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  • Author or Editor: Silver Tumwegamire x
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The amount of genotypic and phenotypic variability that exists in a species is important for selection and initiating breeding programs. Yam bean is grown locally in tropical countries of the Americas and Asia for their tasty storage roots, which usually have low dry matter content. The crop was recently introduced in Uganda and other East and Central African countries to supplement iron (Fe) and protein content in diets. This study aimed to estimate genetic variability for root yield and quality traits among 26 yam bean accessions in Uganda. A randomized complete block design was used with two replications across two ecogeographical locations and two seasons during 2012 and 2013. Near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (NIRS) was used to determine quality of storage root samples. Significant differences among genotypes were observed for all traits except root protein, zinc (Zn), and phosphorus contents. Genotypic variance components ( ) were significant for storage root fresh yield (SRFY), storage root dry matter (SRDM), storage root dry yield (SRDY), vine yield (VNY), fresh biomass yield (FBY), and storage root starch (STA) and Fe contents. For traits with significant the broad sense heritability estimates ranged from 58.4% for SRDY to 83.6% for FBY; and phenotypic coefficients of variation were high for SRFY (66%), SRDY (53.3%), VNY (60.5%), and FBY (59%), but low to medium for SRDM (22.6%), STA (15.1%), and Fe (21.3%). Similarly, the genotypic coefficients of variation were high for SRFY (56.7%), SRDY (53.3%), VNY (55%), and FBY (53.9%); and low for SRDM (20%), STA (12.4%), and Fe (17.8%). There were strong positive correlations between SRFY and both SRDY (r = 0.926) and FBY (r = 0.962), but low-to-moderate correlations among quality traits. It should be possible to breed for high dry matter yam beans by using low dry matter accessions due to the observed genetic variation ( = 9.3%2), which is important if the high dry matter Pachyrhizus tuberosus accessions (known as chuin) from Peru cannot be accessed. This study indicated substantial genetic variation for yield and quality traits in yam bean, demonstrating potential for adaptability to growing conditions and consumer needs in East and Central Africa and for genetic improvement through selection.

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The present study evaluated selected East African (EA) sweetpotato varieties for storage root dry matter and nutrient content and obtained information on the potential contributions of the varieties to alleviate vitamin A and mineral deficiencies. Roots obtained from 89 farmer (white- and orange-fleshed) varieties and one introduced variety (‘Resisto’) were analyzed for storage root quality using near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy technology. Location differences were only significant for starch content. The variance was significant (P < 0.01) for all the traits except sucrose content. Overall, the farmer varieties had higher dry matter, higher starch, and lower sucrose contents than the control clone, ‘Resisto’. It is these qualities that make sweetpotato attractive as a starchy staple in EA. A low population's mean β-carotene content (19.0 ppm) was observed. However, deep orange-fleshed farmer varieties, ‘Carrot_C’, ‘Ejumula’, ‘Carrot Dar’, ‘Mayai’, and ‘Zambezi’, had β-carotene content that can meet 350% or greater of recommended daily allowance (RDA) with 250-g serving to a 5- to 8–year-old child. More but light orange-fleshed farmer varieties ‘K-118’, ‘K-134’, ‘K-46’, ‘KMI61’, ‘MLE162 Nakahi’, ‘PAL161’, ‘Sowola6’, ‘Sponge’, ‘SRT34 Abuket2’, ‘SRT35 Anyumel’, ‘SRT52’, and ‘Sudan’ can provide 50% to 90% RDA of pro-vitamin A for the child. The root minerals’ content was generally low except for magnesium whose content can meet 50% or greater RDA in many farmer varieties. However, in areas with high sweetpotato consumption, varieties ‘Carrot_C’, ‘Carrot Dar’, ‘KRE nylon’, ‘MLE163 Kyebandula’, and ‘SRT49 Sanyuzameza’ can make good intakes of iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. In conclusion, some EA farmer varieties can contribute greatly to alleviation of vitamin A deficiency and substantial mineral intakes.

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