Work Package 5: Legume supported cropping system in sustainable agriculture in different cropping systems

Work package leader: Dr. Dimitris Savvas ( AUA, Greece).




To contribute to improvement of sustainability of faba bean, pea and cowpea crops in terms of yield parameters, nutritional value, tolerance to biotic and abiotic stress, efficiency of biological nitrogen fixation (BNF), nitrogen utilization efficiency (including both uptake efficiency and allocation to vegetative parts and seeds within the plants), in Europe through efficient cultivation systems.


-    To introduce new genotypes characterized by high nutritional value from different geographical regions in local cropping systems and also by exploiting/introducing available genetic resources in active cropping systems and to evaluate the influence of legumes on the following crops in rotation and as intercrop;

-    To evaluate the influence of different Rhizobia strains and AMF on legume performance and soil properties under different agro-climatic conditions and to contribute in detection of the most beneficiary Rhizobial and AMF strains in the field conditions for yield and quality enhancement while reducing the use of inorganic nitrogen fertilizers in legume crops and cropping rotations supported by legumes;

-    To characterize genetic diversity in landraces/breeding lines/cultivars of cowpea by gene expression studies, develop a comparative analysis under drought stress conditions and strengthen research links between transcriptomic information and stress tolerance which will provide breeders with valuable information.




Sustainability of cropping systems involving legumes arise from the positive effects of BNF on soil parameters and on the next crop and /or intercrop, by the minimization of chemical fertilization and herbicide use. With respect to weed competitiveness and contribution of various legume varieties/populations on nutrient availability and utilization, our studies could evaluate the effects of faba bean, pea and cowpea, as part of crop rotation schemes or as crop residues used for mulching, on growth of several weeds or crops through field and greenhouse experiments. Furthermore, possible interactions between Rhizobia and AMF in different cropping systems supported by legumes will be evaluated; alleviation of environmental stresses, and improvement of soil fertility will be evaluated as well.

To perform the tasks and achieve the envisaged objectives of WP5, a multidisciplinary team comprising specialists from 9 countries is deployed. Partners included in WP5 come from many different countries representing all agro-climatic zones of Europe. Field and pot investigations will be performed in 10 partner institutions with geographically specific particularities, but in close collaboration to obtain maximum output from the project.

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