University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Research Seminars > Improving pollination in the field bean Vicia faba

Improving pollination in the field bean Vicia faba

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Legume species, such as the field bean (Vicia faba), are highly important crops due to their high protein content, and are used particularly as food crops in developing countries and as animal feed in Europe. However, in recent years, yields from field to field of V. faba have become more variable, which has been linked to a corresponding decline in its bee-pollinators. Despite insect pollination being required to achieve maximum yield, the floral traits of V. faba have not yet been the target of breeding programmes.

This talk will introduce the pollination biology of V. faba and describe my plans to investigate how variation in the floral traits of this crop affects pollinator preference. Few studies have attempted to investigate the effect of floral variation on pollinator preference in V. faba, and none comprehensively. Therefore I have begun by cataloguing the existing variation in inbred V. faba lines. The effect of variable traits such as flower colour, floral architecture, texture, reward and volatiles will then be examined using laboratory colonies of Bombus spp. The effect of promising traits on pollination will be explored in field trails, and the molecular basis of these traits identified.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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