In a preliminary experiment, 74 faba bean genotypes including winter genotypes (autumn-sown) and spring genotypes (spring-sown) and isogenic population pairs (tannin-containing v. tannin-free and vicine/convicine-high v. vicine/convicine-low), were analysed for the chemical composition of their seeds. A large variability was found for the main constituents (starch, protein and fibre). Autumn-sown genotypes contained 2·3% less proteins but 2·5% more starch in the seed dry matter (DM) than spring-sown genotypes. The vc− gene, which lowers the vicine and convicine contents, did not significantly modify the main seed components in the isogenic comparisons. The zt1 and zt2 genes, which eliminate condensed tannins in the seed coats, lowered by 2·1% the proportion of the seed coat in the DM. In the isogenic comparisons, the zt2 gene had a stronger effect than zt1 in reducing the total seed fibre and increasing the protein content.
In a second experiment, from the original 74 genotypes, 12 contrasted genotypes were selected and multiplied for animal nutrition trials. Their chemical analysis confirmed the variability between the faba bean categories observed in Expt 1, but detailed chemical analyses illustrated the variability in amino acid, fatty acid, amylose and oligosaccharide composition, trypsin inhibitory activity, condensed tannins, lectins and phytic phosphorus contents.
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