Adzuki Bean (Vigna angularis (Willd.) Ohwi & Ohashi) Breeding

  • Lixia WangEmail author
  • Jie Wang
  • Xuzhen Cheng


Adzuki bean [Vigna angularis (Willd.) Ohwi & Ohashi], an annual pulse crop, belongs to the genus Vigna and subgenus Ceratotrapis. It provides nutritional elements for the human diet and fertilizes soil by nitrogen fixation. It has been traditionally planted and consumed in East and Southeast Asia, especially in China, Japan and Korea, so it came to be called the Asia legume. Adzuki bean was dispersed to other continents for commercial uses in recent decades. Wild adzuki bean (V. angularis var. nipponensis), considered to be the ancestor of cultivated adzuki bean, occurs in East Asia and in the Himalayan Region, which are presumed to be where the domestication of adzuki bean took place. Another wild form, V. nepalensis, called the weedy adzuki bean, is mainly found in Eastern Nepal and around. A large portion of adzuki bean germplasm has been collected and conserved in different gene banks. DNA marker analysis suggests that there are obvious genetic distinctions between different forms, but the diversity among cultivated germplasm is quite low, indicating that the wild forms could be an important genetic resource for breeding. However, the genetic and genomic studies on this species are lagging and include only low-density genetic maps and a few maps of genes. That is the reason conventional breeding of adzuki bean has achieved rapid improvement, while no modern biotechnology has yet been used in breeding.


Biotechnology Breeding Conservation Distribution Diversity Genetics 



The authors are grateful to the China Agricultural Research System (CARS-08) and the Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program (ASTIP) of CAAS.


  1. Bai P, Cheng XZ, Wang LX et al (2014) Evaluation in agronomic traits of adzuki bean accessions. J Plant Genet Res 15:1209–1215Google Scholar
  2. Baracho NC, Monteiro NF, Borges MG et al (2016) Effect of aqueous extract of the Vigna angularis in rats subjected to an experimental model of moderate chronic kidney disease. Acta Cir Bras 31(8):527–532PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen GH, Hsu MP, Tan CH et al (2005) Cloning and characterization of a plant defensin VaD1 from azuki bean. J Agr Food Chem 53(4):982–988CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen X, Yi JX, Zhang HM et al (2009) Cloning and expression analysis of pathogenesis related gene VaPR3 in adzuki bean (Vigna angularis). Jiangsu Agr Sci 25:1119–1123Google Scholar
  5. Chen X, Chen HT, Wan JM et al (2011) Establishment of tissue regeneration system and genetic transformation of adzuki bean. Jiangsu J Agri Sci 27(5):964–968. (in Chinese with an English abstract)Google Scholar
  6. Cheng XZ, Wang SM (2009) Records of Chinese food legumes cultivars. China Agr Sci Tech Press (in Chinese):125–197Google Scholar
  7. Crawford GW (2006) East Asian plant domestication. In: Stark MT (ed) Archaeology of Asia. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK, pp 77–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fernandez GCJ, Talekar NS (1990) Genetics and breeding for bruchid resistance in Asiatic Vigna species. In: Fujii K, Gatehouse AMR, Johnson CD et al (eds) Bruchids and legumes: economics, ecology and evolution. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 209–217Google Scholar
  9. Frankel OH, Brown AHD (1984) Current plant genetic resources a critical appraisal. Genetics: new frontiers. Oxford and IBH Publishing, New DelhiGoogle Scholar
  10. Fujita S (2007) Studies on the breeding of adzuki bean cultivars resistant to adzuki bean brown stem rot (BSR) and Phytophthora stem rot (PSR). Rep Hokkaido Agri Exp Stat 115:47–53Google Scholar
  11. Gao YP, Dong FS, Wang HB (2013) Advances in research on biotechnology of adzuki beans. Biotechnol Bull 3:10–14Google Scholar
  12. Han EH, Lee CJ, Sin CS et al (1982) An investigation on the stem rot red-bean caused by Phytophthora vignae Purss. Res Rep Office Rural Dev 24:69–71. (in Korean with English abstract)Google Scholar
  13. Han OK, Kaga A, Isemura T et al (2005) A genetic linkage map for azuki bean [Vigna angularis (Willd.) Ohwi & Ohashi]. Theor Appl Genet 111(7):1278–1287PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hu JP, Cheng XZ, Wang PZ (1996) Catalogues of Chinese food legumes germplasm and resources III. China Agric Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  15. Iseki K, Takahashi Y, Muto C et al (2016) Diversity and evolution of tolerance in the genus Vigna. PLoS One 11(10):e0164711PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Iseki K, Takahashi Y, Muto C et al (2018) Diversity of drought tolerance in the genus Vigna. Front Plant Sci 9:729. Scholar
  17. Isemura T, Kaga A, Konishi S et al (2007) Genome dissection of traits related to domestication in azuki bean (Vigna angularis) and comparison with other warm-season legumes. Ann Bot 100(5):1053–1071PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jin WL (1994) Current status of research on adzuki bean breeding and genetic resources in China and Japan. J Beijing Univ Agri (1):118–128Google Scholar
  19. Jin WL, Futsuhara Y (1993) Callus induction and direct plant re-differentiation of adzuki bean explants. J Beijing Univ Agric (1):95–100Google Scholar
  20. Kaga A, Ohnishi M, Ishii T et al (1996) A genetic linkage map of azuki bean constructed with molecular and morphological markers using an interspecific population (Vigna angularis × V. nakashimae). Theor Appl Genet 93(5/6):658–663PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kaga A, Ishii T, Tsukimoto K et al (2000) Comparative molecular mapping in Ceratotropis species using an interspecific cross between adzuki bean Vigna angularis and rice bean V.umbellata. Theor Appl Genet 100:207–213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kaga A, Isemura T, Tomooka N et al (2008) The genetics of domestication of the azuki bean (Vigna angularis). Genet Soc Amer 178:1013–1036Google Scholar
  23. Kang YJ, Satyawan D, Shim S et al (2015) Draft genome sequence of adzuki bean, Vigna angularis. Sci Rep 5:8069. Scholar
  24. Khalafalla MM, El-Shemy HA, Mizanur RS et al (2005) Recovery of herbicide-resistant azuki bean [Vigna angularis (Wild.), Ohwi & Ohashi] plants via Agrobacterium- mediated transformation. Afr J Biotech 4(1):61–67Google Scholar
  25. Kim MK, Jeong RD, Kwak HR et al (2014) First report of cucumber mosaic virus isolated from wild Vigna angularis var. nipponensis in Korea. Plant Pat J 30:200–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kim M, Kim DK, Cha YS (2016) Black adzuki bean (Vigna angularis) extract protects pancreatic β cells and improves glucose tolerance in C57BL/6J mice fed a high-fat diet. J Med Food 19(5):442–449PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kim M, Pichiah PBT, Kim DK et al (2017) Black adzuki bean (Vigna angularis) extract exerts phenotypic effects on white adipose tissue and reverses liver steatosis in diet-induced obese mice. J Food Biochem 41(2):e12333. Scholar
  28. Kitazawa K, Tsuchiya S, Kodama F et al (1978) Phytophthora stem rot of adzuki-bean (Phaseolus angularis) caused by Phytophthora vignae Purss. Japan J Phytopath 44(4):528–531CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kramer C, Soltani N, Robinson DE et al (2012) Control of volunteer adzuki bean in soybean. Agri Sci 3(4):501–509Google Scholar
  30. Lee GA (2012) Archaeological perspectives on the origins of azuki (Vigna angularis). The Holocene 23(3):453–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lin RF, Chai Y, Liao Q et al (2002) Minor grain crops in China. Agric Sci Tech Press, Beijing, pp 210–227. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  32. Liu XM, Jin DS, Cheng XZ et al (1998) Preliminary report on the bruchid resistance identification of mungbean germplasm resources. China Seed Ind 2:37–39. (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  33. Liu CY, Tian J, Fan BJ (2009) Genetic diversity analysis of adzuki bean germplasm in Hebei province. J Plant Genet Resour 10:73–76. (in Chinese with English abstract)Google Scholar
  34. Liu CY, Fan BJ, Cao ZM et al (2016) Development of a high-density genetic linkage map and identification of flowering time QTLs in adzuki bean (Vigna angularis). Sci Rep 6:39523. Scholar
  35. Liu R, Cai Z, Xu B (2017a) Characterization and quantification of flavonoids and saponins in adzuki bean (Vigna angularis L.) by HPLC-DAD-ESI-MSn analysis. Chem Cent J 11(1):93PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Liu R, Zheng Y, Cai Z et al (2017b) Saponins and flavonoids from adzuki bean (Vigna angularis L.) ameliorate high-fat diet-induced obesity in ICR mice. Front Pharmacol 8:687PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Lu MS, Ge KL, Yang JS (1985) Callus induction and plant regeneration of red bean cotyledons. Acta Agr Shanghai 1(04):35–38Google Scholar
  38. Luo HJ, Zhang YQ, Shi YH et al (2014) Effects of drought stress on the physiological characteristics of different adzuki bean varieties at the seedling stage. Plant Sci J 32(5):493–501Google Scholar
  39. Mimura M, Yasuda K, Yamaguchi H (2000) RAPD variation in wild, weedy and cultivated azuki beans in Asia. Genet Res Crop Evol 47(6):603–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Moon JK, Lee YH, Han WY et al (2006) A new light green seed coated azuki bean cultivar, "Yeonkeum" with middle seed size and good seed quality. Korean J Breed 38(4):303–304Google Scholar
  41. N’Danikou S, Achigan-Dako EG, Tchokponhoue DA et al (2015) Modelling socioeconomic determinants for cultivation and in-situ conservation of Vitex doniana Sweet (black plum), a wild harvested economic plant in Benin. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed 11:28. Scholar
  42. Orsi DC, Nishi ACF, Carvalho VS et al (2017) Chemical composition, antioxidant activity and development of desserts with azuki beans (Vigna angularis). Braz J Food Tech 20:e2016174.–6723.17416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Parida A, Raina SN, Narayan RKJ (1990) Quantitative DNA variation between and within chromosome complements of Vigna species (Fabaceae). Genetica 82:125–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Peterbauer T, Mucha J, Mayer U et al (1999) Stachyose synthesis in seeds of adzuki bean (Vigna angularis): molecular cloning and functional expression of stachyose synthase. Plant J 20(5):509–518PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Redden RJ, Basford KE, Kroonenberg PM et al (2009) Variation in adzuki bean (Vigna angularis) germplasm grown in China. Crop Sci 49(3):771–782CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rubatzky VE, Yamaguchi M, Rubatzky V et al (1997) World vegetables: principles, production, and nutritive values. Chapman & Hall, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sakai H, Naito K, Takahashi Y et al (2016) The Vigna Genome Server, ‘VigGS’: a genomic knowledge base of the genus Vigna based on high-quality, annotated genome sequence of the Azuki Bean, Vigna angularis (Willd.) Ohwi & Ohashi. Plant Cell Physiol 57(1):e2. Scholar
  48. Sato T, Asaka D, Harada T et al (2008) Plant regeneration from protoplasts of adzuki bean (Vigna angularis Ohwi and Ohashi). Japan J Breed 43(2):183–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Sato S, Kataoka S, Kimura A et al (2016) Azuki bean (Vigna angularis) extract reduces oxidative stress and stimulates autophagy in the kidneys of streptozotocin-induced early diabetic rats. Can J Physiol Pharm 94(12):1. Scholar
  50. Shi Z, Yao Y, Zhu Y et al (2017) Nutritional composition and biological activities of 17 Chinese adzuki bean (V. angulairs) varieties. Food Agr Immun 28:78–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Somta P, Kaga A, Tomooka N et al (2008) Mapping of quantitative trait loci for a new source of resistance to bruchids in the wild species Vigna nepalensis Tateishi & Maxted (Vigna subgenus Ceratotropis). Theor Appl Genet 117(4):621–628PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Takahashi Y, Tamagata Y, Matsumura T et al (1998) Nucleotide sequence of the 3’-terminal region of the genome of the azuki bean mosaic strain of the bean common mosaic virus and its phylogenetic relationship to viruses in the bean common mosaic virus group. Jpn J Phytopath 64(5):478–480CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Takahashi Y, Somta P, Muto C et al (2016) Novel genetic resources in the genus Vigna unveiled from gene bank accessions. PLoS One 11(1):e0147568. Scholar
  54. Tateishi Y, Maxted N (2002) New species and combinations in Vigna subgenus Ceratotropis (Piper) Verdcourt (Leguminosae, Phaseoleae). Kew Bull 57:625–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Tian J, Fan B, Zhang X (2004) Breeding of a new adzuki bean variety Jihong 9218. J Hebei Agr Sci 8:74–76Google Scholar
  56. Tomooka N, Vaughan D, Moss H, Maxted N (2002) The Asian Vigna: genus Vigna subgenus Ceratotropis genetic resources. Kluwer Acad Pub, Dordrecht, pp 57–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Tomooka N, Kaga A, Vaughan DA (2005) The Asian Vigna (Vigna subgenus Ceratotropis): biodiversity and evolution. In: Sharma AK, Sharma A (eds) Plant genome: biodiversity and evolution, vol 1c. Phanerogams Science, Enfield, pp 87–147Google Scholar
  58. Vaughan DA, Tomooka N, Kaga A (2005) Azuki bean [Vigna angularis (L.) Ohwi & Ohashi]. In: Singh RJ, Jauhar PP (eds) Genetic resources, chromosome engineering, and crop improvement, vol 1, Grain legumes. CRC Press, Boca Roca, pp 341–353Google Scholar
  59. Wang LX, Cheng XZ, Wang SH et al (2009a) Genetic diversity of adzuki bean germplasm resources revealed by SSR markers. Acta Agro Sin 35(10):1858–1865CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wang LX, Cheng XZ, Wang SH et al (2009b) Analysis of an applied core collection of adzuki bean germplasm by using SSR markers. J Integr Agr 42(8):2661–2666Google Scholar
  61. Wang L, Cheng X, Wang S (2011) Genetic diversity in adzuki bean and its relatives based on SSR markers. Biodivers Sci 19:17–23. (in Chinese with English abstract)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Wang L, Kikuchi S, Muto C et al (2015) Reciprocal translocation identified in Vigna angularis dominates the wild population in East Japan. J Plant Res 128:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Xu ZH, Yang LJ, Wei ZM (1984) Plant regeneration in tissue culture of four leguminous plants. J Mol Cell Biol (4):109–112Google Scholar
  64. Xu RQ, Tomooka N, Vaughan DA (2000) AFLP markers for characterizing the azuki bean complex. Crop Sci 40(3):808–815CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Xu ZJ, Nakajima M, Suzuki Y et al (2002) Cloning and characterization of the abscisic acid–specific glucosyltransferase gene from adzuki bean seedlings. Plant Physiol 129(3):1285–1295PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Xu N, Cheng XZ, Wang LX et al (2008a) Establishment of an adzuki bean (Vigna angularis) core collection based on geographical distribution and phenotypic data in China. Acta Agron Sin 34(8):1366–1373CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Xu HX, Jing T, Tomooka N et al (2008b) Genetic diversity of the azuki bean (Vigna angularis (Willd.) Ohwi and Ohashi) gene pool as assessed by SSR markers. Genome 51:728–738PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Yamada T, Teraishi M, Hattori K et al (2001) Transformation of azuki bean by agrobacterium tumefaciens. Plant Cell Tiss Org 64(1):47–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Yamaguchi H (1992) Wild and weed azuki beans in Japan. Econ Bot 46:384–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Yamamoto Y, Sano CM, Tatsumi Y et al (2006) Field analyses of horizontal gene flow among Vigna angularis complex plants. Plant Breed 125(2):156–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Yang K, Tian Z, Chen C et al (2015) Genome sequencing of adzuki bean (Vigna angularis) provides insight into high starch and low fat accumulation and domestication. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112(43):13213–13218PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Yano A, Yasuda K, Yamaguchi H (2004) A test for molecular identification of Japanese archaeological beans and phylogenetic relationship of wild and cultivated species of subgenus Ceratotropis (genus Vigna, Papilionaceae) using sequence variation in two non-coding regions of the trnL and trnF genes. Econ Bot 58(Suppl):S135–S146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Yao Y, Xue P, Zhu Y et al (2015) Antioxidant and immunoregulatory activity of polysaccharides from adzuki beans (Vigna angularis). Food Res Int 77(3):251–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Yee E, Kidwell KK, Sills GR et al (1999) Diversity among selected Vigna angularis (Azuki) accessions on the basis of RAPD and AFLP markers. Crop Sci 39(1):268–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Yoon MS, Lee J, Kim CY et al (2007) Genetic relationships among cultivated and wild Vigna angularis (Willd.) Ohwi and Ohashi and relatives from Korea based on AFLP markers. Genet Res Crop Evol 54(4):875–883CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Yoon ST, Qin YF, Kim TH et al (2012) Agronomic characteristics of adzuki bean (Vigna angularis W.F. Wight) germplasm in Korea. Korean J Crop Sci 57(1):7–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Zhang HH, Wang S (2016) Optimization of total polyphenols extraction from Vigna angularis and their antioxidant activities. Indian J Pharm Sci 78(5):608–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Zheng ZJ (1987) Catalogues of Chinese food legumes germplasm and resources I. China Agricultural Science and Technology Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  79. Zheng ZJ (1990) Catalogues of Chinese food legumes germplasm and resources II. Agriculture Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  80. Zheng ZJ (1997) Chinese legumes. China Agric Press. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  81. Zong XX, Vaughan DA, Tomooka N et al (2003a) Preliminary study on geographical distribution and evolutionary relationships between cultivated and wild adzuki bean (Vigna angularis var. angularis and var. nipponensis) by AFLP analysis. Sci Agr Sin 36(4):367–374Google Scholar
  82. Zong XX, Kaga A, Tomooka N et al (2003b) The genetic diversity of the Vigna angularis complex in Asia. Genome 46:647–658PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Crop SciencesChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations