Researchers Look At Chickpea Defects

SYDNEY - Nob 1/17 - SNS -- Researchers at the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) are trying to determine the genetic causes of weather related defects in chickpeas.

This pre-emptive research will enable chickpea breeders to select more robust varieties for the future and ensure agronomic practices are as effective as possible in minimizing the risk of defects.

The research promises to help the Australian chickpea industry uphold its exceptional international reputation for the quality of its chickpea exports by helping reduce the potential for markings.

Seed coat markings on desi chickpeas have been noticeable in previous years at some locations and observed widely across a number of Australian states. Although these levels did not result in downgrading, it is a potential risk that the industry would like to mitigate into the future.

Seed coat markings are defined as dark marks on the seed coat which are not caused by disease and do not blemish the underlying cotyledons.

Chickpea seeds with dark markings or staining can be classified as defects under the current Australian receival standards depending on the type of blemish or staining.

Different Categories of Damage

Seeds with dark markings can fall into a number of categories including hail damage; Ascochyta blight disease; bin burnt appearance from improper storage or a very hot and dry seasonal finish; and visual markings due to plant stress.

"Knowing how to identify the causes of seed markings will help growers with decisions around keeping seed for planting, marketing and agronomic management in successive crops," Dr Wood said.

If unidentified blemishes are evident on chickpea seed coats at harvest, Dr Wood suggested that growers check the underlying cotyledons for any damage.

"If the underlying cotyledons are damaged, it's most likely due to hail damaged or Ascochyta infected seed and depending on the level of damage, the seed could be downgraded or rejected at receival," Dr Wood said.

"Never keep Ascochyta infected seed for planting and ensure hail damaged seed is tested as germination and vigour can be affected.

"If the underlying cotyledons are not damaged, the blemishes could be seed coat markings, Ascochyta or bin burnt.

"If the marks are distinct on the seeds and the crop was not affected by Ascochyta, then the blemishes are most likely seed coat markings."