Regeneration guidelines for bean

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The information on this page was extracted from:
Salcedo J.M. 2008. Regeneration guidelines: common bean. In: Dulloo M.E., Thormann I., Jorge M.A. and Hanson J., editors. Crop specific regeneration guidelines [CD-ROM]. CGIAR System-wide Genetic Resource Programme, Rome, Italy. 9 pp.

Before reading the regeneration details for this crop, read the general introduction that gives general guidelines to follow by clicking here.


Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) belongs to the legume family (Leguminosae). It is widely cultivated and represents one of the largest food components in Latin America and Africa valued for its high content of protein and micronutrients such as iron and folic acid. It is one of the most economically important crops in Latin America and provides an income source for small farmers (Pachico 1989).

The common bean is mainly self-pollinated; however, many authors have reported outcrossing or natural hybridization in both wild and cultivated populations. Ibarra-Perez et al. (1997) reported cross-pollination rates between 0 and 85%.

Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) growing the greenhouse. (photo: Orlando Toro/CIAT)

Although outcrossing is sporadic, it is necessary to take some precautions during regeneration, mainly in wild accessions grown in the greenhouse or field in order to maintain genetic integrity.

Choice of environment and planting season

Climatic conditions

Planting season

Preparation for regeneration

Regenerating common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.)in the greenhouse at CIAT, Palmira,Colombia.(photo: Orlando Toro/CIAT)

When to regenerate

Field selection and preparation

To avoid disease problems, do not grow beans in the same field in consecutive years.

Greenhouse regeneration (see photo)

Method of regeneration

To maintain genetic integrity, collect seed sample from the original source if possible. The minimum quantity of seeds required for regeneration is 80. In some cases, especially accessions from germplasm donations, the minimum number of seeds is not always available, but regeneration should still be carried out.
One of the few outcrossing species is Phaseolus coccineus L., which is a virtually obligate ‘outcrosser’. To obtain adequate seed and maintain diversity, plants should be sib-pollinated (in some cases, particularly with the cultivated varieties, tripping will work to get adequate seed, but may not give good diversity).

Field plots of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) at CIAT, Tenerife, Colombia. (photo: Orlando Toro/CIAT)

Planting layout, density and distance

Planting method

In the field:

In the greenhouse:

Crop management


Weed management



Common pests and diseases

Contact plant health experts to identify pest and disease symptoms and appropriate control measures. Common pests and diseases include:

Pest and disease control

Harvesting common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in the field at CIAT, Tenerife, Colombia. (photo: Orlando Toro/CIAT)


Post-harvest management

1. Where ambient conditions are not conducive to pre-drying, use cold air-flow cabinets at 20°C and 35% relative humidity. (These can be improvised by using regular fans to create a continuous airflow.)

2. Extract seed from dried pods manually to avoid damage to the seed embryo. This may involve opening the pods individually by hand or tapping the muslin cloth bag containing pods with a small rod.

3. Clean by removing damaged or immature seeds and discarding foreign plant material.
This could be done by winnowing with baskets.

4. Verify the identity of each accession by comparing seeds with the original sample and with photographic images of seeds that were sown. (See section below.)

5. Visually check the entire lot of seeds harvested per accession and count out at least 1220 seeds, which is the minimum number required for storage per accession.

6. Dry seeds for a second time in hermetically sealed storage rooms at 20°C and 20% relative
humidity. The seeds reach moisture levels close to 9%.

7. Carry out seed tests for viability (50 seeds) and health (200 seeds).

8. Pack seeds in plastic containers with airtight closure at 5°C while awaiting results from the viability and health tests.

9. Verification of viability higher than 85%.

10. Verification of healthy sample free of fungi, bacteria and viruses.

11. Third seed drying in hermetically sealed storage rooms at 15°C and 10% relative humidity, where seeds reach moisture levels close to 6%. Alternatively, reduce seed moisture content using silica gel at 2:1 or 3:1 ratio in closed cabinets (or desiccation jars for small volumes).

12. Verify moisture of each accession in micro ovens using 1 g ground seed per accession. Moisture content may also be determined by non-destructive methods using electronic moisture meters.

13. Vacuum-pack seed in aluminium foil packets identified with barcode and accession number, taking samples for separate purposes: 1.) Distribution, 2.) Base collection, 3.) Periodic monitoring, 4.) Safety duplicate, 5.) Return to country of origin.

Monitoring accession identity

Compare with previous passport or morphological data and compare the following characterization traits, using data from seed characterization according to standard descriptors for common bean seeds (IBPGR 1982).

In seedlings and mature plants:

In seeds:

Regeneration of wild common bean

Wild populations of common bean generally have smaller seeds which in some cases still have significant dormancy levels or require more specific conditions for germination. Before sowing, treat seeds with pre-germination processes in laboratory conditions.

Documentation of information during regeneration

Collect the following information during regeneration:

References and further reading

Bioversity International, CIAT. 2009. Key access and utilization descriptors for bean genetic resources. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy; International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Cali, Colombia. Available here.

Ibarra-Perez FJ, Bahman E, Saines G. 1997. Estimation of outcrossing rate in common bean. Crop Science 37:60–65.

IBPGR. 1982. Phaseolus vulgaris Descriptors. IBPGR, Rome, Italy. Available here.

Lewis G, Schrie B, Mackinder B, Lock M, editors. 2005. Legumes of the World. Royal Botanic Garden Publishing, Kew, UK. 592 pp.

McCormack J. 2004. Bean Seed Production. An organic seed production manual for seed growers in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern U.S. Available for purchase from:

Pachico D. 1989. Trends in world common bean production. In: Schwartz HF, Pastor-Corrales MA, editors. Bean production problems in the tropics. CIAT, Cali, Colombia. pp. 1–8.

Rios M, Quirós J, Arias J, editors. 2003. Fríjol. Recomendaciones generales para su siembra y manejo. Antioquia, Colombia. Corporación Colombiana de Investigación Agropecuaria Corpoica.

Salcedo J, Debouck DG, Torres AM, Guevra C. 2006. Flow chart of operations for bean and tropical forage germplasm. Genetic Resources Unit files (Poster). CIAT, Cali, Colombia.
Available from: Date accessed: 30 September 2008.

Welsh MM. 2008. Operations Manual for the Phaseolus Germplasm Collection. Western Regional Plant Introduction Station, Pullman, Washington.


These guidelines have been peer reviewed by Molly Welsh, USDA Western Regional Plant Introduction Station, USA; and Jaime Roberto Fonseca and Tereza Cristina de Oliveira Borba, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA), Brazil.

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