367-20 A New Popcorn Breeding Program in South Africa: Genetic Analysis of Germplasm Lines.
Poster Number 312
Derera, John1 and Jele, Phumelele1, 2
1School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
2Department of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Despite increased popularity and demand, in Africa commercial production of popcorn is hindered by lack of locally adapted varieties and there are no breeding programs that emphasize popcorn. In South Africa, popcorn breeding programmes were last reported in 1954. No continuity in popcorn breeding has been reported since then. Most imported varieties are not adapted to stress-prone tropical environments in sub-Saharan Africa. The objective of the study was to develop inbred lines with potential for hybrid breeding. Three sets of germplasm were utilized in a pedigree selection to generate new inbreds during 2007-2012. The breeding program yielded 128 inbred lines with sufficient seed for planting trials. The lines were also mated at random to generate hybrids which were evaluated for popping and agronomic performance. The inbred lines and hybrids were evaluated at two locations under standard cultural practices for maize. Evaluation of popping was performed using the microwave method. Quantitative data were analyzed using the SAS statistical package. Variability among inbred lines was statistically significant for most popping traits. Flake volume ranged from 63 cm3 to 850 cm3. Significant positive relationships were observed among popping traits. Importantly hybrids also varied significantly (P<0.01) for both popping and value for cultivation. General combining ability effects were generally predominant over SCA effects for popping and agronomic traits. Heritability was large for all traits ranging from 62 to 99% indicating that selection for popping ability would be effective. Overall, the study indicated observations of germplasm lines with high utility for use in breeding hybrids.