One thousand and forty-eight Phaseolus bean accessions were evaluated for resistance to six races of Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola. The accessions originated from regions of the Americas and Africa where the disease is important and included wild type accessions and some known resistance sources. Resistance, graded on a five-point scale, was of two types: qualitative, which was shown to be race-specific, and quantitative. Race-specific resistance genes (R-genes) were detected in 49.4% of accessions with the following gene frequencies: R1 (10.3%), R2 (0.3%), R3 (25.0%), R4 (35.0%) and R5 (0.2%).
Evidence for quantitative variation in resistance, in the absence of specific R-genes, was shown by the distribution of infection scores, 76% of accessions showing maximum susceptibility (grades 4-5), 23% showing intermediate resistance (grades 2-4), and 1% showing high levels of quantitative resistance (grades 1-2). The last 1% of accessions showed interactions that were not race-specific and it is suggested that they may possess race non-specific resistance. It is possible that several of the accessions in this category carry the recessive gene derived from PI 150414. Other accessions were of unknown parentage and may represent new sources of quantitative, potentially race non-specific, resistance. It is suggested that the combination of race specific and race non-specific resistance could provide an effective strategy for establishing durable resistance.