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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Genetic Improvement for Fruits & Vegetables Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #285408

Title: Genetic diversity in morphological characters and phenolic acids content resulting from an interspecific cross between eggplant (Solanum melongena) and its wild ancestor (S. incanum)

item PROHENS, JAIME - Polytechnic University Of Valencia (UPV)
item Whitaker, Bruce
item VILANOVA, SANTIAGO - Polytechnic University Of Valencia (UPV)
item HURTADO, MARIA - Polytechnic University Of Valencia (UPV)
item BLASCO, MANUEL - Polytechnic University Of Valencia (UPV)
item PLAZAS, MARIOLA - Polytechnic University Of Valencia (UPV)
item GRAMAZIO, PIETRO - Polytechnic University Of Valencia (UPV)
item Stommel, John

Submitted to: Annals of Applied Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/19/2012
Publication Date: 1/24/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Prohens, J., Whitaker, B.D., Vilanova, S., Hurtado, M., Blasco, M., Plazas, M., Gramazio, P., Stommel, J.R. 2013. Genetic diversity in morphological characters and phenolic acids content resulting from an interspecific cross between eggplant (Solanum melongena) and its wild ancestor (S. incanum). Annals of Applied Biology. 162:242-257.

Interpretive Summary: Genes for improvement of fruit and vegetable quality are often lacking in cultivated forms of the crop but may be present in wild crop relatives. We identified a wild relative of eggplant that produced fruit with poor horticultural quality but with high antioxidant content due to accumulation of compounds called phenolic acids. Through breeding, we transferred the genes for high phenolic acid levels to cultivated eggplant and determined how this trait is inherited. The results demonstrated that although phenolic acid content was controlled by numerous genes, breeders can effectively select for plants that produce marketable fruit with enhanced antioxidant content. These results will benefit public and private eggplant breeders in developing new eggplant cultivars with superior nutritive value.

Technical Abstract: Solanum incanum, the wild ancestor of eggplant (S. melongena) has been considered as a source of variation for high phenolic acids content in breeding programs aimed at improving the functional quality of eggplant. We have evaluated the morphological and phenolic acids content in an interspecific family involving S. incanum (P1), S. melongena (P2), its interspecific hybrid (F1), the selfing of the F1 (F2) and the backcross of the F1 to P2 (BC1P2). Many morphological differences were found between parents, while the F1 was intermediate for most traits. However, F1 plants were more vigorous and pricklier, and presented higher flesh browning than any of the parents. F2 and BC1P2 were morphologically very variable and the results obtained suggest that a rapid recovery of the characteristic combination of S. melongena traits can be achieved in a few backcross generations. Segregation for prickliness was found to be compatible with simple genetic control, being prickliness dominant over non-prickliness. A total of 16 phenolic acids were studied, of which chlorogenic acid (5-CQA) was the most common phenolic acid in all samples, with an average value of 77.8% of all hydroxicinnamic acid derivatives. S. incanum presented much higher values of phenolic acids content than S. melongena, and no major differences were found in the profile of phenolic acids among parents. The interspecific hybrid was intermediate among both parents in phenolic acids content. Non-segregating generations presented considerable variation in phenolic acids content, but the range of variation was wider in segregating F2 and BC1P2 generations. Additive genetic effects were the most important in explaining the results obtained for the phenolic acids content. A number of BC1P2 plants presented a good combination of phenolic acids content and fruit weight or flesh browning. Overall, the results show that improvement of functional quality in S. melongena can be obtained using S. incanum as a donor of alleles for high content in phenolics.