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Article

Breeding Amaranth for Biomass: Evaluating Dry Matter Content and Biomass Potential in Early and Late Maturing Genotypes

1
Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science and Population Genetics, University of Hohenheim, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
2
Institute for Plant Sciences and Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences, University of Cologne, 50674 Cologne, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pasquale Tripodi
Agronomy 2021, 11(5), 970; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050970
Received: 16 April 2021 / Revised: 8 May 2021 / Accepted: 10 May 2021 / Published: 13 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Crop Breeding and Genetics)
Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) is a promising biomass crop for silage and biogas production. Under long-day conditions, it exhibits prolonged vegetative growth. To evaluate the breeding potential of amaranth for biomass production, we characterized phenotypic variation in biomass yield components, quantitative genetic parameters, and the relationships between traits. We conducted field trials of 10 biomass-type genotypes exhibiting a ‘giant’ growth habit derived from spontaneous hybridization between genetically diverse parents, and used the variety “Bärnkrafft” as check. We observed two contrasting growth patterns: Bärnkrafft is a variety for grain production and was characterized by a short vegetative growth followed by a long seed ripening. In contrast, the biomass genotypes displayed a long vegetative growth followed by a short seed ripening. We observed strong correlations between dry matter content and stem diameter (r =−0.78, p < 0.01) and between plant height and biomass score (r = 0.95, p < 0.001). High values for broad-sense heritability of stem diameter (H2 = 0.88) and plant height (H2 = 0.92) suggest that the dry matter content and yield can be improved by indirect phenotypic selection. We hypothesize that selection for dry matter content and yield implies a trade-off between earliness and photoperiod sensitivity. Hence, dry matter content should be improved first by recurrent selection, which can be then combined with short-day genes to improve dry matter yield. Overall, this work provides an avenue to the breeding of biomass amaranth. View Full-Text
Keywords: amaranth; biomass; quantitative genetics; photoperiod sensitivity; dry matter yield amaranth; biomass; quantitative genetics; photoperiod sensitivity; dry matter yield
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MDPI and ACS Style

Baturaygil, A.; Stetter, M.G.; Schmid, K. Breeding Amaranth for Biomass: Evaluating Dry Matter Content and Biomass Potential in Early and Late Maturing Genotypes. Agronomy 2021, 11, 970. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050970

AMA Style

Baturaygil A, Stetter MG, Schmid K. Breeding Amaranth for Biomass: Evaluating Dry Matter Content and Biomass Potential in Early and Late Maturing Genotypes. Agronomy. 2021; 11(5):970. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050970

Chicago/Turabian Style

Baturaygil, Ali, Markus G. Stetter, and Karl Schmid. 2021. "Breeding Amaranth for Biomass: Evaluating Dry Matter Content and Biomass Potential in Early and Late Maturing Genotypes" Agronomy 11, no. 5: 970. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11050970

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