Insights into Insect Resistance in Pulse Crops: Problems and Preventions

  • Santisree ParankusamEmail author
  • Sricindhuri Katamreddy
  • Pradeep Reddy Bommineni
  • Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur
  • Kiran K. Sharma


Globally, insect pests cause considerable damage to pulse crops. Hence developing broad-spectrum resistance against insect pests has been a major challenge to pulse growers and scientists. Traditionally, cultural practices and synthetic insecticides are being utilized for effective control of insect pests since ages. Apart from these, other strategies such as host plant resistance, insect-resistant transgenic crops, and IPM are also being used to manage the infestation in pulse crops. Though screening of genetic resources for insect resistance has been promising in some pulse crops, fertility barriers and linkage drag minimize the effective utilization of identified resistance in commercially viable crop breeding programs. In parallel, insect-resistant transgenic plants have been developed using various insecticidal proteins from various sources including Bacillus thuringiensis endotoxin, plant protease inhibitors, chitinases, alpha-amylase inhibitors, secondary metabolites, and vegetative insecticidal proteins (VIPs). Deploying transgenic plants with high levels of toxin expression by gene pyramiding is another practical option to delay the resistance development in insects. Nevertheless, the success achieved so far in managing insect pests is limited mainly due to the complex mechanisms underlying the defense strategies together with the lack of precision in screening techniques. Here, we discuss the recent progress and current status of studies toward developing resistance to the most common insect pests of pulses. This chapter points the lack of detailed molecular studies exploring the insect resistance that can advance our knowledge on plant resistance mechanisms and the genes involved. Therefore, a step forward now will be on exploiting natural variations with novel technologies in combination of eco-safe management practices to develop durable insect-resistant pulse crops. Despite technical and regulatory difficulties, developing insect resistance should be the major priority area for future breeding and genetic engineering studies aiming at pulse crop improvement.


Insect resistance Pulse crops Pest control Integrated pest management Cry genes: Bacillus thuringiensis 



This work was supported by a financial grant to PS through the INSPIRE Faculty Award (IFA12-LSPA-08) from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, and partial funding from the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Santisree Parankusam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sricindhuri Katamreddy
    • 1
  • Pradeep Reddy Bommineni
    • 1
  • Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur
    • 1
  • Kiran K. Sharma
    • 1
  1. 1.International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)HyderabadIndia

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