The project has been conceived to promote the culture of grain legumes in Europe by identifying priority issues currently limiting grain legume cultivation and devising solutions in term of novel varietal development, culture practices, and food uses. LEGATO will develop tools and resources to enable state of the art breeding methodology and to exploit fully the breadth of genetic resources available. The project will focus on a small number of key characters not previously explored in depth and complementary to other ongoing European and national projects. These topics covered include disease and pest resistance, where in addition to marker development for major fungal and viral pathogens, a focus on emerging insect pests is planned. The impact of end-of-season drought and heat stress on the rhizobial symbiosis, and its consequences for plant performance, will be studied. Two characters that can influence grain legume yield, autofertility and number of flowering nodes, will be investigated. The potential for improving legume nutritional and organoleptic quality by identification of desirable traits and innovative selection methods will be investigated. LEGATO will conceive sustainable legume-based cropping systems adapted to different pedoclimatic zones, respecting local constraints. The project has been constructed around the participation of commercial partners including SMEs in the areas of marker development, plant breeding, and legume food processing, who will benefit from the advances made in these areas in LEGATO. Promising legume varieties and cropping systems will be tested at a series of pan-european sites to favour the widest possible take-up in agriculture, and the partners potentially concerned will participate in a stakeholder forum convened regularly during the project.
Fields of science
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