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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

Untapped Genetic Resources for Breeding Acidic Soil-Adapted Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) Cultivars

Negusse, Hawi; Haileselassie, Teklehaimanot; Geleta, Mulatu; Tesfaye, Kassahun


Globally, more than half of potentially arable land is acidic, and aluminum (Al) is the primary factor limiting plant growth and crop productivity on acidic soils worldwide. The development and utilization of Al-tolerant crops is a sustainable approach to enhancing crop production on acidic soils. For this purpose, screening available genetic resources under Al-stressed conditions is a crucial initial step. Hence, the present study aimed to evaluate the Al tolerance of 264 Ethiopian chickpea landraces under hydroponic conditions without Al (control) and with 120 mu M Al (Al treatment). Significant (p < 0.001) variations were detected among the genotypes for all studied traits under control (0 mu M Al) and 120 mu M Al concentration. The relative growth values for the 120 mu M Al/0 mu M Al ratio was also significant, indicating the presence of a considerable amount of genetic variation in Ethiopian chickpea landraces in terms of Al tolerance. Based on relative root growth (RRG) as an Al-tolerance parameter, the genotypes were grouped into five distinct (p < 0.001) classes. The highest RRG value (1.59) was obtained for genotype ETC_209008, followed by ETC_41184 and ETC_212589, while ETC_208995 had the lowest RRG value of 0.27. Of the total landraces screened, 35% had higher RRG values than the tolerant genotype ETC_WL_1_2016 used as a reference, indicating the presence of adequate genotypes capable of outperforming the reference genotype on acidic soils. The genotypes identified in the present study may serve as sources of novel alleles in genes regulating Al tolerance in chickpea that can be utilized in breeding programs to improve the crop's adaptation to acidic soils, thus contributing to smallholder farmers' increased nutritional and food security.


aluminum toxicity; Cicer arietinum; genetic diversity; hydroponic screening; landraces; relative root growth

Published in

2023, Volume: 13, number: 11, article number: 2127
Publisher: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)

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    Agricultural Science

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