Potential for Genetic Improvement in Salinity Tolerance in Legumes: Pigeon Pea uri icon


  • Leguminous crops are cultivated throughout the world because of their importance as aprotein source in the diets of humans and livestock. Furthcr, many leguminous speciesare cultivated as pasture, fodder, or green manure plants. Legumes thereby form essentialcomponents of cropping systems, primarily because of their inputs of nitrogenfixed from the atmosphere but also for other benefits thcy offer, such as improving thesoil physical and chemical environment and breaking disease cycles (I). Among variouscrop plants tested, however, legumes have generally been found to be more sensitiveto soil salinity (2). With the emphasis given to increasing cereal production inrecent decades, the cultivation of legume crops has generally been forced to moremarginal lands, including those prone to salinity problems. Further, legumes grown onresidual soil moisture in the season after thc rains, such as chickpea and lentil, are particularlypronc to salt damage: salts are progressively concentrated in the soil solutionand precipitated toward the soil surface as the soil dries out. Thus, legumcs generallyface a greater threat of salinity than cereals because of their greater salt sensitivity andan increasing likelihood of being exposed to saline environments. Thcreforc, improvementin the salinity tolerance of legumes is of immediate and increasing concern

publication date

  • 1991