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Durel J. Romaine and Don R. LaBonte

Seven compositionally diverse sweetpotato lines were examined for changes in individual sugar concentrations at harvest (green), after curing (7 days at 90% RH and 29.5C), and after 4 and 8 weeks of cold storage (16C) to determine the relationship between raw and cooked root sugar composition. Raw root sucrose concentrations at harvest in two dessert types, `L91-80' and `Heart-O-Gold', were at least 22% higher than other dessert types, such as `Beauregard' and `Jewel', and 26% higher than white starchy types (`Rojo Blanca' and `White Star'). The sucrose concentration remained correspondingly higher for these two lines when baked or microwaved. Total sugar concentration was not significantly correlated between raw vs. baked or microwaved roots. The major sugar in most baked and microwaved roots was maltose, accounting for 18% to 93% of the total sugars. `L91-80' behaved differently from other lines during microwaving, where sucrose was the major sugar. The total sugar concentration of `L91-80' and `Heart-O-Gold' were not statistically greater after baking and microwaving for all dates, including the white, starchy types. These results suggest the need to further evaluate the relative importance of individual sugar concentrations on consumer preference.

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Durel J. Romaine and Don R. LaBonte

Narrow-sense heritability (h2) estimates for sugars were determined to assess the feasibility of breeding for a sweeter baked sweetpotato. Roots of parents and half-sib progeny were baked (190°C for 75 minutes) 16 weeks after harvest. Sugars from 10 gram root samples were extracted in ethanol for HPLC sugar quantification. Alcohol insoluble solid (AIS) residues (starch) were also measured from the samples. Dry matter was determined on a separate 10-g sample. Narrow-sense heritability estimates based on variance components analysis for AIS and percent dry matter were 0.20 and 0.32, respectively. Estimates for sugar data were 0.05 for sucrose, 0.52 for maltose, and 0.52 for total sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose and maltose). These heritability estimates for maltose and total sugars imply a breeder could expect a moderate gain in sweetness over several cycles of selection.