Native pollinators improve the quality and market value of common bean

  • Articles in SCI Journals
  • Dec, 2023

Da S e Silva, F.D., Ramos, D.L., Mertens, F. & Carvalheiro, L.G. (2023) Native pollinators improve the quality and market value of common bean.

Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment, 349, 108432. DOI:10.1016/j.agee.2023.108432 (IF2022 6,6; Q1 Ecology)

Biotic pollination improves yield of many global crops, contributing to local and regional food security, and rural livelihoods. Aesthetic and nutritional aspects of agricultural products (i.e. crop quality) often influence market price. Yet, information on the effects of pollinators on crop quality is still scarce. Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is an important crop for global food security, while also contributing to many nations’ agricultural production and economic value. Yield of this species can benefit from biotic pollination although the strength of this effect depends on fertilization practices. As market value of common bean in Brazil is influenced by two traits, size and color, i.e., larger and light-colored beans being more valuable, we investigated the effect of pollinators on these two quality traits. We used data from 35 sites within large scale common bean fields in central Brazil (Cerrado region), that covered a gradient of landscape degradation and flower visitor diversity. We showed that higher densities of native flower visitors were associated with an increased probability of a given bean being classified as High quality from 8.8% up to 67.5%. This effect was more evident under lower levels of fertilization (more specifically, nitrogen input). Therefore, by increasing pollination services farmers can enhance the product market value, likely increasing profit. These findings contribute to the growing body of evidence showing that benefits of ecosystem services mediated by wild pollinators go beyond yields, extending to crop quality and are necessary to fully estimate the economic contribution of pollinators to agriculture.


  • Native pollinators improve the quality and market value of common bean Luísa Gigante Carvalheiro Computational Biology and Population Genomics - CoBiG2