Chickpea genetics reduce the need for chemicals

Chickpea genetics reduce the need for chemicals

IMAGE: Chickpea researcher Chiti Agarwal examines plants in a chickpea nursery. view more

Credit: George Vandemark

In recent years, hummus has become a pop culture food phenomenon, drawing praise from dieticians for its health benefits and chefs for the flavor.

However, the basic ingredient, chickpea, has seen its production threatened.

Chickpeas have played an important role in the vegetarian diet for thousands of years. It is high in protein and rich in important carbohydrates and minerals.

Grown in the Pacific Northwest and the northern plains of the United States, chickpeas play a vital role in the farming systems of these regions. Recently, this role has been threatened by a water mold in the soil, Pythium ultimum.

George Vandemark and his team worked to improve chickpea varieties and develop new ways to control legume diseases. Their research was recently shared in Crop Science, a publication of the Crop Science Society of America.

“For more than 30 years, pathogens common in chickpeas and other legumes have been controlled by fungicides,” says Vandemark. “We discovered that this approach was not…

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