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Cooked bean flavor and texture vary within and across 20 Andean seed types; SNPs are significantly associated with total flavor, beany, earthy, starchy, bitter, seed-coat perception, and cotyledon texture.


Common dry beans are a nutritious food recognized as a staple globally, but their consumption is low in the USA. Improving bean flavor and texture through breeding has the potential to improve consumer acceptance and suitability for new end-use products. Little is known about genetic variability and inheritance of bean sensory characteristics. A total of 430 genotypes of the Andean Diversity Panel representing twenty seed types were grown in three locations, and cooked seeds were evaluated by a trained sensory panel for flavor and texture attribute intensities, including total flavor, beany, vegetative, earthy, starchy, sweet, bitter, seed-coat perception, and cotyledon texture. Extensive variation in sensory attributes was found across and within seed types. A set of genotypes was identified that exhibit extreme attribute intensities generally stable across all three environments. seed-coat perception and total flavor intensity had the highest broad-sense heritability (0.39 and 0.38, respectively), while earthy and vegetative intensities exhibited the lowest (0.14 and 0.15, respectively). Starchy and sweet flavors were positively correlated and highest in white bean genotypes according to principal component analysis. SNPs associated with total flavor intensity (six SNPs across three chromosomes), beany (five SNPs across four chromosomes), earthy (three SNPs across two chromosomes), starchy (one SNP), bitter (one SNP), seed-coat perception (three SNPs across two chromosomes), and cotyledon texture (two SNPs across two chromosomes) were detected. These findings lay a foundation for incorporating flavor and texture in breeding programs for the development of new varieties that entice growers, consumers, and product developers alike.