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Abstract

Seed leachate conductivity (SLC) has been evaluated as a possible method of measuring seedling vigor in sweet corn (Zea mays L.) and other crops. It is known that genotypes leak solutes at different rates. Thus, it is important to determine if the different rates of leakage result in different SLC determinations when SLC is measured after various lengths of imbibition. A study was conducted using near-isogenic lines of three inbreds (C68, P39M94, and Ia5125a) in combination with five endosperm types, sugary dull (su du), sugary sugary-2 (su su2), sugary dull waxy (su du wx), shrunken-2 (sh2), and sugary (su), to evaluate the effect of length of imbibition and the interaction of imbibition length and endosperm type and inbred background on conductivity. Readings were taken at 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 24 hr after the start of imbibition. Conductivity was affected by length of imbibition, inbred background, and endosperm-type main effects and interactions of these effects. Conductivity increased with increasing time after imbibition. Ranking of endosperm types within each inbred was stable by 2 hr after imbibition, although differences were not always significant. Thus, the interaction effects were due to an increasing separation over time and not to a change in ranking of the genotypes. However, means separation was greatest at 24 hr after imbibition.

Open Access
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Abstract

The thickness of the pericarp is one of the most important factors determining quality in sweet corn (Zea mays L). A study was conducted to determine if differences observed in pericarp thickness between kernels with starchy sugary-2 (Su su2) and sugary sugary-2 (su su2) endosperm types were due to linkage effects or endosperm genotype effects. Reciprocal crosses were made between near-isogenic lines with Su su2 and su su2 endosperm types in four inbred backgrounds. The F1 plants were self-pollinated and ears segregating at the sugary locus were analyzed for pericarp thickness. The pericarp is maternal tissue, therefore all kernels from an ear have the same genotype regardless of the endosperm genotype. Highly significant effects (p ≤ 0.01) for pericarp thickness were found for endosperm, inbred, and endosperm by inbred interactions. If differences between Su su2 and su su2 endosperms were due to linkage effects, endosperm type would not have been significant. Endosperm type Su su2 had thicker pericarp than su su2 in all inbred backgrounds, but differences were significant in only two of the four backgrounds. Averaged over four inbred backgrounds, the pericarp thickness of Su su2 kernels and of su su2 kernels was 45 and 35 µm, respectively. A difference of this magnitude might be detectable as a difference in sweet corn tenderness.

Open Access
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Changes in endosperm type used for commercial sweet corn (Zea mays L.) production may affect corn protein levels. The two most widely used endosperm types are sugary-1 (su1) and shrunken-2 (sh2). To determine the effects of endosperm type on protein concentration, we calculated kernel N concentrations of dry mature kernels of seven inbreds near-isogenic for su1 and sh2 and of four samples of commercially canned su1 and sh2 sweet corn. Nitrogen values were converted to protein values using a standard conversion factor for maize. For the dry kernels and the canned samples, significant differences were detected between endosperm types for kernel protein concentration when measured on a weight basis. Averaged overall inbreds, the sh2 dry kernels had 30% more protein than su1 kernels. On a weight basis, the sh2 canned samples averaged 22% more protein than the su1 samples. When compared on a kernel basis, protein concentration of the two endosperm types did not differ. Thus, sh2 sweet corn marketed as a frozen or canned product may be identified as a higher protein product when the serving size is based on weight or calories.

Free access
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Root or stalk lodging can be a serious problem in sweet corn (Zea mays L.) production. Four dent corn inbreds, crossed to five sweet corn inbreds in a design II mating system, and a half diallel with five sweet corn inbreds were used to 1) determine the effect and potential contribution of dent corn germplasm on stalk and root quality traits in sweet corn, 2) examine the variation for stalk and root quality traits in some sweet corn germplasm, and 3) evaluate the utility of traits used in improving dent corn root and stalk quality in sweet corn improvement. The dent corn germplasm used in this study had a favorable affect on stalk and root quality in the dent × sweet hybrids. Compared to the sweet × sweet hybrids, the dent × sweet hybrids had significantly higher stalk crushing strength and stalk soluble carbohydrates, while having significantly less stalk lodging. The mean stalk lodging for the dent × sweet hybrids was 4.4%, while the sweet × sweet hybrids averaged 18.7%. Within the diallel, effects due to hybrids were highly significant for stalk section weight, rind thickness, and stalk diameter. Percent stalk lodging was negatively correlated with stalk section weight [r = (-0.63), P ≤ 0.05] and crushing strength [r = (-0.64), P ≤ 0.05]. No traits were significantly correlated with root lodging within the sweet corn crosses. Dent corn has potential as a source of improved stalk and root quality in sweet corn.

Free access
Authors: and

Heterosis in corn (Zea mays L.) usually results in earlier flowering, larger plants, and increased yield. In extremely early sweet corn the effect of heterosis on flowering time may be reduced or eliminated due to developmental and physiological requirements for vegetative growth before the transition to reproductive phase. The objective of this study was to determine the level of heterosis and the combining ability for flowering time and other agronomic traits in a diallel cross of six very early open-pollinated sweet corn cultivars. The diallel was grown in 1995 and 1996. Hybrids and parents averaged over hybrids differed for silk date, plant height, ear height, 10-ear weight, ear length, and 100-kernel weight but did not differ for row number and ear width. Heterosis for silk date was significant, but the difference between parents and hybrids was very small, 0.5 day. No hybrids were earlier than the earliest parent, and average midparent heterosis was -0.8%. In contrast midparent heterosis was significant and relatively high for 100-kernel weight (10.0%), ear length (12.9%), ear height (8.6%), plant height (9.0%), and 10-ear weight (28.2%). The traits with low heterosis had very high general combining ability/specific combining ability ratios while these ratios were much smaller in traits with high heterosis. Heterosis for many of the traits, including 10-ear weight, was higher than published values. Conversely, heterosis for flowering time was small, compared to other traits in this study and to published values for silk date, indicating that this extremely early germplasm may be at or near the limit for flowering time under the photoperiod and temperatures typical of summer in Madison, Wis. (43.05°N, 89.31°W).

Free access
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Heterotic patterns in sweet corn are weakly defined. Most sweet corn inbreds are descended from three open-pollinated cultivars: `Golden Bantam', Stowell's Evergreen', and `Country Gentleman'. Heterotic and phylogenetic relationships among these three cultivars and others are not clearly known. This investigation was designed to investigate the heterotic patterns among some historically important open-pollinated sweet corn cultivars: `Country Gentleman', `Golden Bantam', `Lindsey Meyer Blue', `Stowell's Evergreen', `Howling Mob', and `Pease Crosby'. The 15 possible hybrids from the diallel cross plus the 6 parents were grown in midspring and late summer plantings. Heterosis and combining ability effects were estimated for 13 traits. Hybrid × planting date interactions were significant for most of the main traits, hence, planting dates were analyzed separately. Average midparent heterosis for grain yield was 29.17% in the first planting date and 57.04% in the second planting. Midparent heterosis for yield and plant height were highest for hybrids with `Country Gentleman' as a parent. `Stowell's Evergreen' when crossed to `Pease Crosby', `Lindsey Meyer, and `Golden Bantam' exhibited high heterosis. The two late-maturity cultivars `Country Gentleman' and `Stowell's Evergreen' had higher general combining ability than the four early-maturity cultivars for most traits. Specific combining ability was seldom significant. Yield of `Country Gentleman' hybrids averaged over all crosses and planting dates was the highest. These data indicate a strong heterotic pattern—`Country Gentleman' × `Pease Crosby', `Golden Bantam', and `Lindsey Meyer Blue'—and a weaker one—`Stowell's Evergreen' × `Pease Crosby', `Golden Bantam', and `Lindsey Meyer Blue'.

Free access
Authors: and

Abstract

Endosperm mutants of maize often exhibit poor seed quality, as indicated by poor germination and seedling vigor. The measurement of seed leachate electrolyte conductivity (SLEC) is a rapid method of evaluating seed quality. Generally, high SLEC indicates poor seed quality. Other endosperm types in addition to sugary (su) are becoming important in the sweet corn industry. To facilitate the conversion of inbreds to new endosperm types and maintain acceptable levels of seed quality, it would be useful to determine the relationship between endosperm type and SLEC. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of inbred background, endosperm type, and inbred × endosperm interactions on SLEC and to determine the relationship between seed weight and SLEC. Ten seed weight and SLEC of six near-isogenic lines differing for 10 endosperm types were measured. Ten combinations of the following endosperms were used; sugary (su), waxy (wx), sugary-2 (su2), dull (du), and shrunken-2 (sh2). Significant differences in SLEC were found among endosperm types: sh2 had the highest SLEC (186.1 dS·m−1) and Su su2 the lowest (62.9 dS·m−1). Over endosperm types, 10-seed weight and SLEC were negatively correlated (r = 0.84**). This negative relationship may be due to damage suffered by the pericarp during the collapse of the endosperm of the lighter endosperm types. Significant differences in SLEC also were found among inbreds. Values ranged from 162.3 dS·m−1 to 55.7 dS·m−1. Among inbreds, SLEC and 10-seed weight was positively correlated (r = 0.82*). Endosperm by inbred interactions had significant effects on SLEC. This interaction is of importance to those converting inbreds to different endosperm types and should be considered when choosing seed parents for hybrid production.

Open Access
Authors: and

Sweet corn is one of the most important vegetable crops in the United States, however the morphology and phylogeny of open-pollinated sweet corn cultivars has not been studied. Fifty eight open-pollinated sweet corn cultivars were characterized with thirty-four descriptors to provide information for breeders interested in broadening the genetic base of sweet corn. Principal component analysis and cluster analysis were performed to classify sweet corn cultivars based on morphology. Also, relationships among morphological variables in this set of cultivars were determined. The general ordination of cultivars followed an axis representing earliness, and plant, leaf, and tassel size, while ear and kernel attributes were less variable. The morphological variability among all of the widely used sweet corn cultivars, except `Country Gentleman', was not greater than the variability found among the `Golden Bantam' strains. Based on morphology, 52 of the cultivars could be considered as one race, which we propose be called `Northeastern Sweets'. These may be a subset of the race `Northern Flint'. Five of the remaining cultivars are from the north-central or southwestern United States and may represent races from those areas. The sixth cultivar is `Country Gentleman', a commercially important sweet corn cultivar. Due to the importance of `Country Gentleman' and the introgression of nonsweet germplasm into modern sweet corn, we believe that sweet corn should be defined based on its use as a vegetable and on the presence of one or more genes that increase sugar levels in the endosperm.

Free access
Authors: and

Goss's wilt is a bacterial wilt and blight that may cause yield losses up to 50% or greater in sweet corn. Ten hybrids from a diallel cross of five sweet corn (Zea mays L.) inbreds were analyzed for resistance to Goss's wilt (Corynebacterium michiganense ssp. nebraskense Schuster, Hoff, Mandel, and Lazar) in 1987 and 1988. The inbreds used to make the diallel were widely used historically and were chosen on the basis of adaptation and relative maturity. Three hybrids were resistant and seven intermediate, while the field corn controls were extremely susceptible. General combining ability (GCA) and specific combining ability (SCA) sums of squares accounted for 94% and 6% of the variation among crosses, respectively. GCA was highly significant (P ≤ 0.01), while SCA was nonsignificant. Year differences were nonsignificant, but date of rating and hybrid × year interaction effects were significant (P 0.05). Resistance to Goss's wilt is available in sweet corn, and recurrent selection should be effective if improvement in resistance is desired.

Free access