Combining ability of maize inbreds for carotenoids and tocopherols

Egesel C. Ö., Wong J., Lambert R., Rocheford T.

CROP SCIENCE, vol.43, no.3, pp.818-823, 2003 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 43 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Doi Number: 10.2135/cropsci2003.8180
  • Journal Name: CROP SCIENCE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.818-823
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


Carotenoids (provitamin A) and tocopherols (vitamin E) are lipid soluble antioxidants associated with decreased risk of several degenerative diseases. Both vitamins occur naturally,in corn (Zea mays L.) grain. Corn grain is a major component in diets of humans and animals, and may have added value with increased levels of carotenoids and tocopherols. To; estimate genetic variation among a group of inbreds and their breeding potential, we estimated combining abilities of four carotenoids and two tocopherols in a diallel of 45 corn hybrids. Ten inbreds were chosen that varied in endosperm color (yellow to orange), tocopherol levels and oil content. Plants were grown for two years (1998, 1999) at Urbana, IL, in an RCB design with three replications. High pressure liquid chromatography was used to assay for four carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-cryptoxanthin, and beta-carotene) and two tocopherols (alpha-tocopherol and gamma-tocopherol). Good agreement between year means for the six compounds was observed indicating minor environmental effects. Diallel analyses indicated, between 72, to 87% of the total sums of squares for hybrids, for the six compounds was attributable to GCA effects. Significant SCA effects were found for several crosses. Estimates of GCA effects indicated A619 had high-values for lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin,and total carotenoids. Inbred R84 was a poor genotype for xanthophyll pigments but a significant contributor for beta-carotene and gamma-tocopherol, and total tocopherol. These genetic stocks indicate corn hybrids can be developed with higher levels of provitamin A and vitamin E.