Basils (Ocimum species) of the mint family Lamiaceae are well known for their multiple uses as culinary, aromatic, and medicinal plants worldwide. Basils are integral components of Asian and Mediterranean cuisine and are also widely used for treating diabetes and cancers. Basil has a limited acceptance as a culinary herb in the United States. The potential exists for development of culinary, medicinal, aromatic, and ornamental basil cultivars for production in the southeastern United States. In a preliminary field trial, 84 accessions belonging to six species of the genus Ocimum were evaluated for agronomic parameters in single-row plots. Wide variations exist between and within species for all agronomic traits studied. The mean percent emergence between species ranged from 60.0% for O. americanum var. americanum to 100.0% for an unknown species from Italy and O. campechianum. The aboveground fresh biomass per plant ranged from 424.0 g for O. sellol to 1450.3 g for the unknown Italian accession. The unknown Italian accession produced more branches per plant and also had the highest root, leaf, stem, and inflorescence fresh and dry weights among species. Ocimumsellol plants emerged late, had a slower rate of emergence, and produced a lower total biomass than other species. Ocimumgratissimum partitioned a greater proportion of the total dry weight to leaves (37.9%) and roots (14.4%), whereas O. basilicum. O americanum var. americanum, and O. campechianum partitioned a greater amount of dry matter to inflorescence and the least to roots than other species. In this presentation, the agronomic traits and basil cultivars with potential for ornamental and medicinal purposes will be discussed.
Rao Mentreddy, Cedric Sims, Usha Devagiri and Ernst Cebert
Reddy R. Chinthakuntla, Frank Matta, Rao S. Mentreddy, Umesh Reddy, Padmavathi Nimmakayala, Daniel Peterson and Om Prakash Vadhwa
Chilepepper (Capsicum spp.) is the third most important vegetable crop in the United States. The market value of chile peppers for spices and condiments exceeds $650 million per year. With a growing Hispanic population across the United States, the demand for high yielding, good quality cayenne pepper continues to increase. In order to fulfill this niche market, a study has been initiated to develop pepper varieties that combine high yield potential with superior agronomic traits, including insect and disease resistance, and fruit characteristics, using molecular marker assisted breeding/selection. In preliminary trials, several F1 generations were created through inter- and intra-specific crosses among 220 germplasm lines belonging to six Capsicumsp. in the greenhouse. Selected F1 progeny, parent lines, and selected accessions were planted in single-row field plots the following summer. The crossing success was higher within species than between. The genotypic variation was significant for all parameters examined. The average percent germination (81.1) of F1 progeny was 32% and 45% higher than that of the parent lines and selected accessions, respectively. The F1 progeny were shorter in height; more vigorous in growth, flowered early, and with fewer, but heavier, fruits per plant out-yielded the parent lines and accessions by 50% and 120%, respectively. The study showed a marked heterosis in F1 progeny compared to the parent lines and accessions. Microsatellite genotyping to estimate genetic diversity and validation of markers that are linked to various traits is in progress and will be discussed in the presentation.