Grain quality within ex situ and in situ conserved traditional white maize landraces
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White maize had an important role in human nutrition throughout the Western Balkan region. A great number of farmers (approximately 86% in Serbia) still grow traditional white Open Pollinated Varieties (OPVs) for human diet. Out of 2217 maize landraces stored within Maize Research Institute "Zemun Polje" (MRIZP) gene bank, more than 700 are white kernel accessions. Eighteen white maize landraces, collected in the Western Balkan region in different periods, were selected for the present study. By the evaluation of agromorphological performances and the basic chemical composition of grain, the objective was to determine the importance of landraces conserved under in situ and ex situ conditions, to be used as the initial material for breeding. The idea was to determine whether the varieties conserved under ex situ conditions (collected from the same or different regions) distinguish from varieties permanently grown in the region of western Serbia. It was found that varieties permanently g...rown in the western Serbia were more similar to varieties of the ex situ collection from eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina than to varieties collected in western Serbia 50 years ago. The comparison between OPVs and modern white maize hybrids for the basic chemical composition of grain showed the significant potential of OPVs for nutritive grain quality improvement. Increased organic production creates new possibilities for more intensive incorporation of OPVs into this agricultural system. New opportunities for the cooperation and share of responsibilities among breeders, farmers and genetic resources managers are initiated, to be used for in situ maize genetic resources conservation improvement. More detailed characterisation and evaluation of the white maize landraces will offer an explanation of what has motivated our farmers to maintain the OPVs production through centuries, despite the availability of modern hybrids.
Keywords:open pollinated varieties (OPV) / morphological characterisation / agronomic performance / maize hybrids
Source:Romanian Agricultural Research, 2018, 35, 129-140
- Natl Agricultural Research & Development Inst, Fundulea