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  • Author or Editor: Stephen Eaton x
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Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] is an annual legume crop grown worldwide to provide protein for human consumption and animal feed. The objective of this research was to evaluate the seed protein content in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cowpea germplasm for use in cowpea breeding programs. A field experiment was conducted with a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three duplications in two locations, Fayetteville and Alma, in Arkansas, United States. A total of 173 USDA cowpea accessions were evaluated with the Elementar Rapid N analyzer III for their seed protein contents. The results showed that there was a wide range of seed protein content among the 173 cowpea genotypes, ranging from 22.8% to 28.9% with an average of 25.6%. The broad-sense heritability for seed protein among the 173 cowpea genotypes was 50.8%, indicating that seed protein content was inheritable and can be selected in breeding processing. The top five cowpea accessions with the highest seed protein contents were USDA accession PI 662992 originally collected from Florida (28.9%), PI 601085 from Minnesota (28.5%), and PI 255765 and PI 255774 from Nigeria and PI 666253 from Arkansas (28.4% each). PI 339587 from South Africa had the lowest protein content with 21.8%. The were also significant differences in seed protein contents observed among different seedcoat colors; the accessions with cream color exhibited higher protein content (27.2%) than others. This research could provide information for breeders to develop cowpea cultivars with higher seed protein content in a cowpea breeding program.

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Cowpea [Vigna unguiculate (L.) Walp.] is not only a healthy, nutritious, and versatile leguminous crop; it also has a relatively high adaptation to drought. Research has shown that cowpea lines have a high tolerance to drought, and many of them can survive more than 40 days under scorching and dry conditions. The cowpea (Southern pea) breeding program at the University of Arkansas has been active for more than 50 years and has produced more than 1000 advanced breeding lines. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the drought-tolerant ability in Arkansas cowpea lines and use the drought-tolerant lines in cowpea production or as parents in cowpea breeding. A total of 36 University of Arkansas breeding lines were used to screen drought tolerance at the seedling stage in this study. The experiment was conducted in the greenhouse using a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with two replicates, organized in a split-plot manner, where the drought treatment (drought and nondrought stress) as the main plot and the cowpea genotypes as the subplot. Drought stress was applied for 4 weeks, and three drought-tolerant–related traits were collected and analyzed. Results showed that cowpea breeding lines: ‘17-61’, ‘17-86’, ‘Early Scarlet’, and ‘ARBlackeye #1’ were found to be drought tolerant.

Open Access