Mapping Laboratory, University of Georgia
12. Multi-location evaluation of MABC derived disease resistant groundnut lines A major QTL governing resistance to rust and also contributing to LLS resistance was introgressed using marker-assisted backcrossing (MABC) approach into three popular groundnut varieties, TAG 24, JL 24 and ICGV 91114. Preliminary evaluation results showed a pod yield increase of 20-96% over the recurrent parents and a disease score of 2 (on a 1-9 scale) similar to donor parent (GPBD 4) (Varshney et al 2014). Multi-location evaluation of MABC lines that include hot spot locations will result in the identification of best lines for recommendation to variety release trials (of All India Co-ordinated Research Project on Groundnut and state MLT) by collaborators. Subsequently, the best performing disease resistant groundnut varieties may be released for cultivation. 1. Directorate of Groundnut Research (DGR), Junagadh, Gujarat

2. ICRISAT, Patancheru

3. University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka

4. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Aliyarnagar, Tamil Nadu

5. Agricultural Research Station, Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV), Maharashtra

6. Oilseeds Research Station, MPKV,  Maharastra

7. Agricultural Research Station, Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

13. Phenotyping root traits in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.)  core collection. Root systems of major crops are poorly adapted to soils due to the poor water holding capacity and nutrient deficiencies. Development of future chickpea genotypes with enhanced drought resistance and increased nutrient- and water-use efficiency is essential for improving crop adaptation in chickpea breeding programs, which relies on a better understanding of root structure and function. Therefore, the proposed study aims to identify genotypic variability in root traits in world chickpea core collection. A major outcome of this study will be enhancing chickpea breeding effort for inclusion of root traits leading to improved adaptation to specific environments. 1.ICARDA

2. The University of Western Australia

14. Strengthening Community Participation in Production of Chickpea Quality Declared Seeds in the Lake Zone of Tanzania. Chickpea has gained great importance in the Lake Zone of and there is a high potential to expand to other areas. LZARDI – Ukiriguru in collaboration with ICRISAT released the first four improved varieties in Tanzania (Ukiriguru 1, Mwangaza, Mwanza 1 and Mwanza 2). Less than 20% of chickpea cultivated area is planted with these varieties, one of the key cause being insufficient seed availability. Private seed companies do not show interest in grain legumes seed production. This project will ensure availability of quality seeds at reduced costs, easy access by farmers, increased productivity income and household nutrition. 1. LZARDI – Ukiriguru (Lake Zone Agricultural Research Institute, Tanzania)

2. MRHP-NGO (Mwanza Rural Housing Program – NGO)

3. TOSCI (Tanzania Official Seed Certification Institute)

4. ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics)

15. Understanding mechanisms underlying combined tolerance to reproductive stage heat and drought stresses in chickpea and lentil Drought and heat are the most important abiotic constraints to the productivity of chickpea and lentil. The breeding programs earlier focused on drought tolerance and did not give much attention to heat stress until recently. Studies have been conducted to understand mechanisms for tolerance to individual stress. This study will focus on understanding mechanisms underlying combined tolerance to drought and heat in chickpea and lentil. A common set of germplasm of both the legumes will be evaluated for drought and heat tolerance and observations will be recorded on various more-physiological traits to identify common and stress specific mechanisms for tolerance to drought and heat stresses, individually and in combination. 1. Panjab University, Chandigarh, India

2. ICRISAT, Patancheru

3. ICARDA, Morocco

Grain Legumes

Grain Legumes is a partnership among four CGIAR Research Institutes: ICRISAT as lead center, CIAT, ICARDA and IITA, along with several public and private institutes and organizations, governments, and farmers worldwide.

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