Breeding Peanut for Disease Resistance Valuable to Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States

Lead Scientist Dr. Barry Tillman works with Bolivian peanut farmers.


The goals of this project were to breed and release disease resistant germplasm, which will remove many of the constraints to peanut yield, reduce cost of pesticide use, and have beneficial effects on the environment in both the U.S. and host countries.


This project used wild peanut relatives in breeding programs to produce rust and leaf spot resistant peanut germplasm and cultivars. The gene pool of wild species is strong in resistance to many plant diseases. Rust screening began with 48 lines in 2008 and with 90 lines for leaf-spot resistance in 2009. A sub-set of 22 selected lines were tested in Florida in 2010-2012. Seven lines were sent to Guyana and 44 lines to Bolivia for the 2011-2012 seasons. Results are not complete, but are anticipated to improve the germplasm base in all three countries and result in the release of new cultivars. This team of scientists has been successful in bringing these genes into cultivated plants, which is a major step forward in breeding programs working with wild species. The result is two lines displaying little or no rust and very little leaf spot diseases. If confirmed in field test studies in Bolivia where a history of these diseases exist, there should be a significant acceleration in the development of rust and leaf spot resistant cultivars and a greatly improved peanut production. Similarly, lines resistant to rust and leaf spot are being tested in Guyana. In 2011, it was not possible to get the lines into Haiti. A project visit to Bolivia in 2012 shared the project progress with U.S. and Bolivian participants, and the collection and return to the U.S. of seed of several favorite cultivars in Bolivia to add to the U.S. collection of germplasm with necessary quarantine procedures. Discussions with ANAPO personnel included sending a list of wild peanut germplasm and potentially exchanging material that is not available in the U.S. collection. Technology transfer activities included field and laboratory demonstrations by U.S. scientists, such as aflatoxin testing, controlling plant disease, and weed control.

Lead Scientist

Dr. Barry Tillman, Associate Professor of Agronomy

More about Tillman

Research Collaborators

AsociaciĆ³n de Productores de Oleaginosas y Trigo

  • Dr. Diego Baldelomar
  • Dr. Jaime Hernandez
  • Dr. Rolando Zabala Moreno
  • Dr. Ruben Mostacedo

Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology

  • Dr. Alessandra P. Favero

University of Georgia

USDA-ARS National Peanut Lab

Dr. Noelle Barkley

Partner Institute

Research Location

Bolivia, Brazil


01/01/2008 - 12/31/2012


Producer Values

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Sub-Award Amount