Scientists have announced on Wednesday March 25 that they managed to breed beans resistant to global warming temperatures. These types of beans are a result of the ever increasing temperatures that have been recorded during the last years.
The global average temperature has risen with 1.24 degrees Fahrenheit since the twentieth-century and 2014 was proclaimed “the world’s warmest year on record”. And if we were to look at the top 10 warmest years, 9 of them are all in this century. The high temperatures affect crops, a phenomenon that will lead to a possible drop in food supplies in the future.
By 2050, scientists believe average global temperatures can rise even more, “by anything between 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit”.
This phenomenon raises the need for temperature-resistant plants. This is where plant breeders at the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) which is a worldwide agricultural research association, succeeded. They managed to grow 30 new types of “heat-beater beans” which can resist despite high temperatures.
Beans are usually very sensitive to high temperatures. Normally, they start to degenerate when temperatures exceed 66 degrees Fahrenheit at night because heat affects the pollination process.
Steve Beebe, a senior CGIAR bean researcher explained:
“This discovery could be a big boon for bean production because we are facing a dire situation where, by 2050, global warming could reduce areas suitable for growing beans by 50 percent.”
These new types of beans can resist even when night-time temperatures reach 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit (meaning 22 degrees Celsius). The beans were tested in a worst-case scenario situation and successfully passed the test. These situations were imagined as a result of accumulation of greenhouse gases in the future which would cause “the world to heat up by an average of 4 degrees Celsius “.
Beebe and his team evaluated more than 1,000 bean lines which bred form plants grown to resist in spite of drought and poor soil conditions.
So why beans?
Beebe explained that the decision to study eat-resistant beans came after a 2012 report stated that they are even more sensitive to heat as initially believed.
The new heat resistant beans are a mix of common beans like pinto, white, black and kidney beans. The breed grown to be drought-resistant is derived from the tepary line.
Image Source: Penn State University News