Common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), like many legumes, are rich in iron, zinc, and certain other microelements that are generally found to be in low concentrations in cereals, other seed crops, and root or tubers and therefore are good candidates for biofortification. But a quandary exists in common bean biofortification: namely that the distribution of iron has been found to be variable between the principal parts of seed; namely the cotyledonary tissue, embryo axis and seed coat. The seed coat represents ten or more percent of the seed weight and must be considered specifically as it accumulates much of the anti-nutrients such as tannins that effect mineral bioavailability. Meanwhile the cotyledons accumulate starch and phosphorus in the form of phytates. The goal of this study was to evaluate a population of progeny derived from an advanced backcross of a wild bean and a cultivated Andean bean for seed coat versus cotyledonary minerals to identify variability and predict inheritance of the minerals. We used wild common beans because of their higher seed mineral concentration compared to cultivars and greater proportion of seed coat to total seed weight. Results showed the most important gene for seed coat iron was on linkage group B04 but also identified other QTL for seed coat and cotyledonary iron and zinc on other linkage groups, including B11 which has been important in studies of whole seed. The importance of these results in terms of physiology, candidate genes and plant breeding are discussed.
Blair, M.W.; Izquierdo, P.; Astudillo, C.; Grusak, A. A legume biofortification quandary: variability and genetic control of seed coat micronutrient accumulation in common beans. Frontiers in Plant Science (2013) 4: 275. [DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00275]