Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet is an ancient domesticate widely distributed in Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, where it has been used as a grain legume and vegetable for more than 3,000 years. To date, it remains an important, but minor, crop in many of these regions. It is also used as animal fodder and green manure in mixed crop-livestock systems and, over the past 50 years, it has become an important annual forage crop in Australia and the Americas.
Despite its wide distribution in the tropics, its adaptability and diversity, L. purpureus is still considered a neglected crop with underused potential. However, its capacity to be used as a vegetable, pulse and/or forage crop in tropical regions with humid to semi-arid climates has resulted in reassessing its potential in tropical farming systems. An understanding of available genetic diversity is the first step in this reassessment of the species and its agronomic potential for future crop improvement.
Research focus in Lablab purpureus is on exploring available genetic diversity of this multiple purpose legume for existing and new uses as well as researching the domestication process occurred hitherto. A range of methods is being used, including ecogeographical morphological, physiological, and molecular approaches.
Germplasm studied has largely been aquired from the Australian CSIRO (the former Australian Tropical Forages Genetic Resources Centre - ATFGRC) and the ILRI genebank in Ethiopia. A core collection has been proposed by Pengelly & Maass (2001) based on morpho-agronomic characterization of the diverse germplasm from these two institutions.
Based on molecular markers (Maass et al. 2005) and seed studies (Maass 2006; Maass & Usongo 2007), it is maintained that L. purpureus is of African origin.
The use of Lablab as a vegetable is also investigated within the collaborative project ProNIVA in eastern and southern Africa.
PUBLICATIONS IN REFEREED JOURNALS
Maass, B.L., Venkatesha, S.C., Knox, M.R., Tefera Tolera and Ramme, S. (2008). Lablab purpureus – a crop lost for Africa? Acta Horticulturae (Submitted April 2008).
Maass, B.L. 2007. Recent advances in research and development of Lablab purpureus diversity – a tropical multiple purpose legume. Seminar presented at the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), Cali, Colombia, 16 Aug. 2007. Available at: www.ciat.cgiar.org/training/pdf/2007_08_16_B_Maass/conclusion.pdf PDF
Maass, B.L., Ayisi, K.K., Bopape, P.M., Usongo, M. and Pengelly, B.C. 2003. Appropriate germplasm facilitates new interest in neglected crops – the case of Lablab purpureus in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. (PDF available)
STUDENTS & THESES
M.Sc. and Ph.D. theses within the ProNIVA project
Usongo, M.F. 2003. Changes in seed attributes of Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet during the process of domestication. MSc thesis at Georg-August Universität, Göttingen, Germany. 55 p.
Ramme, S. 2002. An ecogeographic survey of Lablab purpureus (L.) Sweet and six related Dolichos species from Africa. MSc thesis, in collaboration with ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute), Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany. 134 pp.
Wiedow, C. 2001. Morphological and agronomical characterization of Lablab purpureus in Ethiopia. Diploma thesis (Dipl.-Ing. agr.), in collaboration with ILRI (International Livestock Research Institute) and University of Rostock, Germany. 75 p.
PD Dr. Brigitte L. Maass (firstname.lastname@example.org)
INTERNATIONAL LABLAB MEETING
The Kirkhouse Trust (KT) recently brought scientists with a scientific interest in Lablab purpureus (Dolichos) together for a one day meeting on Sunday 2nd March 2008 near Arusha, Tanzania. This event has been held in conjunction with the International Symposium on "Underutilized plants for food, nutrition, income and sustainable development", 3-7 March 2008, organized under the auspices of the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS). KT supports research projects on this crop based in India and Africa.
For further information, please contact Ms Emma Wilmore
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 856 838
Fax: +44 (0) 1865 841 263
Date: 12 March 2008
- The emerging international lablab network.
- Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables (2006) the Lablab chapter (pp. 190-205).
- Lablab purpureus information (2004) available at PROTA database.
- Lablab purpureus Fact Sheet in the Tropical Forages database (2005) hosted at CIAT.
- North Australian Land Manager Information resources for Lablab Bean Lablab purpureus
- Linking farmers to markets in South Africa. A research partnership combining African and Australian expertise promoted by CSIRO (updated 2007).
- Tropical Legumes for Sustainable Farming Systems in Southern Africa and Australia (PDF available) ACIAR proceedings no. 115 by Whitbread & Pengelly (2004).
- Archaeobotanical and settlement survey, South Indian Neolithic by University College London, UK (2006).
- Better pastures for the tropics and subtropics by Tropical Grassland Society (reviewed 2003).
- Grassland Index by FAO, based on Skerman et al. (1988).
- A review of lablab by Murphy et al. (1999).
- Plants for a future database.
Molecular studies in Lablab purpureus (List of references available on request)
|Germplasm sources||Method applied||Remarks regarding plant materials used||Objectives and main outcomes||Author (year)||Contact|
|CSIRO: 40 accessions||RAPD||Germplasm characterization||Liu (1996)||Dr. Chunji Liu, CSIRO, Australia;|
|Bangladesh/Japan germplasm, CSIRO: ca. 60 accessions||RAPD||Liu’s accessions contained||Germplasm characterization||Sultana et al. (2000)||Dr. Sultana, Bangladesh|
|Mapping population from cross of 2 CSIRO accessions||RAPD, RFLP||Konduri et al. (2000)|
|Mapping population||RFLP||Same accessions as in Konduri et al. (2000)||Comparative mapping with mungbean (Vigna radiata)||Humphry et al. (2002)|
|USDA: >30 accessions||SSR||Wang et al. (2004)|| Dr. Brad Morris, USDA-GRIN, USA; |
|CSIRO: 103 accessions||AFLP||Accessions largely overlap with Sultana et al. (2000); Liu’s accessions contained||Germplasm characterization; high diversity, different types reflected in morphology||Maass et al. (2005)|| Dr. Brigitte Maass, GAUG, Germany; |
|15 genotypes from India||RAPD||Characterization and relationship to morphological diversity||Gnanesh (2005) MSc thesis|| Gnanesh Belaghihalli Nanjappa |
|Mostly core collection + E African germplasm||AFLP||Same primer pairs as in Maass et al.||Diversity study||Tefera Tolera (2006) PhD thesis||Dr. Tefera Tolera, Univ. Western Australia, Perth; email@example.com>|
|Chinese germplasm||RAPD||[information inaccessible due to language of publication]||Xi and Tang (2006)||XI Zai-xing and TANG Hui, China|
|Mostly germplasm collected from S India||AFLP, SSR||Few accessions from core collection contained||Germplasm characterization||Venkatesha et al. (2007)|| Dr. Maggie Knox, JIC, UK; |
|USDA: 47 accessions||SSR||Characterization and phylogenetic analysis||Wang et al. (2007)|| Dr. Brad Morris, USDA-GRIN, USA; |
|Germplasm collection from AVRDC + Bangladesh ca. 200 accessions||AFLP||Few accessions from core collection contained||Germplasm characterization||M.T. Islam (Bangladesh) PhD thesis in process (2007)|| Dr. L.M. Engle, AVRDC, Taiwan; |
|Germplasm from Genebank of Kenya||AFLP||Germplasm characterization||D. Odhiambo (Kenya) PhD thesis in process (2007)|| Mr. Daniel Odiambo, Moi Univ., Kenya; |