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Front Plant Sci. 2018 Aug 2;9:1115. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01115. eCollection 2018.

Faba Bean Cultivation - Revealing Novel Managing Practices for More Sustainable and Competitive European Cropping Systems.

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Department of Agriculture, Crop Production and Rural Environment, University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece.
Laboratory of Vegetable Production, Department of Crop Science, Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece.
Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources ELGO-DEMETER, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Pūre Horticultural Research Centre, Pūre, Latvia.
Institute of Horticulture, Latvia University of Agriculture, Jelgava, Latvia.
Department of Horticulture, Technical University of Cartagena, Cartagena, Spain.
Department of Horticulture, Division of Food Production and Society, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO), Oslo, Norway.
Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
Institute of Soil and Plant Sciences, Latvia University of Agriculture, Jelgava, Latvia.
Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, Institute of Agricultural Resources and Economics, Priekuli, Latvia.
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Agricultural University of Tirana, Tirana, Albania.
Estonian Crop Research Institute, Jõgeva, Estonia.
Department of Crop Sciences, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.
UTAD-CITAB - Centre for the Research and Technology of Agro-Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal.


Faba beans are highly nutritious because of their high protein content: they are a good source of mineral nutrients, vitamins, and numerous bioactive compounds. Equally important is the contribution of faba bean in maintaining the sustainability of agricultural systems, as it is highly efficient in the symbiotic fixation of atmospheric nitrogen. This article provides an overview of factors influencing faba bean yield and quality, and addresses the main biotic and abiotic constraints. It also reviews the factors relating to the availability of genetic material and the agronomic features of faba bean production that contribute to high yield and the improvement of European cropping systems. Emphasis is to the importance of using new high-yielding cultivars that are characterized by a high protein content, low antinutritional compound content, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. New cultivars should combine several of these characteristics if an increased and more stable production of faba bean in specific agroecological zones is to be achieved. Considering that climate change is also gradually affecting many European regions, it is imperative to breed elite cultivars that feature a higher abiotic-biotic stress resistance and nutritional value than currently used cultivars. Improved agronomical practices for faba bean crops, such as crop establishment and plant density, fertilization and irrigation regime, weed, pest and disease management, harvesting time, and harvesting practices are also addressed, since they play a crucial role in both the production and quality of faba bean.


Vicia faba; landraces; legume; nutritional value; soil fertility; sustainability; weed management

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