Pea breeding for resistance to rhizospheric pathogens
Pea (Pisum sativum L.) is a grain legume widely cultivated in temperate climates. It is important in the race for food security owing to its multipurpose low-input requirement and environmental promoting traits. Pea is key in nitrogen fixation, biodiversity preservation, and nutritional functions as food and feed. Unfortunately, like most crops, pea production is constrained by several pests and diseases, of which rhizosphere disease dwellers are the most critical due to their long-term persistence in the soil and difficulty to manage. Understanding the rhizosphere environment can improve host plant root microbial association to increase yield stability and facilitate improved crop performance through breeding. Thus, the use of various germplasm and genomic resources combined with scientific collaborative efforts has contributed to improving pea resistance/cultivation against rhizospheric diseases. This improvement has been achieved through robust phenotyping, genotyping, agronomic practices, and resistance breeding. Nonetheless, resistance to rhizospheric diseases is still limited, while biological and chemical-based control strategies are unrealistic and unfavourable to the environment, respectively. Hence, there is a need to consistently scout for host plant resistance to resolve these bottlenecks. Herein, in view of these challenges, we reflect on pea breeding for resistance to diseases caused by rhizospheric pathogens, including fusarium wilt, root rots, nematode complex, and parasitic broomrape. Here, we will attempt to appraise and harmonise historical and contemporary knowledge that contributes to pea resistance breeding for soilborne disease management and discuss the way forward.