Effect of site, harvesting stage, and genotype on environmental staining in faba bean (Vicia faba L.)

S.M. Nasar-Abbas, Julie Plummer, P. White, Kadambot Siddique, M. D'Antuono, D. Harris, K. Dods

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Seed discoloration due to environmental staining in faba bean leads to poor quality and reduced market price. Environmental staining in faba bean is characterised by a dark brown, grey, or black discoloration of the seed coat at harvest. Its cause is unknown, but it does not appear to be caused by a pathogen. Environmental conditions during pod and seed formation and at maturity are thought to have a large effect on the degree of environmental staining. To test the hypothesis that seeds formed under stressful conditions will have a higher degree of staining, faba bean seeds were harvested at 2 different stages of maturity from trials located in a range of environmental conditions under a Mediterranean-type climate of south-western Australia over 2 seasons. Four faba bean varieties were studied (Fiord, Fiesta, Ascot, and Cairo). The majority of seeds had good colour but across the trials, 3-25% were stained up to an unacceptable level and this varied with location and variety. Seeds formed later in plant development (located on the upper nodes of the plant) had more staining than seeds formed earlier (located on the lower nodes). Seeds formed on small and weak plants had more staining than seeds formed on normal sized healthy plants. Fiord showed a greater amount of staining than Ascot, Fiesta, and Cairo when grown in the mild, southern environments. Early harvesting (at physiological maturity) did not reduce environmental seed staining compared with harvesting at full maturity.Chemical analysis of seed testa and cotyledons revealed that total phenolic contents of the testa and cotyledons increased with staining. An increase in Zn and Na and a decrease in K concentration in the testa were also associated with increased staining levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-373
Journal Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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