Context. In Serbia, common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) production largely relies on improved commercial cultivars; however, many farmers still grow and maintain landraces. Productivity assessment of common bean landraces from Serbia may enrich knowledge of bean diversity from Western Balkans, Europe and worldwide.
Aims. The study aims were to describe the underlying structure of a selected set of landraces and commercial cultivars of common bean, identify relatedness of accessions, and determine breeding values.
Methods and key results. Overall productivity was assessed through main yield components during a 2-year field trial. Average seed yield per plant was 7.9 g, with 1000-seed weight 425 g, 7.4 pods per plant and 22.9 seeds per plant. Accessions were classified according to seed colour and shape, with the Albus group generally showing highest productivity traits. Phenotypic and genotypic variability of the selected set was previously determined. Principal component analysis was used to assess bean germplasm structure, revealing subdivisions partially according to gene pool (Mesoamerican or Andean), evident through the existence of one larger Andean group. Relatedness of genotypes was assessed by hierarchical cluster analysis. Additional variation concentrated within the Andean gene pool was detected. Positive correlations were observed among numbers of pods and seeds per plant, yield per plant and plant height. According to the Mantel test, positive associations were observed among productivity trait distance, genetic distance and descriptive trait distance.
Conclusions. Substantial variation in productivity was observed for bean landraces, with differences among gene pools and seed forms, revealing their agronomic value. Acknowledged structure of agronomic traits and recognised stratification will assist in multilevel organisation of common bean breeding programs.
Implications. Combined information on phenotypic, genotypic and productivity value should benefit selection of promising parental lines associating good agronomic performance with sufficient variability, according to consumer preferences.