Despite the considerable importance of legumes to both agriculture and pristine ecosystems, key gaps in knowledge remain. The research within the framework of EUROLEGUME will be directed to improvements in yield parameters, biotic and abiotic stress resistance, nitrogen fixation (in plants and in soil), and nutritional value in sustainable legume (faba beans, peas, cowpea) cultivation systems in Europe by introducing new genotypes from different geographical regions and by exploiting/introducing available genetic resources in active cropping systems, using both molecular technologies and evaluating the influence of legumes on the following crops in rotation and as intercrops in situ.

Overall objective of the project is to improve the sustainable production of leguminous crops and their multipurpose use in a changing climate, ensuring new varieties and new food and feed products, broadening the production area and thus turning EU more competitive and sustainable. This general objective entails specific objectives, which involve:

  1. Description of Biochemical and morphological features of the most valuable genotypes of pea (Pisum sativum L.), faba bean (Vicia faba L.) and cowpea/black-eye-bean (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp) local genetic resources for the development of new varieties for food and feed and further use in breeding;

  2. Development of new food and feed products with a comprehensive characterization of the nutritive value from available European varieties of pea, faba bean and cowpea;

  3. Selection from germplasm bank and native strains of most appropriate rhizobium and arbuscular mycorrhizae fungi to support nitrogen fixation and development of new, commercial inoculants;

  4. Introducing of leguminous (pea, faba bean and cowpea) in the production agricultural systems in order to enhance the sustainability (i.e. keeping a reduction on gas emissions) of these systems and improve the yield and the economical overall benefit of the farmers;

  5. To give an added-value (as feeds) to products from legume grain production residues.

The main long-term progress of EUROLEGUME will be the increase of legume production in EU, thereby reducing the import and supporting local agriculture, more sustainable growing conditions and environment conservation. Moreover, it will ensure European citizens with balanced and safe food, providing high quality protein sources. The most remarkable novel achievements beyond the state-of-art include:

-    Breeding – European genetic diversity of legume crops will be accessed and new elite genotypes for production and/or breeding will be selected. NIR calibrations will be created for use in the fast and efficient evaluation of breeding material;

-    Food and feed production – novel food and feed products will be developed with increased nutritional value and easy consumption. New processing packaging technologies and materials will be developed for particular foods;

-    Biological nitrogen fixation – Rhizobium leguminosarum and Bradyrrhizobium spp. strains of geographically distinct origin will be described and evaluated. New commercial Rhizobia and AMF products will be developed;

-    Cultivation practice – sustainable cropping systems will be developed for particular agro-ecological conditions and to overcome changing climate conditions;

-    Environmental sustainability - agronomical and biotechnological strategies will be used for efficient soil management, valorisation of the residual biomass and nitrogen fixation.

The designed management structure is devoted to achieve a clear communication flow and straight interaction within the partnership, down to the tasks leaders. Thus, a specific Work Package was defined for this purpose. The project management will be performed by the coordinator UTAD with experience in the management of international collaboration projects. The major aim of the management is to ensure that the consortium is working as a team in the spirit of co-operation, co-ordination and commonly understood procedures.


EUROLEGUME Management structure


Additional information