To understand the genetics that control pod Ca concentration in snap beans, two snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) populations consisting of 60 genotypes, plus 4 commercial cultivars used as checks, were evaluated during Summers 1995 and 1996 at Hancock, Wis. These populations were CA2 (`Evergreen' × `Top Crop') and CA3 (`Evergreen' × `Slimgreen'). The experimental design was an 8×8 double lattice repeated each year. No Ca was added to the plants grown in a sandy loam soil with 1% organic matter and an average of 540 ppm Ca. To ensure proper comparison for pod Ca concentration among cultivars, only commercial sieve size no. 4 pods (a premium grade, 8.3 to 9.5 mm in diameter) were sampled and used for Ca extractions. After Ca was extracted, readings for Ca concentration were done via atomic absorption spectrophotometry. In both populations, genotypes and years differed for pod Ca concentration (P = 0.001). Several snap bean genotypes showed pod Ca concentrations higher than the best of the checks. Overall mean pod Ca concentration ranged from a low of 3.82 to a high of 6.80 mg·g-1 dry weight. No differences were detected between the populations. Significant year×genotype interaction was observed in CA2 (P = 0.1), but was not present in CA3. Population variances proved to be homogeneous. Heritability for pod Ca concentration ranged from 0.48 (CA2) to 0.50 (CA3). Evidently enhancement of pod Ca concentration in beans can successfully be accomplished through plant breeding.
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