Submitted to: American Society for Horticultural Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/14/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Snap beans are a good source of calcium for humans, and are a commonly consumed food source especially among children. Because calcium is an essential human nutrient important for building strong bones, we wanted to determine the potential for elevating calcium levels in this vegetable. Field studies were conducted with 64 unique types of snap beans to assess calcium concentration in the pods. Significant differences were found for pod calcium concentration among the different types, indicating a strong genetic basis for this characteristic. That shows good potential for improving this nutritional characteristic through special breeding practices. In addition, we also learned that the concentration of calcium decreases in pods as the pods mature. This means that thinner snap beans generally have higher calcium concentrations, and thus pound for pound they contain more total calcium. This research is important because it will lead to improvements in the calcium nutritional quality of snap beans. Snap beans boosted with extra calcium would provide children with another good source, besides milk, of that important mineral.
Technical Abstract: To assess nutritional potential, pod yield and Ca concentration of pods and foliage were determined for a snap bean population, which included sixty S1 families plus four commercial varieties. The experimental design was an 8 X 8 double lattice, repeated at two locations (Arlington and Hancock, Wis.). Snap beans were planted in June 1993 and machine harvested in August 1993. Calcium analyses were made using an atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Significant differences were detected in pod Ca concentration and yield among the S1 families. Pod size and Ca concentration were inversely correlated (R2=0.88). Distinct differences between the locations were not observed, and higher Ca genotypes remained high regardless of location or pod size. No correlation between pod Ca concentration and leaf Ca concentration was found. Low correlation (R2=0.21) between pod and leaf Ca concentration was found. Pods of certain genotypes appeared to have the ability to import Ca more efficiently than others, but this factor was not related to yield.