Potential of popcorn germplasm as a source of resistance to ear rot






ABSTRACT Because of its multi-purpose nature, popcorn has sparked the interest of the World Trade Organization as regards fungal contamination by mycotoxins. However, no investigations have been conducted on popcorn for resistance of genotypes to ear rot. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential of popcorn genotypes as to resistance to ear rot and rotten kernels, as an initial step for the implementation of a breeding program with the popcorn crop in Northern Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. Thirty-seven accessions from different ecogeographic regions of Latin America were evaluated in 2 cultivation periods, in a randomized block design with 4 replications. We evaluated the incidence of rotten ears, incidence of rotten ears caused by Fusarium spp., severity of ears with Fusarium spp. rot, and incidence of rotten kernels. The results were subjected to analysis of variance, and means were compared by the Scott-Knott clustering test (p < 0.05). A significant effect was observed for all evaluated variables, characterizing them as efficient in the discrimination of genotypic variability for reaction to fungal injuries in popcorn. The gene pool of the tropical and temperate Germplasm Collection evaluated here has the potential to generate superior segregants and provide hybrid combinations with alleles of resistance to diseases affecting ears and stored kernels. Based on the different variables and times, the experiment was conducted, and genotypes L65, L80, and IAC 125 showed the highest levels of resistance.

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