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The influence of genotype, environment, and storage time on the ascorbic acid content and retention in potato germplasm from the Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program


Potato is a globally consumed vegetable crop known to contain vitamin C, with its active form, ascorbic acid (AsA), serving as a potent antioxidant involved in numerous physiological processes within the human body. The oxidized form, dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) was not measured in this study. Thus, the focus of this thesis was to investigate ascorbic acid in potato germplasm in the Colorado Potato Breeding and Selection Program. However, even if a potato genotype contains a sufficiently large amount of AsA, immediately after harvesting, its content may significantly decrease during storage. Therefore, it is so important to focus not only on the initial AsA content but also on its retention in storage. An investigation was conducted to enhance our understanding of the potential to increase AsA content in potato tubers through traditional breeding. This study examined the variations in AsA levels due to genetic factors (assaying multiple genotypes), environmental conditions (different growing locations), and AsA retention (sampling during storage). This study was divided into 2 parts. In Part 1 (Year 1, 2021), AsA initial level and its retention during storage was investigated in 34 genotypes grown in the San Luis Valley, CO, USA. The initial AsA content ranged from 8.5 to 37.7 mg/100 g FW. All genotypes experienced some level of AsA loss during storage, with the mean loss across all 34 genotypes being 34.8%. Notably, there was considerable variation in both initial AsA levels and retention among the genotypes, with some even exhibiting a temporary increase in AsA content during storage. In Part 2 (Year 2, 2022), six cultivars (selected from 34 from last year) were grown in three different locations to investigate the effect of environmental conditions on the initial content of AsA and retention. Among the genotypes examined, three showed evidence of variation between AsA retention and growing location (time:environment, TxE interaction), indicated by varying slopes. Four genotypes demonstrated variation in initial AsA content over three different locations, representing a genotype:environment, (GxE) interaction. In conclusion, this investigation emphasizes the potential for improving potato tuber AsA content through traditional breeding, while also underscoring the significance of considering both the initial content and retention during storage to maximize nutritional benefits. This research highlights the complex interactions between genetics (genotype), environment (growing location), and storage time that influence AsA retention in this widely consumed vegetable.


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Embargo expires: 12/29/2024.


ascorbic acid
vitamin C
plant breeding


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