Among vegetables, sweet corn (Zea mays L.) and broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. ssp. italica) are important sources of dietary carotenoids and tocopherols. Because medical evidence suggests that carotenoid and tocopherol health-promoting activity acts in a dose-dependent manner, conventional breeding to develop elite sweet corn and broccoli germplasm with enhanced levels of these phytochemicals will potentially promote health among the consuming public. This investigation includes the quantitative analysis of carotenoid and tocopherol contents of 41 corn and 24 broccoli genotypes grown in multiple environments (years and seasons in one location) to partition the variation into genetic, environment, and genotype by environment interaction (GxE) components and measure the phenotypic stability of genotypes for these phytochemicals. The primary carotenoids and tocopherols in corn were lutein and γ-tocopherol (65 and 73% of total carotenoid and tocopherol, respectively), whereas β-carotene and a-tocopherol were dominant in broccoli (65 and 79% of total carotenoid and tocopherol, respectively). Partitioning of the variance indicated that genetic differences among the genotypes averaged for the primary compounds in corn (lutein, zeaxanthin, and α- and γ-tocopherol) and broccoli (β-carotene, lutein, and α- and γ-tocopherol) accounted for the largest proportion of the variation (67 and 55% of total phenotypic variation averaged across the phytochemicals in sweet corn and broccoli, respectively). Stability analysis identified several corn (IL451b sh2 and IL2027-8 sh2) and broccoli ('Pirate' and 'Baccus') genotypes with relatively high mean concentrations for the various carotenoids and tocopherols that were comparatively stable across seasons and years. The results of this investigation suggest that sweet corn and broccoli germplasm with enhanced concentrations of carotenoids and tocopherols can be developed using conventional breeding protocols.
- Brassica oleracea L. ssp. italics
- Genotype by environment interaction
- Health promotion
- Plant breeding
- Stability analysis
- Zea mays L.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Agricultural and Biological Sciences