Location: Plant Genetic Resources Research
Project Number: 1910-21000-024-05-S
Project Type: Specific Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Aug 1, 2012
End Date: Jul 31, 2013
The objective of this cooperative research project is the identification of the best cabbage and other Brassica oleracea vegetable accessions to exploit for natural color, resulting in a clear idea of how breeding and production of materials can reduce sulfur, improve net yields of natural color and improve shade/optimal colors. Specifically the objectives are (1) pre-screen of over 1000 Brassica vegetables in NE-9 collection (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, collard, Brussels sprouts) to identify red/purple colored accessions at juvenile stage based on pigmentation in stem and first-true leaf, (2) juvenile screening of colored Brassica vegetable accessions identified in (1) above for total anthocyanin content, and (3) field screening of pigmented Brassica vegetable accessions at the mature stage for evaluation of total anthocyanin content/g tissue. This project will provide a roadmap, which will help enable identification of plant-type, maturity, market class, deliverable color and odor that can be used to breed cabbage for commercial natural colors.
All of the Brassica vegetable accessions available for request are currently accessible in seed storage at NYSAES from a prior germplasm screen in 2006. These accessions, approximately 1500 will be germinated (4-6 plants) to identify the accessions that have red/purple pigmentation in stem, petioles and first-leaf. At least 34 accessions have been identified as red from prior screens, it is expected that at least 20 additional accessions will be identified. The red/purple accessions identified will be planted in greenhouses at Cornell NYSAES in summer/fall 2012 with commercial red cabbage and red kale control cultivars as checks. These will be grown to the third leaf stage to evaluate total anthocyanin content per gram of tissue using the spectrophometic approach in acidified methanol. Determination of the accessions showing the highest production of natural colors in the juvenile tissue will be identified as candidates for high production of natural colors for extraction. Field evaluation of accessions identified as high in anthocyanins will be made with control red/purple cabbage and kale cultivars as checks. At maturity, accessions will be evaluated for total anthocyanin content per gram of tissue, to identify the accessions with most promise for breeding cabbages with high levels of natural color. Additional evaluations will be made for leaf thickness which can effect total production per gram of tissue, and plant type as it relates to maturity and control checks. Results will be correlated with the juvenile screen in  and submitted to USDA NE-9, together with images of importance for GRIN Global. Results will be used to identify optimal parents for hybridization, population development and initial breeding work. It is anticipated that this work will lead to the identification of plant material that could be better optimized for natural color production, identification of promising materials to use as parents for plant breeding efforts, determination of juvenile/mature correlations and identification of variations in plant/tissue morphology that may influence natural color production.