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New Pinto Bean Offers High Yields, Disease Resistance

By Jim Core
October 21, 2003

Dry beans come in many colors and sizes, but the most popular--based on its 40 percent share of the U.S. market--is the pinto. And the future looks promising for pinto bean breeders, partly because of a new, high-yielding pinto line that has unique resistance to soil pathogenic fungi.

The new line, TARS-PT03-1, has been released by the Agricultural Research Service and the University of Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station.

The new line offers a new source of resistance to soil-borne fungi that cause root rot, including Fusarium solani and combinations of F. solani, Rhizoctonia solani and Pythium species. It also offers moderate resistance to common bacterial blight (CBB), according to Rusty Smith, who developed the line. He's a research geneticist at the ARS Crop Genetics and Production Research Unit in Stoneville, Miss.

Pinto, dark red kidney, navy, white, great northern, pink, small red and black beans are all market classes of Phaseolus vulgaris. The new release was derived from TARS VCI-4B (a small-seeded pinto line derived from P. vulgaris and P. coccineus), Montcalm (a dark red kidney cultivar) and MUS PM-31 (a red-mottled tropical germplasm line).

Pinto beans are an excellent source of protein and fiber. Although TARS-PT03-1 is small-seeded, it should help breeders develop new cultivars with disease resistance and greater yield potential, according to Smith. It performed well in trials in temperate regions of the United States, where it showed good adaptability.

Smith developed the line while based at the ARS Tropical Agricultural Research Station (TARS) in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, with colleagues Soon J. Park of Agriculture Canada, Phillip N. Miklas of the ARS Vegetable and Forage Crop Research Unit in Prosser, Wash., and Craig H. Canaday at the University of Tennessee's West Tennessee Experiment Station in Jackson.

A limited amount of seed is available to researchers and breeders from Ricardo Goenaga, TARS research leader, who can be reached via e-mail at:

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.