Australian Mungbean Association

Australian-grown mungbeans have quality written all over them!

Mungbean Breeding – research update

Breeding for bacterial disease resistance.


4 March, 2019


National Mungbean Improvement Program update

by Col Douglas, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries


Mungbean is Australia's main summer rotation and a $150M export industry. The National Mungbean Improvement Program (NMIP) releases superior varieties that will increase mungbeans’ profitability and reliability to farmers. Every year we conduct rigorous evaluation of breeding lines in a suite of trials and benchmark these against commercial varieties.

Breeding for bacterial disease resistance

Bacterial disease is the greatest threat to the reliability of mungbean production.

Bacterial pathogens Halo blight (caused by Pseudomonas savastanoi phaseolicola) and tan spot (caused by Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens flaccumfaciens) are the main biotic constraint to mungbean production in Australia. These diseases are seed-borne and cannot be controlled once established in-crop.


Mungbean performance in Southern Queensland and northern NSW

Yields are from 10 breeding trials conducted at Mullaley and in SQ between 2012 and 2018. Jade-AU is expressed in tonnes per hectare and other varieties as a percentage of Jade-AU. Halo blight (HB), powdery mildew (PM) and tan spot (TS) ratings from online Variety Management Packages (AMA)


Summary and future prospects for addressing bacterial diseases

  • Celera II-AU is best available halo blight resistance but is a niche market
  • Upcoming release M12036 will bring improved halo blight reaction in a large-seeded bean
  • NMIP is working with elite lines and germplasm donors with bacterial resistance
  • Resistant varieties are one part of a coordinated industry approach


Screening for resistance to bacterial disease in mungbean

In late 2018 we engaged Principal Crop Pathologist Greg Platz to apply his fifty years of experience in cereal pathology to mungbeans. With dedication from the team and Greg’s guidance we have had our most successful disease experiments in a long time. Working with colleagues in DAF, QUT, UQ and USQ we are developing new knowledge and pathology capacity in mungbeans.

Based out of DAF Hermitage we are working to evaluate disease reactions in the glasshouse and in artificially inoculated field nurseries.


Left) tan spot screening in the glasshouse Right) tan spot symptoms in field nursery


Left) early halo blight symptoms in glasshouse, Centre and Right) whole plot and leaf detail under high pressure in disease nursery


Stage 3 disease screening 2019 – 25 breeding lines in at least their third year of yield testing

For halo blight 50% of lines, and for tan spot 20% of lines had scores better than Jade-AU

Stage 2 disease screening 2019 – 115 breeding lines in their second year of yield testing

For halo blight 45% of lines, and for tan spot 13% of lines had scores better than Jade-AU

Next commercial release – M12036 has comparable to halo blight resistance to Celera II-AU. It is on average more than 20% higher yielding than Jade-AU in SQ/NSW. If pathology results from this season are repeated in future then the new variety could be rated as high as R-MR


Leaf samples typifying halo blight disease reaction in Crystal (left hand side) and upcoming release M12036 (right hand side) in artificially inoculated nurseries at DAF Redlands Facility (March 2019)


The aim of the breeding program is to develop varieties with multiple resistance. The first of these are in preliminary regional trials and will require at least three more years of testing.


Leaf samples typifying tan spot disease reaction in Crystal (left hand side) and resistant breeding line (right hand side) in artificially inoculated nurseries at DAF Hermitage Facility (April 2019). In first year of disease screening this breeding line has also has a comparable level of resistance to halo blight


Contact details

Col Douglas, Senior Plant Breeder
m) 0439 875 799



National Mungbean Improvement Program, GRDC Project DAQ00210

Establishing the International Mungbean Improvement Network, ACIAR Project CIM 2014/079


More information: