Project Details:

Development of High Yielding Soybean Cultivars and Germplasm with Higher Seed Protein Content and Improved Amino Acid Composition (Year 1 of 1420-532-5638)

Parent Project: This is the first year of this project.
Checkoff Organization:United Soybean Board
Categories:Breeding & genetics, Seed composition
Organization Project Code:1420-532-5638
Project Year:2014
Lead Principal Investigator:Rouf Mian (USDA/ARS-Ohio State University)
Co-Principal Investigators:
Zenglu Li (University of Georgia)
James Orf (University of Minnesota)
Pengyin Chen (University of Missouri)
Henry Nguyen (University of Missouri)
Andrew Scaboo (University of Missouri)
Grover Shannon (University of Missouri)
Vince Pantalone (University of Tennessee-Institute of Agriculture)
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Keywords: Soybean Breeding - Composition, Soybean Composition

Contributing Organizations

Funding Institutions

Information and Results

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Project Summary

Soybeans are the most important source of protein for animal feed be processed into a soybean meal of 48% protein content and the nutritional quality of soybean meal is compromised by a low concentration of the sulfur amino acids. Although breeding efforts to increase protein content have been successful, yield and oil content are often negatively affected. In this project, breeding programs from seven states will work in close collaboration to gain a better understanding of the underlying genetic mechanisms that control protein content and amino acid composition in soybean seed and to incorporate this knowledge into applied breeding programs that target a wide range of maturity groups. The long term goal of this project is to release commercially viable varieties with protein content at 36-38% (13% moisture content), to consistently achieve protein-meal at 48%; with a minimum oil content of 18%.

Soybean meal provides a high-protein feed ingredient that is used predominantly in poultry and swine production. The use of soy meal by those end-users could grow at about 5 MMT/year, ultimately reaching around 230 MMT in 2020 (Wilson, 2010). Soybeans with insufficient protein content cannot be processed into soybean meal with 48% protein content and are less valuable as a feeding ingredient. Recently, several successful attempts to develop soybean germplasm with high protein content have been reported (Mian et al., 2008; Carter et al., 2010; Chen et al., 2011); however, in all cases, the yields were not comparable to commercial cultivars. The negative correlations between protein and oil content, and their individual or combined negative effect on seed yield have been major constraints to the development of high-protein and high-oil soybean lines without reductions in seed yield. Despite this, a recent study by Eskandari et al. (2013) suggests that small simultaneous progress in both traits might be possible. In this research, QTL alleles with small positive effects for seed protein and oil concentration, and no negative effect on yield, were identified in a population derived from the cross between two moderately high oil soybean cultivars. Also, a major QTL from the Korean PI Danbaekkong has been reported to increase protein up to 4 percentage points without any loss in seed yield in the southern USA (Yates and Boerma 2006).

Project Objectives

1. Develop and release commercially viable varieties with protein content at 36-38% (13% Moisture Content), to consistently achieve protein-meal at 48%; with a minimum oil content of 18%.
2. Develop germplasm lines with protein content greater than 38% (13% MC), to consistently achieve 50% protein meal; with a minimum of 17% oil content and at least 90% of the seed yield of elite checks.
3. Determine environmental stability of high protein varieties and germplasm (from obj. 1 & 2).
4. Validate known QTL for seed protein content and/or amino acids of high importance to poultry and swine nutrition (methionine, cysteine, lysine, threonine, and tyrosine) using current breeding populations and newly developed genotyping assays.
5. Identify novel QTL alleles for high protein and or\improved amino acid composition.
6. Identify high protein QTL that are independent of and break the negative correlation with yield and oil content.
7. Develop breeding methodologies that will help to break the negative correlation between protein and yield.

Project Deliverables

• New germplasm and varieties with commercially competitive yields and protein content at 36-38% (13% MC), that will consistently achieve protein-meal at 48%; with a minimum oil content of 18%.
• New germplasm with increased sulfur amino acid content that can be used to produce soybean meal with better nutritional quality.
• A better understanding of the genetics of soybean seed protein concentration and amino acid composition
• Molecular markers associated with high protein and/or high sulfur amino acid content that can be used for marker assisted selection to rapidly introgress these value added traits into elite germplasm from a wide range of maturity groups

Progress of Work

Final Project Results

Benefit to Soybean Farmers

Performance Metrics

1. List of selected germplasm with high protein content
2. Present annual list of QTLs and genes for high protein content and /or sulfur amino acids
3. Present annual list of QTL that break protein- yield (and oil) negative correlation and a plan to employ new breeding methodologies
4. Present annual review of high protein and /or high sulfur amino acid mutants and a plan to include in breeding efforts for high protein
5. List of selected varieties most environmentally stable for protein content per maturity group.

Project Years