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Vegetable Improvement Newsletter No. 19, February 1977
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Compiled by H.M. Munger, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

1. Growth Analysis of Dry Matter, Economic Bulb Yield and Protein Production of Several Varieties of Onion (Allium cepa L.)

Gaafar Mohamedali

Department of Plant Breeding, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

Five field experiments were conducted in 1973-75 at East Ithaca and Freeville, New York with the objective of characterizing the yielding ability of several onion (Allium cepa L.) varieties by growth analysis. Seven varieties were chosen to cover a wide range of maturity, dry matter percent, storability, and pungency. The varieties were Pront S, Spartan Banner, Cornell Single Center Synthetic (53J), Italian Red, Amigo, Southport White Globe and Makoi (Hungarian).

Simplified growth analysis procedure was used, measuring the two component physiological processes that are all inclusive and closest to final yield: net accumulation of photosynthate (biological dry matter yield) and partitioning of the photosynthate to the bulbs. The data collected were used to calculate: a) harvest index i.e. percent of biological yield that is economic, b) efficiency of bulb dry matter production (kg/ha/day), and c) efficiency of total plant dry matter production (kg/ha/day).

The results indicate that the economic bulb yield of these onion varieties is not correlated with days to maturity, economic dry matter production or biological dry matter production. Varieties differ only slightly in rate of dry matter production in the whole plant and in the proportion of dry matter partitioned to the bulbs.

The economic yielding ability of the different varieties was found to be highly and significantly correlated with the percent moisture of the bulbs. A highly significant, negative correlation coefficient of r = -0.8572 was found between the bulb yield and the percent dry matter of the bulbs, indicating that about 73% of the economic yield variations could be explained or attributed to differences in percent moisture of the bulbs. Thus in breeding for high dry matter, which is of primary interest for dehydration, there is a strong probability of selecting for low bulb yields.

Protein determinations of onions grown in 1975 indicated that variety differences in protein yield were associated mainly with the dry matter yielding ability. Protein percentage on a dry weight basis showed little variability. Although percent protein of the bulbs in relatively low, total protein yield (kg/ha) and efficiency of protein production on daily basis (kg/ha/day) are as high as those obtained for most legumes.

Evaluation of stored onions pungency by mouth tasting suggested a decrease with progressive storage but determinations by threshold concentration technique indicated the opposite. Most probably the two techniques do not measure the same variable.

High correlations were obtained between the three variables; soluble solids, pungency, and dry matter percent.

2. Request for Isogenic or Near-Isogenic Lines of Peas

A.E. Slinkard

Crop Development Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N OWO, Canada

Isogenic or near-isogenic lines provide a powerful tool for genetic, breeding and physiological studies. They may be developed by 1) repeated backcrossing to the recurrent parent, concurrently selecting for the desired gene from the donor parent, 20 selecting for the heterozygote until nearly homozygous for other genes (F6 to F8) and then selfing to produce the two contrasting homozygotes or 3) induced mutations in a mother line.
I am in the process of assembling a diverse array of near-isogenic lines of peas. The genes that I am interested in are for monogenic qualitative traits. I will maintain, increase and list the lines in The Pisum Newsletter and small quantities of seed of each line will be made available to interested researchers upon request.
An excellent source of isogenics is from genetic studies. Many geneticists have seed from heterozygous F2 or F3 plants or from segregating F3 plant rows. If these involve a monogenic qualitative trait, please send a small seed sample to me. Testcross progenies also provide an excellent source of heterozygous plants.  I will then complete development of the isogenic line.
Please send at least 20 seeds of both forms of each near-isogenic set of lines along with a notation as to the contrasting trait, its source, the generation and the method used in isolating the isogenic lines to: A.E. Slinkard, Crop Development Centre, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N OWO, Canada.

3. Cytosterile Cabbage and Broccoli

O.H. Pearson

Department of Plant Breeding, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.

After harvest of the current Brassica nursery now in bloom in the greenhouse, seed of cytoplasmic male sterile cabbage and broccoli crossed with self fertile standard varieties that can be used to maintain them, will be available in small quantities for use of plant breeders. This material cannot be used directly for production of hybrid seed because it will be the first backcross of the variety type to a kale-like cytosterile plant. It bears no relation to the petaloid form of cytoplasmic male sterility previously described and released, and represents a much better system.

Ogura in Japan in 1968 discovered a cytoplasmic male sterile in radish which had no restorers in Japanese radish stocks.  Bannerot at the Plant Breeding station in Versailles, France, crossed this cyto-sterile radish by cabbage in 1974 and produced the amphidiploid, raphanobrassica, which he reduced to the Brassica genome by repeated open pollination and embryo culture when necessary. In 1974 he thus secured a plant with a Brassica genome in radish cytoplasm which was male sterile, producing only shriveled anthers from seed which had been produced in a multivariety crossing field.  In 1975 he kindly furnished me with some of this seed, and in the spring of 1976 we crossed the plants with a number of standard cabbage varieties. This spring we are backcrossing the progenies of these crosses to self fertile cabbage parents, and it is seed of these backcrosses which will be available. No restoration has been found. Restorers for this particular cytoplasm occur only in European radish (Bonnet, 1975).

The plants of our controlled crosses to cabbage resembled a Jersey kale x cabbage F1, vigorous plants, some lobation of the leaves, a roughened leaf blade, and practically no heading tendency. Leaf color varied somewhat, yellow-green in crosses by Badger Ballhead types, and a full blue-green by Danish Ballhead.
Shriveled and vestigial anthers are usually present; the inner whorl of stamens may sometimes become carpeloid but very seldom completely encloses the pistil, thus not being a barrier to pollination.  The pistil is normal, of two carpels, and the mature seed pod was long, slender, thin walled, and fully fertile. However, additional backcrossing to a recurrent parent can be expected to rapidly change flower and seed pod structure as well as heading tendency and type. I think that at least three more backcrosses will be required to make any of these lines reasonably acceptable.

Because self compatible lines are required to maintain any form of cytoplasmic male sterility, a search has been made in commercial varieties for self fertile plants. These were used in the first cross in 1976, and are being used this season. Seed of these will also be available. These cabbage lines have not been selected for type, and their combining ability has not been studied; the main requirement was to have something that would reduce the wild character of the original release to manageable proportions, and to produce seed. As a suggested nomenclature for the radish-based cytosterile Brassica lines, I shall designate the variety or lot as "R-Golden Acre", "R-Green Winter", etc., indicating that the seed contains radish cytoplasm.  Suggestions for a better system will be welcome. The self-fertile varieties, with which we have cytosterile backcrosses, are:

Small quantities of seed of these, subject to crop harvested and number of requests received by June 1, 1977, will be available. Requests should be sent to O.H. Pearson, Department of Plant Breeding, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853.

  1. Bonnet, A. 1975. Ann. Amelior. Plantes 25(4): 381-397.
  2. Bannerot, H., et al. 1976. Cruciferae 1974. Proc. Eucarpia Meeting. 25-27, Sept.
  3. Ogura, H. 1968. Mem. Fac. Agri. Kagoshima Univ. 6: 39-78.

4. Uncatalogued Vegetable Varieties Available for Trial in 1977

This list is aimed at facilitating the exchange of information about potential new varieties, or new varieties which have not yet appeared in catalogues. Persons conducting vegetable variety trials who wish seed of items on this list should request samples from the sources indicated.

It is the responsibility of the person sending out seed to specify that it is for trial only, or any other restriction he may want to place on its use.

Crops are listed alphabetically. For each entry the following information is given: Designation, source of trial samples, outstanding characteristics, variety suggested for comparison (not given separately if mentioned in description), status of variety (preliminary trial, advanced trial, to be released, or released) and contributor of information if different from source of trial samples. Where several samples are listed consecutively from on source, the address is given only for the first.

5. Stocks Desired

If you have suitable material to supply, please communicate directly with the person making the request.

C.A. John, A.L. Castle, Inc., 24401 South West 197th Ave., Homestead, Florida 33031.


John L. Bowers, Dept. of Horticulture and Forestry, 304 Agriculture Building, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark. 72701.


L.M. Pike, Horticulture Sciences Department, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843.

Cucumber lines with following characteristics:

  1. Early flowering
  2. Cold tolerant
  3. Dwarf or determinate types
  4. Types showing extreme vigor
  5. Small seeds
  6. Resistance to cucumber diseases (Please indicate which disease the line is resistant to if possible)