Estimating Broad Sense Heritability and Investigating the Mechanism of Genetic Transmission of Cold Tolerance Using Mannitol as a Measure of Post-freeze Juice Degradation in Sugarcane and Energycane (Saccharum spp.)

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In approximately 25% of the sugarcane-producing countries worldwide, conventional sugarcane (Saccharum spp. hybrids) is exposed to damaging freezes. A study was conducted during the 2009 and 2010 harvest seasons to compare late-season freeze tolerance among three groups: commercial Louisiana sugarcane genotypes, early generation genotypes selected for cold tolerance in the U.S. Department of Agriculture sugarcane breeding programs at Houma, LA, and Canal Point, FL, and potential energycane genotypes selected for high total biomass per acre. Mannitol concentrations in cane juice following freezing temperatures were determined to evaluate levels of cold tolerance. Genotypes selected for cold tolerance in Houma, LA, had significantly more late-season freeze tolerance than commercial sugarcane genotypes and genotypes selected in Canal Point, FL. Genotypes showing the most cold tolerance were Ho02-146 and Ho02-152, and those that were most highly susceptible were US87-1006 and US87-1003 (early-generation breeding genotypes) and L99-233 (commercial genotype). Broad-sense heritability for late-season cold tolerance in the two-year study was estimated at g(2) = 0.78. The enzymatic mannitol analysis successfully differentiated high-fiber energycane genotypes from those from other sources.

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Journal of agricultural and food chemistry

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