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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #378419

Research Project: Genetic Optimization of Maize for Different Production Environments

Location: Corn Insects and Crop Genetics Research

Title: Effects of mass selection on husk and cob color in five purple field corn populations segregating for purple husks

item KHAMPHASAN, PONSAWAN - Khon Kaen University
item LOMTHIASON, KHOMSORN - Khon Kaen University
item HARAKOTR, BHORNCHAI - Khon Kaen University
item Scott, Marvin
item LERTRAT, KAMOL - Khon Kaen University
item SURIHARN, BHALANG - Khon Kaen University

Submitted to: Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/24/2020
Publication Date: 7/27/2020
Citation: Khamphasan, P., Lomthiason, K., Harakotr, B., Scott, M.P., Lertrat, K., Suriharn, B. 2020. Effects of mass selection on husk and cob color in five purple field corn populations segregating for purple husks. Agronomy Journal. 10(8).

Interpretive Summary: Corn is grown mainly for grain, however other parts of the plant can be harvested to produce valuable products. Valuable pigments accumulate in the husks and cobs of some varieties and these can be extracted and used by the food industry. Most varieties don't have levels of pigments that are sufficient to make this process economically viable. In this manuscript, we show that the level of pigments in husk and cobs can be dramatically improved by using a plant breeding method called modified mass selection. This is an important finding because it will allow development of new corn varieties that can be used to produce both grain and pigments. This will add value to the corn crop and provide a new source of natural inexpensive pigments to the food industry, providing economic benefits to both the agriculture and food sectors.

Technical Abstract: Improvement of anthocyanin levels in husks and cobs of field corn may add economic value to corn coproducts in commercial production. This study aimed to evaluate the response to four cycles of modified mass selection (MMS) for yield, agronomic traits, total anthocyanin yield (TAY), total anthocyanin content (TAC), total phenolic content (TPC) and antioxidant activity determined by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl free radical scavenging activity assay (DPPH) and trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity assay (TEAC) in corn husk and cob of five purple field corn populations. The improved populations and check varieties were evaluated at two locations for two seasons in 2017/2018. Selection cycle contributed to a large portion of the total variations for TAC, TPC, DPPH and TEAC in corn husk and cob. All tested populations showed progress for days to anthesis, TAY, TAC, TPC, DPPH and TEAC across four cycles of selection. Lack of significant correlation between agronomic traits and anthocyanin concentrations suggested the independent segregation of these traits. MMS was successfully used to develop field corn populations with improved anthocyanin, antioxidant activities and early flowering without significant yield loss. The populations with the highest selection gains for anthocyanin in husk and cob were identified. Visual selection for dark purple husks and cobs boosted anthocyanin levels and antioxidant activity in selected populations.