Open Source Plant Breeding Forum

General Category => Plant Breeding => Topic started by: reed on 2018-10-21, 06:31:41 AM

Title: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-10-21, 06:31:41 AM
Lots of work has and is being done in corn breeding but seems like very little of it is taking place around my area. I want a fast maturing flour corn, for cornbread, hominy and other culinary uses but also a nice ornamental so I can sell it high dollar for decorations.

I like Dave Christensen's Painted Mountain and Carol Deppe's Magic Manna even more, they both largely fit the bill on what I want. Problem is, they don't seem to like Indiana. I think the issue is likely related to heat units, they just get their required GDD too fast resulting in flowering in as little as 40 days, I'm OK with that in itself but they can also do it at only 1 1/2 to 3 feet tall. Ears are way down by the ground and generally don't form well. Worse, especially with PM is the ears can way overshoot the husks leading to all kinds of bug and molding problems.

Eastern American flour corns that I knew of till recently, primarily Cherokee White Flour are way too big and way, way too long season for my liking. Long season especially, is an issue for a number of reasons far from the least of which is fall army worms that arrive in abundance in late summer. They degrade the food quality of course and they destroy the ornamental value.

My goals
*short enough maturity I can grow two generations in one season
*strong resistance to lodging
*tolerant of drought
*widely variable  pericarp color, white endosperm, colorless aleurone  - so I have single colored
  ears like Magic Manna
*resistance to fall army worms so my late crop isn't damaged
*good tight tip cover to resist other bug and mold problems
*8 to 12 rows of large kernels on long slender cobs
*colorful stalks, silks tassels

That's not too much to ask is it? No it isn't, cause I already have some excellent building blocks.

Zapalote Chico, a Mexican Landrace variety from GRIN likes Indiana just fine. It resists lodging as well or better and recovers from it faster than most other corns I'v grown. It has gorgeous purple stalks and shucks and all white kernels on red cobs. It contains a compound in it's silks that kills army worms and I have confirmed that in my own garden. it grows  6-7 feet tall and holds its ears 3 or more feet off the ground.

What I call Oxbow White Flour is an Eastern American Grex I got from a forum member. It is slightly later flowering than Zap Chico but not so much as to seriously hinder crossing and I have already done so this past season. It has much longer thinner ears than Zap Chico but even so has great tip cover. A little less resistant to lodging probably because of greater height but nothing I can't work around.  A bonus is in my patch past season I found a nice bronze colored ear and a nice red one.  I dissected several kernels from each and found no color other than peircarp so my introduction of colored pericarp is already on it's way.

Even though  the two i mentioned above are fast maturing, fast enough for two generations per season the PM and MM I planted with intent to detassel flowered way too soon. I did get a couple small ears from them pollinated by ZC and OWF and will try to  detassel and cross them again next year, taking little but pericarp color into the next generation. And I learned I need to plant MM about two weeks after the ZC and OWF to facilitate simultaneous flowering.

So my first crop next year will be planted around first of May. I'll try to cross ZC and OWF onto MM, picking up the varied pericarp. Then in my the second crop I'll cross that back the other direction making a mix of seeds that are 3/4 ZC or OWF and 1/4 MM. In the first patch ZC and OWF will both be tasseling so there will already some more mixing there as well.

The next season, I'll get in the freezer and pull out my small reserve of pure ZC and OWF and cross all that mess back on to them. From then on it's just selecting for the things on my wish list.

O' and I might throw a little zea diploperennis in there from time to time just to keep it interesting.








Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Oxbow Farm on 2018-10-21, 04:18:02 PM
Reed, I've got some colored pericarp stuff that came out of my plantings that I am not going to use, since I'm always shooting for a white flour corn for ease of nixtamalization. Mostly they are pink and purple tipped ears.  You can have it if you want.

Probably the brown/tan was some latent color genetics from the Cargill North Temperate Zone Coroico that was a major part of the mixture since three or four years ago.  Much of that was colored pericarp and lots of it was brown/tan/beige. Like these ears, these are Coroico, but they were detasseled and pollinated by my flour grex.
(https://vgy.me/oBMyTY.jpg)

The F1 crosses often came out looking like this ear on the right (order right to left is grex, coroico, F1 ear), with pericarp color but straight rows from the grex instead of the interlocked rows like Coroico.  I've never had any interlocked rows show up in the flour corn, but it seems like it ought to express once in a while, I think there are a lot of recessives involved in interlocked rows.

(https://vgy.me/7fslPL.jpg)
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-10-22, 09:08:49 AM
Those are all beautiful ears of corn. The one on left in the bottom picture is exactly what I'm looking for as far as structure, small number of rows of big kernels, I just want it in multiple colors like Magic manna.  I have some from this year that look very much like that. There was variability in the OWF as far as flowering time and unfortunately some that flowered earlier and more in line with Zap Chico was lost to coons. However most of the OWF pollen that landed on the Zap Chico came form those plants so it worked out OK.

Your corn is already what I want in a lot of ways , I could almost use it as is except for those nasty ear worms. Because of them I'll have to keep an open mind on the ear structure cause I have to keep Zapalote Chico's resistance even if it means keeping other traits too. At the very least though I'm sure I can bring in variable pericarp and I imagine I can pull off increasing ear size as well. It should be easy to select for the worm resistance even if plants and ears start to look a lot different from ZC.  All corn on my garden that matures later in the season is attacked, except for ZC.

I figure in a good year, with two generations the early one will mix up the genes and the second one will reveal the resistance. In future if something happens and planting is delayed or if the first crop is destroyed by weather or critters the replacement planting will be fine from the worm standpoint.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-20, 07:54:02 AM
I have several preferences in my project for my new corn but one critical priority is resistance to the ear worms, fall army worms or what ever they actually are. They have gotten much worse here in recent years and I suspect they are largely responsible for the almost total absence of decorative Indian corn at the markets the last couple years. They make it impossible to harvest a decent ear of corn that matures much later than end of July.

The corn I mentioned earlier called Zapalote Chico has the wonderful property of making something called glycoside maysin in it's silks and I confirmed this past season it really really works. Not a single ear of ZC was damaged by the worms. What I don't know is how is maysin inherited? I don't know if it is recessive or dominate or if it transferred only by the mother. 

The amount of it to achieve effectiveness is reported by GRIN to be 0.20% fresh silk weight.  The CZ I started with is reported to have 0.52%, but another ascension on GRIN where CZ was used as the recurrent backcross of a resistant sweet corn is 0.97%. So, I don't know, was the CZ they started with a different strain than mine? Or is it one of those things that might be controlled by more than one gene or by quantitative genes?

This is the pedigree of that sweet example corn from GRIN (PI 612343)
Quote
Developed from simple backcross procedure for a recessive gene. Zapalote Chico 2451 was the recurrent parent for the backcross
They don't show a picture of the ears but the kernels just look like a sweet ZC, and maybe a little more yellow. Here is part of the narrative on what they did.
Quote
Sweet corn population developed to have improved resistance to the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). The sh2 and a1 genes at positions 149.2 and 149.0 on 3L were introgressed into Zapalote Chico 2451
. So is the sh2 the recessive gene they mention and they just put it in ZC?

I want to do the opposite and put the maysin gene(s) into a new variety of flour corn with larger ears and variable for pericarp color. My plan to do that which I think will work, is to just cross the various strains I'm working with and grow the offspring purposely to time maturity with arrival of the worms and then just select from those that are resistant.

Next spring I'll be planting this years seed. Some is crossed with CZ as mother, some the opposite and some will be selfed ZC and selfed Oxbow White Flour. I don't know which is which except for the mother side. I will also be planting some new colored pericarp strains to up the variation there. And the rest of my ZC, semi isolated to increase my supply for future use.

Any advise, speculation or prediction on how this will turn out or which if any to detassel or any other comments  are welcome.

Here is what an ear of ZC looks like. They are beautiful but small, only about five inches long.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Andrew Barney on 2018-11-20, 09:37:43 AM
Reed, sounds like a really cool project. I don't know anything about that trait but i like your plan.  The only thing i would mention is that if it is recessive all your F1 ears might be eaten. In that case it might be better to grow the F1s safe and do your plan with the F2 progeny instead. But i have no idea if it is dominant or co-dominant or what. 
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-21, 04:43:45 AM
... The only thing i would mention is that if it is recessive all your F1 ears might be eaten. In that case it might be better to grow the F1s safe and do your plan with the F2 progeny instead. ..
Is that because if it is recessive the F1 will just have one copy and therefor not be resistant? If that is the case then I have an actual experiment I can run to maybe find out.

It is all short enough season that if things go well I can grow two generations per season so the first planting will be F1 of course but I have enough seed that I can plant some more F1 about the same time as the F2 in the second planting.

The late planting maturity will fall inline with arrival of the worms.  So if I plant say 100 seeds from CZ mothers, since they were not detassseled some of them will certainly be resistant. But others will be F1s with the OWF. So, if any plants from CZ mothers are not resistant then I will know the trait is recessive. Is that correct? And if any plant, especially if it shows a phenotype that is obviously a cross, for example long thin ears with dark purple shucks, is resistant, then I will know the trait is dominant.

Similar with the OWF seeds, those that are selfed will be eaten and if the trait is recessive the F1s also will be. The worms are numerous enough that If any of these are not eaten then the trait is dominate.

The worms destroy the ears for most purposes. They always eat the tip and then as they grow they make big ugly tunnels up and down the ear. So now I'm wondering if I can even get an idea if the trait is quantitative. If an ear is severely damaged, that is just normal. If an ear isn't touched that's normal for CZ but what if an ear is damaged on the tip but the worm croaked before it got full size? That might mean it is quantitative and that might be a good thing, I'm not sure. I think I'm working with a wide enough cross that just a few ears from this coming year, meeting some or most of the goals, will be enough to start my new kind.

I haven't looked in to inheritance of pericarp color yet but I'll worry about that later. This coming year I think I'll grow a little of my new colored kinds and detasel to pollinate with CZ.

Most of my breeding work is just by observation and selection and in the end this mostly will be too but I'm gonna try to apply a little more science to my corn, maybe even keep some written records.




Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-11-21, 04:15:46 PM
Reed, the idea of introducing genes for ear-worm resistant silk is fascinating.

I'm curious about a couple of things. First, why a flour corn for ornanental, cornbread, etc? Instead of a flint? (If you want very fine flour for gravy or cakes, you need a flour corn. But flint corns make equally good or tastier cornbread, are just as good for nixtamalizing, and also can make good polenta. And you can create flint varieties that are variable for pericarp color but have white aleurone and endosperm to give ears that are solid colors but different colors. I ask because the flour corns are just so much more of a pain to grow than the flints. And especially in the midwest. They are more susceptible to stalk rots and insects. And have much more tendency to mold if rained upon after they start drying down. Much harder to store, too. There's a little moth that loves them that has a hard time doing much with a flint.

Other question. Why a corn that is so short season that you could grow two entire crops? As opposed to the more usual resilience-promoting strategy of growing a shorter maturity and a full season corn? Or a short season corn followed by a second crop of something else?

It's always interesting to see what motivates the plant breeding project choices of various plant breeders. Especially us unruly undomesticated freelancers.

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-22, 04:48:45 AM
Quote
I'm curious about a couple of things. First, why a flour corn for ornanental, cornbread, etc? Instead of a flint?

Well, I'm not really sure. I haven't done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen yet except for parching but a local style traditional corn bread is really what I'm most interested in. I was gifted some Bronze Beauty flint and I have some Cascade Cream Cap that I grew a few seasons ago that I am going to plant next year to pollinate with the ZC. I first though I would have to keep selecting out the flint but  was thinking the other day that maybe I could develop both a flint and a flour version.
 
Quote
Other question. Why a corn that is so short season that you could grow two entire crops? As opposed to the more usual resilience-promoting strategy of growing a shorter maturity and a full season corn? Or a short season corn followed by a second crop of something else?

I like short season maturity in everything cause it seems like gardening isn't as easy as it used to be. Weird weather, bugs and diseases are always lurking around waiting to ruin it all. So I figure the less time it takes to mature a crop the higher the chance of a successful harvest, even if it isn't as large as a longer season variety might have produced.

I got excited about it more specifically with corn when I discovered by accident that it was actually possible to have two generations in on season. I figured WOW, if I can grow two generations in one year, it halves the time needed to select for what I want and build up my seed stock.

Eventually though it will just be to meet that first goal and to increase options on when to plant. I can plant corn and then something else after, or like I did this past year, I can plant corn after something else like bush beans or peas. The worm resistance from ZC is critical for that though. Without it even a short season corn could not be planted after the beans and a long season one had to be planted early.

Now I'm thinking, maybe I can have a  planting window from late April to mid July, plenty of time to start over if needed, grow multiple successions, time flowering between a flour and a flint patch, just lots of options. First things first though is to get that maysin into the silks of all my corn.

I also am working on a quick season pole bean whose vines only get six or seven feet tall to plant when the corn is nearly mature. Then when I harvest the corn I can strip off the leaves and leave the stalks for bean poles. I got my beans selected and will give that a try next year.

Here is a picture of the silks on the Zapalote Chico. They look kind of funny to me, a little bit more frizzy than most corn. I'm hoping maybe that is a visual clue that the maysin is in there.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-11-22, 04:56:32 PM
Well, I'm not really sure. I haven't done a lot of experimenting in the kitchen yet except for parching but a local style traditional corn bread is really what I'm most interested in. I was gifted some Bronze Beauty flint and I have some Cascade Cream Cap that I grew a few seasons ago that I am going to plant next year to pollinate with the ZC. I first though I would have to keep selecting out the flint but  was thinking the other day that maybe I could develop both a flint and a flour version.
 
I like short season maturity in everything cause it seems like gardening isn't as easy as it used to be. Weird weather, bugs and diseases are always lurking around waiting to ruin it all. So I figure the less time it takes to mature a crop the higher the chance of a successful harvest, even if it isn't as large as a longer season variety might have produced.

I got excited about it more specifically with corn when I discovered by accident that it was actually possible to have two generations in on season. I figured WOW, if I can grow two generations in one year, it halves the time needed to select for what I want and build up my seed stock.

Eventually though it will just be to meet that first goal and to increase options on when to plant. I can plant corn and then something else after, or like I did this past year, I can plant corn after something else like bush beans or peas. The worm resistance from ZC is critical for that though. Without it even a short season corn could not be planted after the beans and a long season one had to be planted early.

Now I'm thinking, maybe I can have a  planting window from late April to mid July, plenty of time to start over if needed, grow multiple successions, time flowering between a flour and a flint patch, just lots of options. First things first though is to get that maysin into the silks of all my corn.

I also am working on a quick season pole bean whose vines only get six or seven feet tall to plant when the corn is nearly mature. Then when I harvest the corn I can strip off the leaves and leave the stalks for bean poles. I got my beans selected and will give that a try next year.

Here is a picture of the silks on the Zapalote Chico. They look kind of funny to me, a little bit more frizzy than most corn. I'm hoping maybe that is a visual clue that the maysin is in there.

For parching you definitely want a flour corn all right, and furthermore, only certain colors give good flavors and are resistant to burning. In the background of clear aleurone and white endosperm, the percarp colors that make good parching corn are red, pink, or red-striped. (Clear or white pericarp flour corn, when parched, tastes awful plus burns. Brown pericarp likewise. And anything with a yellow endosperm tastes horrid parched. And black aleurone also tastes bad parched. I figured this stuff out by developing pure color lines from Painted Mountain, tasting them, then using that info to design Magic Manna.)(Variety descriptions sometimes claim Painted Mountain or other multicolored flour corns are good for parching. And yes, they will parch. It's just that they taste horrible when parched, being mostly kernels that taste bad parched or are burned.)

I dig your thinking about two crops per season. Exactly how do you manage to do that?
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-23, 04:55:53 AM
I dig your thinking about two crops per season. Exactly how do you manage to do that?

Well, in the case of the second being grown from seed of the first I wouldn't exactly call it a crop, but just a few plants to see it if would work. And my technique needs some refining.

It's also a case of where not keeping good records is biting me in the rear cause I don't know the exact planting times I'v done and some corns work better than others. PM and MM for example are easy, I can have actual dry seed, or at lest dry enough to easily remove them from the cob to plant in mid July or so. There is something going on there though that I don't understand. Those varieties either from the first crop seed or seed from prior year tassel while very short and ears tend to overshoot the husks when planted in July, where they don't do that so near as bad when planted in April. Others like Oaxacan Green dent and  Aunt Mary's sweet (from same season or other seed) grow the same size as the early planted crop and produce just as well, only faster. I suppose maybe that all has to do with heat units but figuring that out is getting a little more sciencey, than I like.

Zapalote Chico fell in the best of both, seeds dry enough to extract from the cob and second growth as good or better than first although I only did it with a half dozen plants. Unfortunately none of them showed any sign of having been a cross.

The other corn I used last year, that I call Oxbow White Flour, after the forum member that gave it too me was less cooperative. It was a little behind the ZC and kernels were not dry enough to get them off the cob in tact. I think it was Joseph who suggested planting a section of cob and that worked but not well. I only got two plants, they weren't pollinated good enough to make very many seeds and the worms and mold got them.

I don't know that growing an actual second crop from the same years seed is viable, not sure there is really even a reason too but to speed up breeding I think it is doable. Of course depends on the weather, especially in spring. The first crop has to be in the ground by late April and produce viable seeds by early July. In the case of viable but still wet seed I have to figure out how to get it separated from the cob without destroying it. The second crop needs frost to hold off till mid to late October which is usually does anymore and has to be resistant to the worms. 

I'v made and broken this pledge before but next year at least for corn, I am going to write down the exact date I plant the first seed, the date of flowering, harvest and all that stuff and keep a good ongoing record. Heck I might do it with sweet potatoes too.


 

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Oxbow Farm on 2018-11-23, 06:11:07 AM
I ask because the flour corns are just so much more of a pain to grow than the flints. And especially in the midwest. They are more susceptible to stalk rots and insects. And have much more tendency to mold if rained upon after they start drying down. Much harder to store, too. There's a little moth that loves them that has a hard time doing much with a flint.



Carol,  in general this is true, but most of the serious issues with growing and drying down flour corn east of the Mississippi are eliminated if you start with the right material.  In my experience, flour corns derived from the Southwestern/Great Plains flour corns are really hard to grow well out East.  They have essentially zero tolerance for fungal pathogens at all.  Especially ear and stalk rot, and Northern Leaf Blight.  Lack of NLB tolerance is pretty characteristic of all Native American heirlooms from N. America in my experience, but corns like Painted Mtn, Hopi Pink, Parching Red Supai, etc are essentially 100% susceptible.

If you use corns from the Eastern White Flour complex like Cherokee White, Miami White, or one of the many strains of Iroquois/6 Nations White, the results are very different.  They are highly resistant to stalk rot and ear rot and usually have no trouble maturing dry grain in my fall weather conditions without significant mold. 

I've also found it really useful to include genetics from S. America and Central American corn, Coroico/Pirincinco is a flour corn from the Amazon, and has great mold resistant genetics to contribute, as well as near perfect field immunity to Northern Leaf Blight. 

Grain moth damage in storage is definitely a problem though, that much is true. We get cold enough in winter that I often put my buckets of shelled corn out on the porch for a few weeks to freeze.  But they get recolonized since we have a resident house population of the moths.

I find it worth it to grow flour corn because you get much different textures and can make different dishes with flour corn.  I prefer flour corn for posole, and for things like arepas and flautas.  It is easier to grind flour corn into a very fine grained masa than it is for flint, so the texture of the resulting tortilla or flauta is more delicate.  You also cannot make atole with flint corn very well, at least I haven't been able to.

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-23, 08:53:51 AM
Mold is certainly an issue here and the western corns definitely are more hard hit by it. For a crop maturing in the fall the worms I think also play a part, the rows of half eaten kernels they leave in their path are incubators for all kinds of fuzzy rot that spreads to otherwise non damaged kernels. I also think poor tip cover like with Painted Mountain also is very inviting to mold.

The ZC has extreme tight shucks and tip cover and it had zero mold last year.  The first planting of OWF also had zero The second planting had some, partly I think because it first had damage by the worms. Even at that it didn't spread and ruin all the kernels, I got plenty of good seed. Only those poorly pollinated, severely worm attacked ears were a total loss.

When it comes to using my corn in the kitchen I have a lot to learn and when I say a lot I mean everything. In my imagination there is corn that can be ground and stirred up with a little milk and eggs and baked in an iron skillet and come out as a yummy, somewhat gritty cornbread that can be smeared with butter or honey without falling apart. I'm fine if it turns out to be flint or leaning toward flint but again in my imagination it is kind of both but it isn't dent cause I think dent corn is ugly.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-11-23, 12:00:16 PM
Oxbow, thanks for your observations on flour corn germplasm for the east and Midwest. That should be a big help for those breeding flour corns for those regions.

The way I deal with those LGMs (little grey storage moths) is to run the shelled corn through a dehydrator, then put it in huge 4 mil plastic resealable bags from ULINE. These are usually  thick enough to stop insects. (The more commonly used bags by seed companies, the 2 mils, don't stop those moths.) Then I put the bags in a freezer for a few weeks, then take them out and seal them in plastic pails. Also from ULINE. The pails are to protect against rodents. Alternately, in freezing weather I sometimes just put the pails outside, especially for food grade seed.  ULINE number is 1 800 295 5510. They deliver in 2 business days. And will happily send you a free catalog. There are a million types of bags, so I'll give you the numbers. S-1304 is 9 x 12 and cost about $100 for a carton of 1000. I also use the S-1306, which is 12 x 15. For smaller amounts S-1707, S-1302, and S-1712. All the commercial Ziploc bags you buy in the grocery are easily penetrated by the insects. Even the 4 mil bags get penetrated if there are eggs on the corn that hatch inside the bag. That is, the insects will burrow out if worns develop inside. But the moths don't burrow in. That's why you need to freeze cycle to kill eggs. The bags inside the pail allow you to remove the corn you want without a moth diving in and reinfesting things.

Also, I encourage spiders in most of the house. They really help with the moths.

Reed, a couple of tricks that might help you get two generations per season for breeding. First, you can plant much earlier if you presoak seed indoors. This breaks seed dormancy. Corn needs much more warmth to break dormancy than to grow. Second, you don't have to stand there pretending to be a patient person and politely wait for the ear to dry enough to shell. You can instead put the whole ears in a dehydrator and dry them whether they feel like it or not. Not practical for a whole crop, but fine for a few precious ears for breeding.

Yes, your vision of how you imagine eating your flour corn--just mixing together some eggs, milk, and flour and cook it in a frying pan on the stove top in a few minutes--yep. That works fine. You also need baking powder and some oil, butter, or fat. You end up with something with a pancake texture but a little stiffer. For more flexible pancake you have  to use oil rather than  butter. I like butter, especially kerrygold. If you also include sugar you get a pancake. With sugar and a white corn flour it even tastes like a pancake. Without sugar you get a nice flatbread. You don't need a cast iron skillet. Any heavy skillet will do.

My basic recipe is 2 cups of flour corn flour, 2 large eggs, 2 tbs melted butter, 2 tsp Rumford baking powder, and the right amount of water or milk. The right amount depends on the moisture content of  the flour and size of eggs. I scramble eggs and add eggs and melted butter to the flour. The skillet is heating up on medium. The baking powder is measured and sitting on a folded in half paper plate. It will be added last. I was not able to make these cakes reliably until I figured out that I had to add the fluid to get the right consistency, not some set amount of fluid. And I had to add baking powder last.

Add enough water or milk to the flour-egg-fat mix to make a thick batter, a batter with the same consistency as thick pancake batter. Batter that is going to make cakes about half an inch thick in the pan. You can mess with the mix and add a little more flour if you added too much fluid. No hurry as long as you haven't added baking powder yet. Use a spatula to stir. Batter is too thick for a whisk.

After batter is the right consistency, add the baking powder by sprinkling it from the paper plate across surface of batter, quickly stir baking powder in, and use spatula to scrape batter out into frying pan in approximate pancake shapes.

Now let cakes cook a few minutes until bottoms are brown. You have to peek to watch for browning. If you wait for bubbles on upper surface to break, as you do with wheat pancakes, you'll burn cakes. Once cakes are brown turn them and let other side get brown. Then take skillet off the heat and let cakes finish cooking a few minutes more with heat in skillet. If you try to finish cooking on the heat the cakes tend to burn before the inside is dried out and done.

It sounds complicated, but it is just as fast and easy as making wheat pancakes. The extra verbiage is because the corn flour behaves differently, so takes different handling.

You can also make real cakes with flour corn flour. (Recipe in The Resilient Gardener.)

Flour corn makes great gravy. Make just as you would with cornstarch, but use a bit more flour than you would cornstarch and cook a little longer.  The different colors all give different flavors of gravy (or skillet cakes).
Title: Re: Flour/Flint/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-24, 12:41:15 AM
Reed, a couple of tricks that might help you get two generations per season for breeding. First, you can plant much earlier if you presoak seed indoors. This breaks seed dormancy. Corn needs much more warmth to break dormancy than to grow. Second, you don't have to stand there pretending to be a patient person and politely wait for the ear to dry enough to shell. You can instead put the whole ears in a dehydrator and dry them whether they feel like it or not. Not practical for a whole crop, but fine for a few precious ears for breeding.
I was thinking about starting some for the spring plating inside or in a cold frame but never occurred to me to use the dehydrator to speed things up on the second. Between the two it should be pretty easy to squeeze out a few more days and it is so close already that is all I need. If it works I'll have F2 and a couple different sets of F1 seeds to compare for resistance to the worms in the second planting. 
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-11-25, 06:58:07 AM
I have several preferences in my project for my new corn but one critical priority is resistance to the ear worms, fall army worms or what ever they actually are. They have gotten much worse here in recent years and I suspect they are largely responsible for the almost total absence of decorative Indian corn at the markets the last couple years. They make it impossible to harvest a decent ear of corn that matures much later than end of July.

The corn I mentioned earlier called Zapalote Chico has the wonderful property of making something called glycoside maysin in it's silks and I confirmed this past season it really really works. Not a single ear of ZC was damaged by the worms. What I don't know is how is maysin inherited? I don't know if it is recessive or dominate or if it transferred only by the mother. 

The amount of it to achieve effectiveness is reported by GRIN to be 0.20% fresh silk weight.  The CZ I started with is reported to have 0.52%, but another ascension on GRIN where CZ was used as the recurrent backcross of a resistant sweet corn is 0.97%. So, I don't know, was the CZ they started with a different strain than mine? Or is it one of those things that might be controlled by more than one gene or by quantitative genes?

This is the pedigree of that sweet example corn from GRIN (PI 612343) They don't show a picture of the ears but the kernels just look like a sweet ZC, and maybe a little more yellow. Here is part of the narrative on what they did. . So is the sh2 the recessive gene they mention and they just put it in ZC?

I want to do the opposite and put the maysin gene(s) into a new variety of flour corn with larger ears and variable for pericarp color. My plan to do that which I think will work, is to just cross the various strains I'm working with and grow the offspring purposely to time maturity with arrival of the worms and then just select from those that are resistant.

Next spring I'll be planting this years seed. Some is crossed with CZ as mother, some the opposite and some will be selfed ZC and selfed Oxbow White Flour. I don't know which is which except for the mother side. I will also be planting some new colored pericarp strains to up the variation there. And the rest of my ZC, semi isolated to increase my supply for future use.

Any advise, speculation or prediction on how this will turn out or which if any to detassel or any other comments  are welcome.

Here is what an ear of ZC looks like. They are beautiful but small, only about five inches long.

In the quotes you gave, it was bt and another very closely linked gene that were introgressed into the Zap.

I looked around on the internet to see what I could find on genetics of maysin. A big mess. From a QTL (quantitative trait locus) study it looks like at least six genes on three different chromosomes were involved. Another QTL study seemed to be talking about two genes linked to pericarp color genes. Another study proposed the low maysin phenotype was associated with two dominant genes. My access was limited to abstracts. All papers were confidently predicting that because of their work, it should be easy and fast to develop worm resistant sweet corns. But that was ten or more years ago. And so where are the sweet corns if they in fact had deciphered the genetics correctly and the genes had big enough effects to be useful?

I would assume multiple genes are likely to differ between the Zap and any worm sensitive variety you might cross it to. By the time you are up to even about four or so genes, it basically looks like a quantitatively inherited trait in the field. I would take seriously that some of the genes associated with low maysin, and possibly all of them might be dominant. If all high maysin genes are fully recessive, this would mean that the F1 would be sensitive. And so backcrossing to anything sensitive would not allow the resistant trait to appear. You would be able to see resistance appearing only in F2s or backcrosses to Zap, so would need to proceed accordingly.

However, you might have a more sensitive bioassay for the resistance trait than other breeders since every sensitive ear gets wormed under your conditions. And somebody else's dominant genes for sensitive may appear as codominants under your conditions. In which case you could regress the codominant resistance genes into anything you wanted. So I would suggest taking a look at the Zap F1, and figure out how to proceed from there based upon whether or not it is resistant.

There may be linkage between some resistant genes and some percarp color genes. But even if so, there may be enough genes for resistance that aren't linked that you'll be able to introduce variability for pericarp color. And the linkage may not be close enough to matter.

The fact that every sensitive ear gets wormed under your conditions puts you in a great position to breed for ear worm resistance. And the complex genetics involved may well lend itself better to the traditional low tech breeding approaches than to anything higher tech that involves identifying all the genes involved. Have at it!
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-25, 05:50:25 PM
I looked back at the GRIN page on the sweet ZC example and think it is saying the maysin is recessive. O'well not a big issue I don't think.

Quote
In the quotes you gave, it was bt and another very closely linked gene that were introgressed into the Zap.
eek! bt, I thought that was only in corn through engineering, not worried though as I'm sure it isn't in the seeds I got.

Quote
From a QTL (quantitative trait locus) study it looks like at least six genes on three different chromosomes were involved.
I kind of suspected that already and not sure if it is good or bad. I'm going on the assumption it is good. I'm wondering if it might even be observable. Pure ZC simply doesn't have worms, they must die on their first taste after hatching. I wonder if the "dosage" for lack of a better term, is less then maybe they will live longer and chew on the tip a little before they croak. If that turned out to be the case I would like to know but I would certainly would want to nip in the bud so as not to foster resistance to the resistance.

Quote
If all high maysin genes are fully recessive, this would mean that the F1 would be sensitive. And so backcrossing to anything sensitive would not allow the resistant trait to appear. You would be able to see resistance appearing only in F2s or backcrosses to Zap, so would need to proceed accordingly.

If all goes well I'll have both F2 and some new F1 seed to plant for the late crop next year. I ought to be able to get some observations and get a better idea of how it will actually works.
Quote
you might have a more sensitive bioassay

There ya go again, making me learn sciencey stuff. "bioassay" an analytical method to determine concentration or potency of a substance by its effect on living cells or tissues
Yep, I think so. I got tons of the worms. Only thing that could go wrong is if some reason they didn't show up. But I can cover that to a degree by also planting some know sensitive variety just to attract them.

Quote
And the complex genetics involved may well lend itself better to the traditional low tech breeding approaches than to anything higher tech that involves identifying all the genes involved. Have at it!
Nope, ain't likely I'll be able to identify particular genes or combinations of genes but I can certainly plant and observe. In a way though, I suppose it's all the same thing.

Just for some insurance I asked the GRIN folks for another sample of the original ZC so I can grow a semi isolated patch to protect my ability to add more back in as necessary. This patch will also supply pollen for the new varieties of flint and flour I'm adding in next year as well as some of the other.

I don't want to risk my supply of the pure stuff till I see resistance in colored ears or in plants that are obviously part ZC and part something else.  Variations of colored shucks and ear shapes will be good sign of crossing other than the resistance.

I still also wonder if those funny looking frizzy silks might be an indicator, I hope so.
   

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-11-25, 07:33:22 PM
whoops, sorry Reed. It was sh-2, not bt that was introgressed into Zap.

Yeah, I love getting people to learn "sciencey" stuff. But I usually try to sneak it past em without their noticing they've learned anything.  ;D

I think if the frizzy silks went along with high maysin content, one of those papers would have said something about it. It's probably unrelated.



Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-26, 06:56:41 AM
I found an interesting article that talks about a trait called "salmon silks" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4944406/ (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4944406/)
It is very lengthy but  the first sentence of the abstract kind of sums it up for my purposes.
Quote
The century-old maize (Zea mays) salmon silks mutation has been linked to the absence of maysin.

I haven't 100% figured out what the salmon silks is but I think it is just pink or red colored silks. If that is the case then it might work as a visual indicator of maysin absence. And if it somehow inhibits or nullifies maysin production then maybe I can increase the chances of maysin producing offspring by avoiding or culling plants with pink or red silks. I might be grasping at straws, only time will tell but I love the idea of a visual hint on how the trait I want is or isn't encouraged. 
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-28, 02:36:19 AM
YEA! the folks at GRIN are letting me have another pack of Zap Chico. I'll grow out a nice patch and bank a backup supply of the maysin genes.

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-11-28, 07:13:10 PM
Reed, I found a neat recent 2016 paper; don't know if it's the same one you were looking at. It's available in full at http://www.plantcell.org/content/28/6/1297 . Article title is "Identification and Characterization of Maize salmon silks Genes involved in Insecticidal Maysin Biosynthesis." The final author, head of lab, and contact person for the article is Erich Grotewold, at Ohio State. This article, in addition to elucidating the role of the salmon silks genes, gives the entire biochemical pathway for 3-deoxyflavanoid biosynthesis. This is the pathway that produces not just maysin, but also the red pericarp pigments we love so much. The pathway branches, and one branch leads to the red pericarp pigments and another pericarp pigment. The other branch leads to maysin. The pericarp color gene P1 controls both pathways.

There are two different loci, sm1 and sm2, that can give the pinkish salmon silks phenotype. The article demonstrates that these genes control the last two steps in the synthesis of maysin. When either gene is in the recessive configuration, the last two steps in maysin synthesis are blocked. The molecules that build up behind the block are colored, hence the pinkish silks. The article also showed that these two genes are directly controlled by the major pericarp color control gene P1. They aren't linked to P1 or each other.

So what it amounts to is that, yes, any time you see that salmon silks color, presumably you will have no maysin. However, article says the pericarp color gene P1 is epistatic to salmon silks, and it's not clear to me what this means. Maybe it just means if the silks are red, the salmon silks pink would presumably be invisible. Do the pericarp genes control silk color? I don't know. If so, then they would have to be in the right configuration for any color to show in the silks. In addition, not having salmon silks color doesn't mean you will have maysin. Most corn varieties don't have maysin or salmon silks color; there are multiple ways to block maysin synthesis other than the salmon silks steps in the reaction.

A lovely piece of background info. The alleles of the pericarp color gene are  P1-rr, P1- wr, P1-rw, and P1-ww. These designate where the color appears, with the choices being pericarp/glumes-cob, only glums/cob, only pericarp, or neither, respectively.

Here's the link to the lab of Eric Grotewold at Ohio State.  https://eglab.osu.edu/  This gives us a nice photo of the salmon silks corn as well as Eric Grotewold's email address, office and lab phone number, and snail mail address. University breeders are usually easiest to get hold of by emailing and asking your questions. Or arranging time for a phone call. It's usually hard to catch them just cold calling. If it were me, I'd email him and tell him a little about my project, then ask to arrange a phone call day/time and mention all the possible times in the next week or two I would be available.

You might ask him if he thinks you can get the pericarp color genes into a flour corn variety that also included Maysin resistance. Whether the salmon silks always goes with that frizzy silk pattern. Whether he has better sources of maysin resistant material than Zapalito Chico. (The CMMetc folks have done more than a hundred collections of Zap lines from Mexico, and some had much bigger cobs than Zap. We don't normally have access to that stuff except through university breeders. And u breeders have been working with it a while. There may be much improved material you could be working with other than or in addition to Zap. But you'll have your own ideas about what you most want to ask.

If Grotewold didn't think the project would work, I'd do it anyway. However, I might be all the more encouraged to do an additional project too. That is, try to cross the Zap or other source of resistance to a black flour corn, with the idea of developing black, white, and magenta lines. (As best I can tell, magenta is black with a recessive modifier.) Since the black and magenta are aleurone pigments, that's a completely different pathway. Keep the endosperm (flinty layer) white. Flour corns that are magenta are really delicious parching corns. If you had three strains, black, white, and magenta, you could grow adjacent blocks of each. Plant the white in the middle. Then eat where the blocks come together. Use the magenta for parching. More complex than the variable pericarp and solid-ear approach. But if that is impossible because the relevant maysin resistance genes are linked to the pericarp genes, it gives you another approach. And the magenta is an entirely different parched corn flavor than the pericarp-gene based red or red-stripe. Note that in any given cross of a black to a white, magentas may or may not segregate depending upon whether the white carries any of the recessive gene that modifies black to purple. (The aleurone color pigment is the purple gene. I think black is just a whole lot of purple pigment. Black codominant to white.)

If you do get what appears to be better source material with bigger ears for the resistance, you might want to do the crosses to Zap also, as the university breeders might have thrown away some possible genes for resistance that might be useful to you.





Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-29, 09:21:48 AM
... This article... gives the entire biochemical pathway for 3-deoxyflavanoid biosynthesis. This is the pathway that produces not just maysin, but also the red pericarp pigments we love so much...
Goodness, I'll have to come back to this post and get into my saved links on info I'v found but for now regarding the quote above I'll mostly just say ;D Also though, I'm guessing and hoping that red doesn't mean just a single shade but maybe a range from pink to dark, and is it too much to hope it also includes red chinmark? If it turned out I had to limit my variable pericarp to just that, I think I could live with it.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Andrew Barney on 2018-11-29, 12:30:59 PM

Here's the link to the lab of Eric Grotewold at Ohio State.  https://eglab.osu.edu/  This gives us a nice photo of the salmon silks corn as well as Eric Grotewold's email address, office and lab phone number, and snail mail address. University breeders are usually easiest to get hold of by emailing and asking your questions. Or arranging time for a phone call. It's usually hard to catch them just cold calling. If it were me, I'd email him and tell him a little about my project, then ask to arrange a phone call day/time and mention all the possible times in the next week or two I would be available.


(https://eglab.osu.edu/sites/eglab.osu.edu/files/styles/product-display-250-wide/public/F1.medium.gif)

That is an interesting photo of Salmon silks. I really enjoy bright pink silks myself as opposed to yellow, but I've seen red silks on green stalks and yellow on purple. Not sure if I've ever seen salmon silks, but I've had salmon pollen anthers. It seems like anther color corresponds with kernel color.

Man I really am out of touch with corn info like pericap, alourine, etc. I have no idea what parts those mean. It would be nice if someone started a thread to help teach me.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-29, 01:49:34 PM
Man I really am out of touch with corn info like pericap, alourine, etc. I have no idea what parts those mean. It would be nice if someone started a thread to help teach me.

I know! I know! or at least I think I do. Pericarp is the hard outer layer on the kernel. It comes in a wide range of colors from clear to nearly black. Under that is a thin layer called the aleurone, it also comes in a wide range of colors. Then ya got the endosperm, almost always it is yellow or white but I'v noticed there are different shades of that.

The pericarp is maternal tissue so it is the same on every kernel produced by a single plant (although it can vary some for reasons I don't understand). You gets lots of mixed up colors on an ear because the aleurone and endosperm can vary, A LOT. If you can get rid of all color except pericarp but keep variation for pericarp in the population you can have different colored ears but each individual ear is just one color. That's what Carol did in her Magic Manna and what I hope to do in my corn. Magic Manna has white endosperm and that's what I want too but I suppose if a corn was uniform for yellow endosperm the ears would still be single color but maybe darker looking. 

The photo shows dissected kernels of a corn I named Big Red. It has nearly black pericarp, dark aleurone and varies for endosperm. It is wonderful corn and it is the ear of corn that a few seasons ago get me excited about growing corn again. Unfortunately it is terribly long season and don't think I can use it but I still have about 500 kernels in my freezer as well as whole ears descended from it. The scraped off aleurone may or may not really be that color cause i soaked the kernels in warm water to make it easier to remove the pericarp and the color is water soluble so it may be stained.

Bottom left shows the aleurone in tact and the other two with it scraped off.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-11-29, 03:54:08 PM
Good explanation, Reed.

A few details. The floury part of the endosperm is always white. The flinty part can be yellow or white. There isn't much flinty layer in a flour corn. However, where the flint is yellow, the aleurone is clear, and the pericarp is variable, you will have solid ears of red, brown/orange, red and yellow striped, and yellow. And every single kernel will taste awful parched. Yellow in the Flint layer of a flour corn tastes awful parched no matter the pericarp color.

However, yellow flinty layer, clear aleurone, and variable pericarp is great in Flint varieties. You don't parch flint varieties. And the yellow Flint with colored pericarps give spectacular unique flavors when the corn is baked into cornbread. That's what Cascade Ruby-Gold Flint is. It has yellow Flint, clear aleurone, and red, orange, or clear pericarp. So the ears are solid colors of red, orange, or yellow.

Pericarp black is actually just very deep red. In flour corns with clear aleurone and white flinty endosperm, they are the most delicious of all when parched. They are apparently homozygous for red pericarp. The ears are normally only about half the length of heterozygous pericarp red and the other ears. And varieties that are pure for that deep pericarp red are usually very wimpy, hard to grow, with just one small ear per plant. In other words, if you want a vigorous corn with red pericarp, you don't breed for pure red.

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2018-11-29, 05:43:44 PM
I grow corn that is far removed from typical.

I see kernels sometimes that  are almost completely purple, inside and out. I save kernels from time to time, but haven't done much breeding with them.

I imported genetics from South America which produce orange (beta-carotene) hard starch instead of yellow (zeaxanthin).

The attached photos show kernels broken open to expose the insides. The high carotene corn pops up yellow. I wonder if the high anthocyanin corns would pop purple?

 
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Andrew Barney on 2018-11-29, 07:13:32 PM
Cool. Thanks for the input everyone.  I am interested in waxy corn and wonder if the could be new novel uses for it. I don't have any germplasm for it yet,  but I want some.  Perhaps this forum needs a want/request area.

Carol, yes i breed and select for dark purple foliage flint (Indian corn) sometimes when i have space and it is the first breeding project / crop that got me started gardening. I know about the wimpy ears you speak of as my original strain had it and each tiny ear had like 50 layers of husks,  or at least seemed like it, though I am exaggerating a bit. You could call it genetic drag. I now have over come that problem in my current dark purple foliage corn strain as some sort of genetic linkage must have been broken at some point. I am very happy about that.

Joseph,  if you ever run into the "old gold" gene with yellow striped leaves again I would like some seed to try crossing with some purple foliage corn.

Those purple inside kernels sound interesting. You or someone should start a breeding project with them.

I don't grow flour corn as it is too finicky for me, but I really like flint corn a lot. I need some new extra early flint corn genetics though. I'm not happy with my genetic diversity. I need to request some skunk proof corn from Joseph at some point. The teosinte hybrids reed is growing sound promising too. Glad I could help share that germplasm.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2018-11-29, 07:46:18 PM
Joseph,  if you ever run into the "old gold" gene with yellow striped leaves again I would like some seed to try crossing with some purple foliage corn.

That trait is called Japonica. It's easily obtained from seed companies.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Andrew Barney on 2018-11-29, 08:03:13 PM
That trait is called Japonica. It's easily obtained from seed companies.

No,  meant the gold version, not the pink version. I originally got it from the long island seed project. Never mind, someday i can request it from the Maize Genetic Coop place. I know they have it. I'm pretty sure that is where long island seed originally got it from. It is different than Japonica. It is yellow and was a product of mutation breeding. It is not available from any seed company i know of.

(https://www.liseed.org/oldgoldsm.jpg)
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-11-30, 08:04:12 AM
Zea Mays is certainly an interesting family of plants and the one that originally brought me to the garden forums and to all the books and blogs where I have learned tons of stuff and found that, like with lots of things, the more I learn the more I realize how little I know. That was six years ago now and along the way I'v changed my plans and goals too many times to count but now I think I'm narrowing it down.

I want field corn that I can sell for ornamental cause that is where the money is. It sells here easily for a dollar an ear and as much as 5 dollars an ear if the woman sticks a ribbon and a couple dry flowers on it and takes it to her flea market booth. More than ten fold what sweet corn sells for and the time window to sell it is weeks or months instead of hours or days.

I want short season so I can breed two generations per year if I want but more importantly so I can plant anytime from April into July and still get a harvest. That gives the ability to recover from a disaster like a hail storm or coon attack. It also allows for staggered plantings of multiple types such as a flint and a flour variety.

And more important than the high profit of selling it as ornamental, I want to be able to eat it. I know I like parched corn especially if it's red but I also want to make corn bread or corn chips or  hominy or who knows what else.

I can hardly believe how lucky I was to discover the Zapalote Chico, thanks to one of Oxbow Farms youtube videos.  The fall army worms in recent years have been arriving sooner and in greater numbers than they used too and have really been cramping my style. Longer season corns can be attacked even if planted early and short season can't be planted late so the only option has been plant short season early. That works but there is no safety net to replant if it becomes necessary. The Zap Chico has numerous other properties I like as well, as shown here. https://www.biodiversidad.gob.mx/usos/maices/grupos/TropicalesPre/Zapalote_Ch.html (https://www.biodiversidad.gob.mx/usos/maices/grupos/TropicalesPre/Zapalote_Ch.html) . And it performed beautifully in my initial trials.

I'm dropping sweet corn almost entirely from my corn projects for the foreseeable future. I got it all out last evening and put some in a tray to germ test. I'll be keeping a little of the more interesting stuff in the freezer and putting the bulk up for trade on HG.

I'm focused now on my two strains of short season, worm resistant corns, one flour, one flint. They will both have a considerable foundation of the Zap Chico. To keep up diversity I'm going to try to cross everything I have to it, one way or the other. Stuff that is to far off what I ultimately want, for example  sweet  or the super long season Big Red will be crossed and crossed again till it starts showing the traits I want. At that point it's pollen will be allowed into the general population. I'm counting on the worms to to assist in identifying the plants they like and the ones they don't.

I'm getting better about staying focused on a particular desired outcome, only thing that has changed from what I'v learned since I started this thread is addition of a flint corn  project. I already have some Bronze Beauty flint which I was going to mix with the flour and sort it all out later but now I think I will keep the two separate from the start. I also have some Cascade Cream Cap which performed pretty well for me a few years ago, much better than the western flour corns.

I'm thinking though some Cascade Ruby Gold might be an excellent choice for the flint side of the project. It has the the short maturity I need and apparently the gene for red pericarp which sounds like it goes hand in hand with maysin production.  I imagine I'll be placing an order for some it pretty soon.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Mike Jennings on 2018-12-02, 12:01:53 PM
The corn I mentioned earlier called Zapalote Chico has the wonderful property of making something called glycoside maysin in it's silks and I confirmed this past season it really really works. Not a single ear of ZC was damaged by the worms. What I don't know is how is maysin inherited? I don't know if it is recessive or dominate or if it transferred only by the mother. 

I want to do the opposite and put the maysin gene(s) into a new variety of flour corn with larger ears and variable for pericarp color. My plan to do that which I think will work, is to just cross the various strains I'm working with and grow the offspring purposely to time maturity with arrival of the worms and then just select from those that are resistant.

I have thought a bit about how to select for maysin production in crosses with ZC. One problem may be that ZC is also supposed to a greater number of husks enclosing the ear (I think Oxbow Farm mentioned that). It seems like that trait may also provide some resistance to ear worms. So, in crosses with ZC, you may not actually know if you are selecting for maysin content in the silks or just for more husks. (Maybe it doesn't matter.)

I rarely get ear worms when I grow corn in my suburban neighborhood. But, when I grew out a bunch of dent corns in a borrowed rural field a few miles away, almost every ear had worm damage -- except for the Virginia Gourdseed. VG has a higher than average husk count and seemed to be very worm resistant. I don't know if it produces maysin.

My other concern with Zapalote Chico (Oxbow Farm shared some with me too), is that it seems more like a dent corn than flour. ZC kernels actually bear some resemblance to gourdseed corn, with a large amount of floury endosperm in the center, but also a pretty thick layer of flinty endosperm around the edges -- unlike a true flour corn. I wonder how difficult it will be to select that little bit of flinty-ness back out of your flour corn. It probably wouldn't hurt much for grinding, hominy, or ornamental purposes, but a little flint may negatively affect parching qualities. But...it might be worth it for the worm resistance.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2018-12-02, 01:59:32 PM
My favorite parching corn is sweet corn. Sugary enhanced sweet corn is even more favored.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-12-02, 03:27:19 PM
I have thought a bit about how to select for maysin production in crosses with ZC. One problem may be that ZC is also supposed to a greater number of husks enclosing the ear (I think Oxbow Farm mentioned that). It seems like that trait may also provide some resistance to ear worms. So, in crosses with ZC, you may not actually know if you are selecting for maysin content in the silks or just for more husks. (Maybe it doesn't matter.)

I rarely get ear worms when I grow corn in my suburban neighborhood. But, when I grew out a bunch of dent corns in a borrowed rural field a few miles away, almost every ear had worm damage -- except for the Virginia Gourdseed. VG has a higher than average husk count and seemed to be very worm resistant. I don't know if it produces maysin.

My other concern with Zapalote Chico (Oxbow Farm shared some with me too), is that it seems more like a dent corn than flour. ZC kernels actually bear some resemblance to gourdseed corn, with a large amount of floury endosperm in the center, but also a pretty thick layer of flinty endosperm around the edges -- unlike a true flour corn. I wonder how difficult it will be to select that little bit of flinty-ness back out of your flour corn. It probably wouldn't hurt much for grinding, hominy, or ornamental purposes, but a little flint may negatively affect parching qualities. But...it might be worth it for the worm resistance.

Yes the tight husks and good tip cover are absolutely part worm resistance and before discovering ZC the only weapon in my arsenal against the worms. Well, except for corn maturing before they arrive. One paper I read spoke of trials with a corn of even higher content of maysin but less husks that suffered some damage when ZC did not. The tight husks force the worms to enter through the tip, unable to avoid the silks in the process. ZC has HUGE amounts of very tight husks. And yes it is slightly dented, but I figure I can breed that out of my new crosses.  Between OWF and CZ everything I want is there.  Both had short enough maturity to meet my preference there, with ZC actually being faster by a week or so.

Oxbow White Flour had less husks but great tip cover, husks on some ears extended well past the tip of the ear. My favorite ears had 8 or 10 rows of big, all flour kernels on long thin ears. It has Eastern North American ancestry which I think is a plus.  It has white endosperm and colorless aleurone like ZC but is already variable for pericarp including red which seems to go hand in hand with maysin. 

ZC matures fast, whether planted in April or July. It has super tight husks, produces maysin, grows uniformly about seven feet tall counting tassel. It resists or quickly recovers from lodging. , the strain I got from GRIN was selected for purple stalks and husks, it's beautiful. It makes at least two nice ears per stalk that although the plant is short the ears are three to four feet off the ground. And it grew here as well or better than any corn I'v ever grown.

The ears and plants of the two are very different but I consider that a plus. It will be easy to see differences on how they are combining even in the F1 where some have ZC mothers and some have OWF.  I'm sure there will be some bloopers, like maybe a 12 inch  OWF ear with 6 inch ZC husks but in the end they will work it all out, I'm sure of it.  ;D

I definitely going to also pursue a flint version as well.  I'll use the Bronze Beauty Oxbow gave me and I'm gonna get some of Carol's Cascade Ruby Gold. In both projects, if colors other than red show lack of worm resistance I'll just go with that. Some ears white, some red, some chinmark would suit my purposes pretty good.



 



Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-12-02, 04:16:51 PM

Carol, yes i breed and select for dark purple foliage flint (Indian corn) sometimes when i have space and it is the first breeding project / crop that got me started gardening. I know about the wimpy ears you speak of as my original strain had it and each tiny ear had like 50 layers of husks,  or at least seemed like it, though I am exaggerating a bit. You could call it genetic drag. I now have over come that problem in my current dark purple foliage corn strain as some sort of genetic linkage must have been broken at some point. I am very happy about that.
"Genetic drag" is pretty close. When some allele is detrimental under our conditions, geneticists say it has a "genetic load". Homozygous red pericarp has a genetic load. When we run into such situations, we always hope the detrimental gene is actually something linked nearby on the same chromosome as the gene we care about rather than is the gene we care about itself. If so, a lucky crossing over between the two genes will separate them and give us our favorite gene without the detrimental. That is presumably what happen with your purple foliage. One of the most useful tools of the plant breeder--optimism.

Some other useful tools--stubbornness, independence, and irreverence. You need them to go do stuff people tell you won't work, that does. Or to breed stuff that is the opposite of all the trends, because the trends are sometimes wrong. And they are never the whole story. For example, I spent a good bit of effort breeding the 25 lb. squash Sweet Meat--Oregon Homestead from crossed up material. Everyone said nobody wanted big squash these days. But SM--OH is the best selling squash for my own and two other seed companies, and has been for years.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Andrew Barney on 2018-12-02, 06:02:10 PM
One of the most useful tools of the plant breeder--optimism.

Some other useful tools--stubbornness, independence, and irreverence. You need them to go do stuff people tell you won't work, that does. Or to breed stuff that is the opposite of all the trends, because the trends are sometimes wrong. And they are never the whole story. For example, I spent a good bit of effort breeding the 25 lb. squash Sweet Meat--Oregon Homestead from crossed up material. Everyone said nobody wanted big squash these days. But SM--OH is the best selling squash for my own and two other seed companies, and has been for years.

I really like this.  :)

I agree. That's my philosophy most of the time. I feel like more often then not it seems to work out great.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Oxbow Farm on 2018-12-03, 09:53:13 AM

My other concern with Zapalote Chico (Oxbow Farm shared some with me too), is that it seems more like a dent corn than flour. ZC kernels actually bear some resemblance to gourdseed corn, with a large amount of floury endosperm in the center, but also a pretty thick layer of flinty endosperm around the edges -- unlike a true flour corn. I wonder how difficult it will be to select that little bit of flinty-ness back out of your flour corn. It probably wouldn't hurt much for grinding, hominy, or ornamental purposes, but a little flint may negatively affect parching qualities. But...it might be worth it for the worm resistance.

Mike,  In my experience it is extremely easy to remove dent and flint characteristics from flour corn mixed populations by visually selecting them as long as you have pericarp that is clear enough to see the endosperm.  With opaque pericarp colors you can still eliminate visibly "denty" phenotypes but getting rid of flinty endosperm is pretty hard unless you start hand pollinating and selfing, which is upping the labor intensiveness of the breeding work quite a bit.  In my own white flour grex I have included Caribbean flints which were very flinty, as well as TuxpeŮo which is a pretty classic dent, and Coroico/Pirincinco which had flinty/denty/and floury all mixed together.  My procedure is to de-tassel for two years and then visually select for the visibly flouriest kernels in the F2 ears that have made the cut for other agronomic characters like standability, NLB resistance etc.  The F2 selected seed is added to the grex and allowed to pollinate and be selected with the mass population.

My personal approach has been to do everything I can to eliminate pericarp and aleurone colors from my populations so I can visually select endosperm character to select individual kernels within an individual ear.  It really depends on your goal for the corn though.  Pericarp and aleurone color is really useful for an ornamental corn like reed is building.  For my own uses the colors don't add anything I need, and prevent me from selecting my corn the way I want to as well as interfering with nixtamalization. 
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-12-03, 11:05:43 AM
I'm going to do what I can to keep aleurone color out from the start. It might have some value for ornamental and although it is likely the first one I'll achieve it is a secondary goal. I'm afraid aleurone color would make it hard to tell exactly what color the pericarp really is. If it was variable it would mess up the uniform appearance of an ear and I don't know for sure but it might screw up the flavor.

As far as a little mix up of flint/flour as long as it doesn't result in dent, which I hate the looks of, I don't buy that it has to be 100% one or the other in order to eat it. I'm still gonna try to keep the two distinct but I'v parched corn that had a definite flint layer and it was fine.  I don't know why the same might not be true for other uses.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-12-03, 02:06:41 PM
My favorite parching corn is sweet corn. Sugary enhanced sweet corn is even more favored.
I haven't experimented with parching sweet corn. Do all colors taste good parched? And how are you doing your parching?
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-12-06, 07:22:16 AM
Carol, the technique I developed for parching corn is to get a dry iron skillet hot enough that a drop of water bounces and rolls around before evaporating. Then I pull it off the heat and toss in the corn and shake it around till it starts puffing up and making cracking noises. It's cooled enough then that butter won't burn and I stir a little in and also maybe a little salt. I like it best plain so if I'm making it just for myself I don't add anything.

Not sure about different flavors by color, I suspect so, but my sweet corn is probably 90% white or yellow and it's just all mixed up. I disagree with Joseph though that sweet corn is best for parching, it is good and a good way to get rid of extra seed but flavor wise some flour types I'v tried blow it away on flavor.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-12-07, 07:54:52 AM
I went back and reread this paper http://www.plantcell.org/content/28/6/1297 (http://www.plantcell.org/content/28/6/1297). It's pretty lengthy and full of quite a bit of info that is a bit above my pay grade in genetics but with Carol's synopsis of it in an earlier post I think I'm narrowing in on some the parts most important to me.

For my purposes the Sm1 and Sm2 genes are bad, as they block the maysin production. But they make the salmon silks, a possible visual cue I can use to cull bad actors in my patch. I suspect though that will not be nearly enough as there are probably other things that effect silk color and the salmon color might be easily masked. Still not too much of a problem as I can just wait and see if the worms attack a particular plant or not.

On the happy side the P1 gene nullifies the Sm genes and allows maysin production. So if Sm is present but P1 is also then maysin can be produced. And the P1 allows for variations of color between red and white. This should make it fairly easy, even if other colors are not possible to have maysin producing corns variable for red and white. And I'm hoping this variability while allowing red ears to show up regularly it will avoid the issue of homozygous  red causing a genetic drag.

I would be happy with just the red and white but what about other color pericarp? I haven't seen anything indicating that any corn (lacking the Sm genes) could not produce maysin. I also haven't seen anything, unless I'm reading it wrong, indicating in corn (lacking Sm) that P1 is required for maysin.

But I also haven't found any reference to other genes for pericarp color other than P1. So is it the only one and all the different colors are the result of it being modified by something else? When I look at this lovely picture of Magic Manna https://www.flickr.com/photos/caroldeppe/15700904676 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/caroldeppe/15700904676) it's not hard to imagine that using just white and dark red paints it wold be possible to stir up most of those colors. Except maybe for tans and browns.

So I'm thinking maysin producing corn in red and white should be pretty easy, and I think other colors just might work too and if it don't the worms will let me know.

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Oxbow Farm on 2018-12-07, 08:14:28 AM
I think selecting for maysin will not be terribly difficult given the heavy worm pressure your corn is subjected to.  For myself, I was interested in Zap Chico because of the maysin genetics, but also because it is considered a premium tortilla quality corn in Oaxaca (based on my reading).  My earworm/armyworm pressure is very low, so my ability to visually select for worm resitance is compromised by not having enough natural selection pressure from the worms. 

It is good to know the genetics involved, at least the ones that have been studied, but selection of worm-free ears is probably going to take you all the way home.  In terms of the other pericarp colors, only time will tell. 
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-12-09, 06:38:06 AM
It is good to know the genetics involved, at least the ones that have been studied, but selection of worm-free ears is probably going to take you all the way home.  In terms of the other pericarp colors, only time will tell.

It's also kind of fun reading and learning about the genetics, especially that's about all one can do in December but the worms and the plants will be the deciders in the end.

Concerning maysin and  pericarp color I think I got a handle on how to go about the whole affair but now I'm wondering abut endosperm color. I planned to include just white flint types mostly to increase heterozygosity in things that don't matter to my goal, but might help in overall health and vigor of the population.

I figured It might take a while but I would just select the flinty stuff back out in successive generations. I may still do that as originally intended in my flour project using the Bronze Beauty and Cascade Cream Cap. Although I'v done about zero research on heredity flint vs flour endosperm.

Now that I'v decided to add a new flint project I'm thinking I want to go with dark yellow endosperm and try to get in on the high carotene aspect available there. I definitely don't want mixed enosperm color so I'll have to be careful growing both kinds in a small area. That shouldn't be too difficult though cause ideally, they will have nearly identical maturity time which will make it easy to just stagger planting. 

Problems to solve and questions to answer are how hard will it be to convert ZC's endosperm from white to yellow and from primarily flour to flint? Or to move maysin into something like Cascade Ruby Gold?

I see in one paper I found that endosperm color is triploid with two sets from the mother and one from the father. And if just one 1/2 of one set from either is Y instead of y, some color will show up.   I think that might be good and bad.Good in that it might be easy to move color around but bad because with all those possible combinations, it might be hard not to have it come out in multiple shades.

I'll keep researching and reading and asking but sure looking forward to putting some seeds in the dirt and finding out for sure.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Oxbow Farm on 2018-12-09, 07:26:07 PM
I am very busy selecting my flint for high carotene. There definitely is shading of color when you are working with a population that is highly variable and segregating for white,yellow,orange endosperm.  But the differences can be surprisingly subtle except for the white kernels.  That's the main reason I've been weeding all the pericarp color out of my flint population, because the tinted pericarp colors really interfere with visually selecting for orange/high carotene kernels on a mixed color ear.  If I had my project to do over again, I would have started with a plain yellow flint instead of starting with the Cascade Series and Bronze Beauty.  Both Cascade Ruby Gold and Bronze Beauty have shaded/tinted pericarp that is transparent enough to see the endosperm, but it changes the visible color, not unlike a tinted window.  It makes it really hard to tell an orange kernel from a average yellow.

This picture is not ideal, this is an F1 ear of Cargill North Temperate Cuzco X Oxbow Orange Flint Grex and the floury starch in the kernel centers is too prominent compared to a good flint, so its a little harder to see the endosperm color, but the pericarp is clear so you can see the range of segregation for yellow and white, and there are a few kernels that are clearly high carotene crosses. 
(https://vgy.me/HECrOs.jpg)
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2018-12-09, 11:45:48 PM
I am also selecting against colored pericarp in my high-carotene flint and sweet populations. And against colored aleurone, and colored sap. Even though some of these corns with a light rose pericarp are super-beautiful, I would only market them that way if they were F1 hybrids only. The pericarp interferes too much in selection.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Raymondo on 2018-12-10, 01:08:30 AM
I am also selecting against colored pericarp in my high-carotene flint and sweet populations. And against colored aleurone, and colored sap. Even though some of these corns with a light rose pericarp are super-beautiful, I would only market them that way if they were F1 hybrids only. The pericarp interferes too much in selection.

So is it the endosperm that carries the carotenes? Or do you mean that you select against colours other than white or yellow in the pericarp?
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2018-12-10, 01:30:33 AM
More specifically, it's the hard starch part of the endosperm that carries the carotenes. Hard starch is found in abundance in popcorn, sweet corn, and flint corn, a little bit in dents, and almost none in flour corn. So I don't expect a high-carotene flour corn anytime soon. 

I'm selecting against all colors except beta-carotene in the endosperm. I'm also selecting against whole cobs if they have any white kernels, cause that indicates a recessive gene for "lacking carotene".
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-12-10, 03:28:15 AM
Humm... I want the  colored pericarp and figure on anything but the very dark red I'll still be able to see different shades and select accordingly.

I also really need the maysin in all my corn. Otherwise I lose the flexibility in planting time and only be able to plant early, leaving no option to plant again if hail storm or something ruined an early planting. It's got that bad here, corn maturing much after mid July is gonna be eaten by the worms.

Starting the flint project with just dark yellow crossed to CRG might do the trick for a dark endosperm with variable pericarp by my only source of maysin has white endosperm.  ZC is the opposite of every goal in the flint but it has to be there and to keep the maysin I may have to back cross multiple times. So I guess I'm gonna be dealing with varying shades and floury endosperm in my flint corn for a long time. I might need to acquire some high carotene yellow and cross it to ZC first, then introduce the colored pericarp later. 

Critical to my color preference in both the flint and flour projects is to make sure no aleurone color sneaks in. 
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Oxbow Farm on 2018-12-10, 06:59:08 AM
Humm... I want the  colored pericarp and figure on anything but the very dark red I'll still be able to see different shades and select accordingly.


I'm not saying its impossible reed, but selecting high carotene endosperm color through colored pericarp is going to really complicate your life.  Even the lightest pink or bronze tint to the pericarp totally skews and masks the endosperm color to a huge degree. 


Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Carol Deppe on 2018-12-10, 08:40:42 PM
I'm not saying its impossible reed, but selecting high carotene endosperm color through colored pericarp is going to really complicate your life.  Even the lightest pink or bronze tint to the pericarp totally skews and masks the endosperm color to a huge degree.
I agree. However, you can get what you want by developing  a worm resistant high caroteen corn first. I'd suggest crossing your high caroteen material to Zap, backcross once, then self a generation or two to get high caroteen worm resistant material that is pure for high caroteen endosperm and has a somewhat flinty character. You will likely by then have worm resistant flour material with pericarp colors in your flour corn project. Cross the two. Then do recurrent backcrissing of that F1 to your worm resistant high caroteen flint to develop your worm resistant high caroteen flint with colored pericaros. You will lose half the genes for the unwanted white endosperm with every round of backcrossing, and it won't matter that you mostly can't see the endosperm colors at all.

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2018-12-10, 10:40:26 PM

Carol: My strategy for parching corn is the same as for popping: Add oil to pan. Turn heat up to high. Heat to smoke point. Add corn, and shake like crazy until crackling/popping stops. Get it out of the hot pan immediately.

Parched corn for me is more about entertainment than about flavor or edibility... Something interesting to do when bored, but not for a utilitarian purpose such as nutrition, nor to be dazzled with amazing flavors. I don't notice much difference in savor between different colors. In any case, I prefer variety over sameness.

Sweet corn parches more consistently soft for me. I care more about the ease of chewing than about the savoriness. One of these days, I would like to explore parching nixtamalized corn, and adding parched corn to soups.

My climate is hyper-arid. Corn seed dries to about 8% moisture. For best results popping, I need to add about 6% moisture to popcorn a day or more prior to popping. I wonder if I would enjoy parched corn more if I added moisture to it prior to cooking?

I harvested more than a cup of teosinte seed this fall. I'm intending to try parching/popping some of it.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Andrew Barney on 2018-12-10, 11:25:39 PM
Is the maysin trait linked to salmon silks? Are salmon silks liked to a particular seed color?
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-12-11, 07:17:43 AM
Is the maysin trait linked to salmon silks? Are salmon silks liked to a particular seed color?

The maysin is linked to the salmon silks but in a bad way. The salmon Sm genes block production of maysin. I don't know if Sm gene is linked to a particular paricarp color but the genes for red pericarp nullify the influence of the Sm so a corn that has both can produce maysin.

There are lots more details I don't know yet. Like assuming a corn lacks the Sm genes, can it produce maysin, with or without the red pericarp genes? I suspect it can. Although in the literature the color of glumes is also mentioned as being related and white ZC has very dark glumes, it also has hints of pink in the peicarp of some kernels. But my ZC, from GRIN is a strain that was selected for purple stalks and husks. Pictures of ZC on a Mexican web site show it with dry blond husks. So maybe, the red color is in no way related to or necessary for maysin except in the property of blocking the effect of salmon silks genes.

I'm going for now, till I find out different that if I get rid of the salmon silk genes, or better yet never include it in the first place that I can have maysin producing corn in any color I want.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2018-12-12, 09:12:03 AM
I agree. However, you can get what you want by developing  a worm resistant high caroteen corn first. I'd suggest crossing your high caroteen material to Zap, backcross once, then self a generation or two to get high caroteen worm resistant material that is pure for high caroteen endosperm and has a somewhat flinty character. You will likely by then have worm resistant flour material with pericarp colors in your flour corn project. Cross the two. Then do recurrent backcrissing of that F1 to your worm resistant high caroteen flint to develop your worm resistant high caroteen flint with colored pericaros. You will lose half the genes for the unwanted white endosperm with every round of backcrossing, and it won't matter that you mostly can't see the endosperm colors at all.

I was thinking something along those lines but, I'm a little on the impatient side and I'm not especially tied to perfection.

So to start my flint rather than vigorously pursue the  high caroteen I will just plant a patch of seven rows with the middle one being zap chico to be detasseled. The other rows to be 1/2 high caroteen colorless and the other 1/2 CRG at opposite ends.

This I hope will give me an F1 with ZC mothers, most or all of which will already show some yellow endosperm, and if I'm lucky some flinty nature.

Also a good part of it will already be carrying genes for pericarp color but since pericarp color is maternal from the colorless mother I'll be able to see the yellow endosperm even in the F1.

If I'm lucky there may be some variation to the yellow and I'll just select the darker ones to go on with. In future I will always be able to see darker shades certainly on otherwise colorless ears but also on most others except maybe dark red. From then on, since I know shade variation is not due to aleurone all I got to do is select darker kernels. I could even file through the pericarp of the very dark red ones but probably would just take my chances with them.

I figure this way I may have to put up with ears with varying shades of color but it will gradually go away over generations and I won't have to start over selecting for flint as I would if I brought in color later on form the flour side of the project.

I'v never grown it but CRG sounds like the a perfect fit for the project as is . 85 dtm, the same as the Manna flour corns. I have grown MM and it flowers a week to ten days before ZC, so if CGR is in line with that it's also perfect for maintaining the very important, short season aspect of my project. Long ears, good husk coverage, only thing it's missing is maysin, but I'll fix that.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2018-12-12, 12:47:13 PM

Reed: I find that there is a lot of power in population dynamics... If I have a population in which the high carotene trait is widely distributed, it will tend to remain highly distributed in the population unless it is eliminated through active or inadvertent selection. It's not an easy thing to lose a trait from a population if 90% of the plants in the population carry the trait.

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Olaf Nurlif on 2019-02-26, 04:46:49 PM
I grow corn that is far removed from typical.

I see kernels sometimes that  are almost completely purple, inside and out. I save kernels from time to time, but haven't done much breeding with them.

I imported genetics from South America which produce orange (beta-carotene) hard starch instead of yellow (zeaxanthin).

The attached photos show kernels broken open to expose the insides. The high carotene corn pops up yellow. I wonder if the high anthocyanin corns would pop purple?

That's very interesting. I never read about or saw any purple flint endosperm.
Have you tried scraping off the aleurone layer to see if the anthos are really in the endosperm?

Do you know where the germplasm came from? Kculli?!



Purple Polenta, mhhh... :)
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Steve1 on 2019-02-28, 02:55:37 AM
Mike,  In my experience it is extremely easy to remove dent and flint characteristics from flour corn mixed populations by visually selecting them as long as you have pericarp that is clear enough to see the endosperm.  With opaque pericarp colors you can still eliminate visibly "denty" phenotypes but getting rid of flinty endosperm is pretty hard unless you start hand pollinating and selfing, which is upping the labor intensiveness of the breeding work quite a bit.  In my own white flour grex I have included Caribbean flints which were very flinty, as well as TuxpeŮo which is a pretty classic dent, and Coroico/Pirincinco which had flinty/denty/and floury all mixed together.  My procedure is to de-tassel for two years and then visually select for the visibly flouriest kernels in the F2 ears that have made the cut for other agronomic characters like standability, NLB resistance etc.  The F2 selected seed is added to the grex and allowed to pollinate and be selected with the mass population.


My personal approach has been to do everything I can to eliminate pericarp and aleurone colors from my populations so I can visually select endosperm character to select individual kernels within an individual ear.  It really depends on your goal for the corn though.  Pericarp and aleurone color is really useful for an ornamental corn like reed is building.  For my own uses the colors don't add anything I need, and prevent me from selecting my corn the way I want to as well as interfering with nixtamalization.


Just wondering has anyone used salt/water mixes for seperating flint and flour corns? I came across a paper a while ago (purple polenta maybe?) that demonstrated a linear relationship between kernal density and flint flour type - which seems obvious enough. Flints sank and flours floated in a given concentration of salt solution. Would be quick and dirty, be independant of pericarp/aluerone colour and perhaps kill two birds with one stone. Could also allow you to exclude extreme flints if that was your goal.

Any thoughts appreciated as in Australia we have only a few flints and a couple of projects I'm gearing up to do are going to have to include flour corns.
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2019-02-28, 09:51:19 AM
Just wondering has anyone used salt/water mixes for seperating flint and flour corns?

I have used sugar/water mixes for separating different kinds of sweet corn. It seems to have worked well. Sugar is more soluble in water, so I found it easier to work with.

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Steve1 on 2019-03-01, 04:14:00 AM
I have used sugar/water mixes for separating different kinds of sweet corn. It seems to have worked well. Sugar is more soluble in water, so I found it easier to work with.

Hadn't considered sugar! What genes were you differentiating? se and su?
Here is one of the papers relating to this.

https://pubag.nal.usda.gov/download/24959/PDF

 

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-04-29, 09:01:45 AM
Almost time to get some seeds in the ground, maybe a little later than I might have liked due to lots of rain but soon! I think finally, I'v decided on how to proceed. I went back and reread Carol's books and posts on HG as well as Tim's from Oxbow Farm. He also has some great really great YouTube videos about his corn projects. I'll be building my corns largely not just on their teachings but with their seeds and some of Joseph's too, HUGE head start. I would have figured it all out on my own of course,  :D in maybe about a hundred years.

I'll be developing a flint and flour corn simultaneously. My gardens are about 200 feet apart so not too worried about crossing and I'll use timing as well, once of course, I see when each one flowers, I haven't grown them all yet. My Zapalote Chico will be incorporated into both to bring in the maysin production to fight the fall worms so lots of work to do there but critical to my goals. I won't rehash my obsession with ZC and all it's great attributes. That is one of the major differences between my projects and theirs.

I want both of my corns to be variable for pericarp color but I'm looking for yellow/orange endosperm in the flint and white in the flour. In the flint I'll primarily be using Oxbow Farm's yellow flint grex  and Carol's Cascade Ruby Gold crossed on to ZC as the mother. I figure in the first cross I'll easily see any difference in the shade of yellow on the ZC mothers and use them accordingly when comes time for back crossing, once I figure out how to do that. I might get lazy and just de-hybridize what ever results selecting for flint, pericarp color color intensity and of course worm resistance. The OYF and CRG paternal plants will just be allowed to cross between themselves.
Hoped for result PATCH 1: [ZC x (OYF & CRG)] hybrid and [OYF x CRG] blended hybrid

I have a head start on my flour project with last year's seed from Oxbow White Flour and ZC and their crosses. And I was lucky enough to find some colored pericarp  still lurking around in the OWF. I'll be using those crossed seeds along with Carol's Magic Manna and more OWF as pollen source for more ZC. Although I doubt I'll be able to recognize them some of these resulting seeds will be 3/4 ZC but carrying some colored pericarp.
Hoped for result PATCH 2: [ZC x (white flour, color pericarp blend) grex? and (white flour, color pericarp grex?)


Now for the tricky part. I have lots of diversity collected from my previous flour corn projects that I refuse to discard.  This includes Joseph's Neandercorn and Harmony Grain Corn as well as several other western four corns all mixed up and selected for short season, lodging resistance, good tip cover and so on.  It also includes Painted Mountain, Magic Manna and Cascade Cream Cap all crossed to an extremely diverse collection of sweet corns. Some of those sweet corns include modern, highly disease resistant hybrids. And I have Bronze Beauty and pure Cascade cream Cap flints. So, I'm thinking I'll use this whole mess as mother plants in a patch of pure ZC.

I'm actually a little conflicted on this last one though. I would kind of like to use CZ as mother here too, it would still give the ZC cross but there is considerable danger of colored aleuron in that mix I don't want too much of that blowing around. Also if I used ZC as father I don't have to grow still a fourth patch to get some pure ZC for future use. Everything I'm using has relatively short maturity so plenty of options on staggered planting so I guess I still have plenty of options.


Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: esoteric_agriculture on 2019-04-30, 04:10:44 PM
Thrilled to read about you pursuing this corn project, Mr. Reed. Iíve thought for years about incorporating Zapalote Chico into some of my corn projects, but havenít gotten seed. I grew out Bronze Beauty Flint myself in 2017, and have some exciting crosses of it made as well as some selected pure Bronze Beauty to plant shortly.  Thatís an interesting variety with some real potential the more Iíve thought about how I move forward with my own projects. Good luck and keep us posted!
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-05-01, 07:36:51 AM
Thrilled to read about you pursuing this corn project, Mr. Reed. I’ve thought for years about incorporating Zapalote Chico into some of my corn projects, but haven’t gotten seed. I grew out Bronze Beauty Flint myself in 2017, and have some exciting crosses of it made as well as some selected pure Bronze Beauty to plant shortly.  That’s an interesting variety with some real potential the more I’ve thought about how I move forward with my own projects. Good luck and keep us posted!

I'm looking forward to seeing how the Bronze Beauty does here. It and some others will be in their first year in my garden so don't know yet how flowering will match up. I know that Magic Manna is just a little earlier than Zapalote Chico, I suspect Cascade Cream Cap and Cascade Ruby Gold are as well. Oxbow White Flour was variable, some earlier, some with and some later than ZC but all overlapped at least a little. Zapalote Chico can be a little variable on the same plant, later ears on the main stalk and small tassels on a few tillers. It doesn't make a lot of tillers but it might make more if grown on wider spacing. I don't mind tillers, assuming they are capable of making more ears. 

ZC has some drawbacks, it's a little bit dented, the ears are small only about 6 inches tops and has more rows of kernels than I like. Still I love it, the dark purple shucks are beautiful, it grows great in my garden, resists lodging, tolerates dry spells, it's plenty short season enough for my preference and last but not least of course is the worm resistance. I'm really anxious to see how the traits combine with the other corns in the patches. 

I'll be growing a patch of pure ZC too so if you decide you want some seeds later, let me know.

Since it will still be a few more days till I plant the main patches I'v added another small patch to my list. I'm staring a few plants in pots in the cold frame to transplant. It's a mix of (OWF x ZC), (ZC x OWF) and ((PM x sweet) x (ZC  & OWF)). Will just be about 50 plants but if it works out it will give F3 seeds to plant later and see if I get any interesting colored ears carrying the worm resistance. 
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-05-07, 02:59:56 AM
Wet weather slowed me down but my flint corn project got started yesterday with a small patch of Oxbow Yellow/Orange Flint and Zapalote Chico. Cascade Ruby Gold I'm pretty sure is a little earlier flowering so I'll plant it in about a week.

This is the first of two, maybe three small flint patches for this year. If I get simultaneous flowering of all three I'll detassel the ZC and be very happy.  If not I will plant a second patch as soon as I know the actual flowering time of each.  Another later patch also dependent on knowing how they match up is the same cross but in the other direction ZC as father, flints as mothers.

I'm doing this as a blend rather than making hybrids and if it works from then on I can just plant and select, no more worrying about timing or detasseling.

Flour will be done similarly but it is delayed as the back garden isn't ready yet but should be in later in the week if weather cooperates.   
Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-05-20, 01:02:42 PM
First planting of my flint project is up strong. Zapalote Chico and Oxbow Yellow Flint were planted together four short rows of OYF on both sides of a row of ZC, in hopes I get lucky and they flower together. Another row of ZC is sandwiched between four rows of Cascade Ruby Gold on both sides. CRG, I suspect is shorter season so I waited till I had spouts of ZC to plant it. CRG shot up almost immediately though so who knows how it will all turn out.

Second planting was just done a couple days ago, it is the opposite with 20 rows of ZC inter-spaced with single rows of OYF and Bronze Beauty. Again CRG will be planted a little later. I added in the BB for some extra diversity but especially since it has white endosperm it will of course be de-tasseled and it was not included as a pollen donor in the other patch.

I messed up and planted ALL my pure ZC I got from GRIN but that's ok I guess as I have lots of my own from last year. It has some level of crossing with last years flour corns but a lot of it is pure so not too big a mishap.

Flour patch is also planted but it is much more complicated and diverse, so much so I will not really even attempt to track it, I'll just select.

One great thing I think, among many, about flint and flour corn breeding, as opposed to sweet corn is in a small patch like mine I get to keep, examine and select from ALL the plants not just those that didn't get eaten.

Title: Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-06-21, 02:54:36 AM
My flint corn project is coming along but slowly. After starting out pretty good cool, cloudy, wet weather has slowed it down. Still I'm hopeful of getting my initial crosses for big grow out next year. I'v got two small patches, planted pretty crowded but corn usually grows pretty good for me that way.

First patch of Zapalote Chico and Oxbow Farms Yellow flint grex was planted and then since I think it is probably faster maturing, Cascade ruby Gold was added after they sprouted.  Looking here for just 10 or so nice ears of ZC mothers pollinated by the others.

Second patch was planted later in the opposite configuration, looking here for the same crosses but reversed with ZC providing the pollen. A row of Bronze Beauty (white endosperm) flint is also included to be  pollinated by the ZC. It is the only one I'll have to detassel next year to bring it in line with the other yellow.

ZC of course is also white and somewhat dent but I'll work that out later.

I also have a couple others I'll try to pollinate with ZC. I found three kernels of Cascade Cream Cap that had been pollinated by a yellow sweet corn and had yellow endosperm so I planted them and they are doing well but not especially remarkable looking plants. I also found several kernels of a descendant of Painted Mountain, also crossed to yellow sweet corns a few seasons ago. These kernels appeared very flinty and had a nice chinmark pericarp, so I planted a few of them. They are interesting looking plants with red stalks. I hope to pollinate these few plants with the ZC as well but they are a little behind so I'll see how it comes out.

A third larger patch was planted still later in the back garden. It has my mixed up ZC and Oxbow White Flour mix up from last year as well as some others such as Neandercorn and various flour corns previously crossed to sweets. This patch is partly for the white flour/variable pericarp project but also to preserve a lot of my other prior work of collecting massive diversity.
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-06-30, 03:55:23 AM
In my flint patch Cascade Ruby Gold is first to release pollen. One plant of OxBow Yellow Flint will probably do so today. A couple Zapalote Chico have tassels just becoming visible. There are no silks yet on any plants. CRG is apparently very early, I didn't pay attention to record planting dates but OYF and ZC were four inches tall when CRG was planted.

I want ZC for the mothers in this patch and looks like it and OYF will match up pretty good also not all of the CRG is flowering so I hope the later of it will too. Just days now till I know for sure. Few plants of any kind are over five feet tall but I'm sure that is due partly to overcrowding but mostly the freakish weather. The first 21 days of June were cloudy, wet and cool with a couple nights in the high 40s F and no days over 80 F.

I also lost a few plants to some type of animal attack. They chewed the stalks themselves, I think after the not yet emerged tassels. Never seen that before, it must have been chipmunks as it was small enough to climb the stalk without knocking it over but big enough to chomp through it. 

I think weather has also affected maturity, with plants just now flowering I doubt I'll be able to have two generations this season but if I can get viable seed by first of August I might still give it a try. Just more reasons to focus on fast maturity I think which makes me want to keep genetics of these first blooming plants. I didn't look up the old posts about saving pollen, I just dried some rice, collected pollen and put it in the fridge. It only has to survive a few days so I'll hope for the best. I got it from six CGR plants and tagged each one. Today I imagine there will be a few more and at least one OYF to go with it.  If it works it will also help insure many fathers to each ear of the ZC mothers.

The second patch of the same but opposite crosses was planted later but has almost caught up in height. No way those other tiny plantings are gonna catch up in time to join in, O'well I'll be more than happy if the primary patches work out.
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-07-04, 02:42:40 PM
Well phooey, silks on two of the five Oxbow Flint plants showing silks so far are reddish/pink in color. Salmon silks? I think maybe so and to be on the safe side I'v culled them. All of the CRG have light yellow/white silks so they are fine. I'v taped little paper tents to the stalks of the OBF covering the ears with light silks, ZC in the second patch is close to tassel and I'll use it to pollinate them. ZC in the first patch has been detasseled and should silk very soon.

I started collecting and freezing pollen on 6/29 and have each day's collection in separate containers. That collected on the first day is pure CGR but between then and today some pollen from the salmon silk plants is probably included. I guess I should discard it. What I collected today is a mix of CGR and the white silk OBF plants.

Assuming my technique of storing pollen works I should have plenty to pollinate the ZC mothers, fingers crossed. If not it will be close still having pollen from CRG. Several OBF have not tasseled and they will likely time just right but now that I know there is some salmon silk in there it's a little worrisome. On the plus side there is very little time difference in between tassel and silk on the OBF, one plant in fact silked first.  So even if some salmon silk genes slip in I should be able to cull them out and confine their influence to just the very bottom kernels.
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-07-10, 06:38:47 AM
I'll tell ya what, the freakish weather has really messed up my corn. The ZC plants that I detasseled week ago or more are just ow starting to silk. Don't know if my frozen pollen is viable or not but guess I'll find out. It's actually OK if it isn't cause later planted patches caught up  and are tasseling now. I culled out the salmon silk plants form the ObYF but some of that pollen is in the frozen stuff. Also found a couple CRG with the salmon silks. I'm not gonna worry over it too much, just cull it back out later if necessary. Besides there is that possibility of colored pericarp genes that can override it effects.

Over all I'm also starting to think a person shouldn't be too dedicated to a particular outcome, that it grows at all is the most important thing, worry about the rest later.

On an up note, I had some hard flint kernels with dark yellow endosperm and cool chinmark pattern saved from Joseph's Harmony mix. I planted them kinda late on a whim but they have caught up and are tasseling in line with silks on the ZC. Only got six plants but they are beautiful with solid dark red stalks similar to the ZC and the tassels have a nice purple color also similar to the ZC. I'm gonna mix them in too!
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-07-29, 06:37:02 AM
My flint project is drying down on the stalks right now. Seeds are already viable I'm sure but would like them to fully dry in place if possible. Double strand electric fence seems to be working to keep the squirrels at bay, they are the actual culprits rather than coons that do the most damage to corn. Coons of course would be easily as bad except they are much easier to eliminate.

Despite the wierdness of weather looks like I'll have about ten nice ears of ZC, detasseled and pollinated with OxBow yellow flint, CRG and the chinmark flint. Also about ten OYF pollinated by ZC and four of the chinmark pollinated by ZC and maybe five of Bronze Beauty. All Bronze Beauty was detasseled.

Oxbow yellow flint and ZC tolerated the odd weather very well, Bronze Beauty did pretty good and CGR was terrible. Anyway, assuming I can hold off the squirrel attacks I'm pretty happy how it came out.

All was lost of the flour corn patch in the back garden to deer, squirrels, coons and neglect but I have plenty of back up seed. I'm investing in another solar electric fence for the back garden and will soon plant it full of old bush bean seeds, turnips and radishes to prep it to be the primary corn patch next year.
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-07-31, 05:59:18 AM
WOW, I plucked off a secondary ear from the late planted Zap Chico to see how drying was progressing. Silks were brown and dry to the touch but still a little damp and yellow under the shucks. Kernels looked fully matured but not drying yet, they were firm enough to pick one off without destroying it but still juicy when squashed. I tasted it and that's the WOW part. 

May be that by chance I picked it at exactly the time and a few minutes later it wouldn't have been so good but it was, by, the most delicious sweet corn I ever tasted.  Base of the inside shucks were crisp and full of juice and tasted just as good as the kernels. 
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-08-07, 07:43:41 AM
I'v gone ahead and harvested the rest of my corn except for the four plants form one of Joseph's mixes that had the chinmark pericarp. They weren't planted till mid June or so but still I was able to pollinate them with some ZC pollen.

I'll post some pictures later but for now I'll just describe some of the more interesting ears. Not a single entirely yellow ear of ZC showed up even though it was pollinated by (mostly) yellow types, some Bronze Beauty pollen being the exception. One ear of CRG pollinated by by ZC is dramatically bi-colored yellow and white. Does CRG have some white lurking around? How else could bright white show up, white being recessive?

There is a little variation in color on individual ears but most Oxbow yellow flint is fairly uniform on a particular ear. Is there something cytoplasmic going on there? Seems like I read that genetically, carotene and yellow endosperm don't have anything to do with each other and the orange color isn't from the endosperm. So if carotene is the goal might it be possible or even preferable to try to isolate it in white rather than yellow? Although I don't know how a person could tell the difference in what exactly was making the color, except that maybe carotene is orange, not yellow.

I love the Bronze Beauty ears. The plants were not as vigorous as CZ or OYF but ears are long with good tip cover and 8 rows of big shiny kernels. All of them were pollinated by ZC. CRG plants were even less vigorous but also 8 rows of big kernels. Long narrow cobs, 8 or 10 rows of big kernels is what I hope for eventually. I got enough this year I think I can go ahead and eliminate anything with more than 12 rows.

I planted mostly darker pericarp kernels of the BB and CRG but I didn't get any very dark ones back. Mostly lighter tans and cream colors. O'well I'm sure the darker genes are in there and should show up later.

I not sure how attached to the carotene I really am, there is plenty of it in squash, sweet potatoes, carrots so don't know that it's really needed in corn anyway and I think I like the pericarp colors over white better. I'll decide that later, doubt it would be too much trouble selecting for white later with it being recessive. Of course I won't be able to see it easily under very dark pericarp but still under bright light bi or multi colors it should show up. Or I can file though and pick them out.

I was in hopes I might find some flinty looking kernels on the crossed ZC but not the case. Even the yellow kernels which I know to be fathered by flint still look otherwise just like the normal ZC, mostly floury and a little dented. O'well I'm confident they will show up eventually. This is my first time growing flint and appearance wise I really like it better than flour. It also seems to mature faster and dry down better.

I harvested enough mostly self pollinated OBF that I think I might be able to experiment with grinding it up and begin the process of learning to make corn bread, I'm real excited about that.

Today is August 8 and all of the corn, some planted May 15 and some May 25 is plenty dry to remove kernels, no artificial drying needed.  I'm pretty sure I had viable seed on both patches in 60 days. So I'm thinking of planting maybe fifty or so kernels today. In all likelihood I'll have those 60 days before frost and very possibly 75 days maybe more.  A couple years ago it stayed in the high 80s F into November. As long as pollination is over I could even cut the tops off the plants and cover them with blankets or something if necessary. Heck, I'm not above digging a few select plants up and bringing them inside or at least putting them in the woman's green house.




Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Jerryrva on 2019-08-25, 11:22:15 AM
Here's a good paper on inheritance of maysin which appears to easy. Also includes mention of a popcorn with high maysin. PI 340586.
Access full text with a university login and search for doc. through their journal search.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1046/j.1439-0523.2001.00610.x
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: chardy on 2019-09-26, 01:11:25 PM
Joseph said: "I'm also selecting against whole cobs if they have any white kernels, cause that indicates a recessive gene for "lacking carotene"."

What about clear (non-pigmented) kernels?
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-09-27, 05:39:14 AM
Joseph said: "I'm also selecting against whole cobs if they have any white kernels, cause that indicates a recessive gene for "lacking carotene"."

What about clear (non-pigmented) kernels?

I not sure what you mean by (non-pigmented). Something I've figured out that others probably knew is that the orange color of carotene and the yellow color of yellow endosperm have nothing to do with each other. Or at least I think that is the case. I'll post some pictures later of ears that I think demonstrate that.

I theorize that it actually might be easier to isolate carotene in white endosperm but not sure how to go about it. If carotene is recessive as Joseph says then any ear with white kernels would I guess be carrying the "lacking carotene" gene. But I wonder for example since white endosperm is also recessive might an orange kernel showing up a on white ear be good place to start isolating carotene separated from yellow, there by eliminating the confusion between yellow and orange?

Of course if the ear is otherwise white then even the orange ones would have possibility of yielding non orange in the next generation but assuming an occasional orange kernel is actually even possible on a white ear then growing them out might eventually yield an all orange ear. Once that happened it would be locked from them on. But heck if I really know???

 
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2019-09-27, 11:37:51 PM
White kernels are the most recessive of all. So if a cob has a white kernel on it, then at least half of the kernels on the cob carry a (potentially hidden) gene for white kernels. So when I cull cobs with white kernels in the high-carotene project, I'm culling for a trait that I know is in the seeds, even if I can't see it in every seed that has it.

Regarding biochemistry: Zeaxanthin (the color of yellow endosperm) is made by the plant from beta-carotene (orange colored endosperm). Therefore, I'd expect many plants to contain a mixture of both chemicals. And endosperm is triploid, so  possible combinations might be:
Orange-Orange-Orange, Orange-Orange-Yellow, Orange-Orange-White, Orange-Yellow-Yellow, Yellow-Yellow-Yellow,  Orange-White-White,  Yellow-white-white, Orange-White-Yellow, and White-White-White. If I can eliminate white, it simplifies the selection process. Hmm. Looks like I should also be culling cobs that look like they have Zeaxanthin in the endosperm.

Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-09-28, 06:17:59 AM
Just kinda rambling here as I'm pretty sure I don't really know what I'm talking about but back to my perhaps erroneous notion that orange color (carotene) and yellow color (zeaxanthin) are not the same thing and perhaps?? not related or dependent on one another. Orange as you said being recessive and yellow being dominate seems to support that. So... 

White kernels are the most recessive of all. So if a cob has a white kernel on it, then at least half of the kernels on the cob carry a (potentially hidden) gene for white kernels. So when I cull cobs with white kernels in the high-carotene project, I'm culling for a trait that I know is in the seeds, even if I can't see it in every seed that has it.

When you cull recessive white you are favoring dominate yellow. But, with also orange being recessive you may be culling it as well. And it becomes difficult to know for sure in following generations because the orange might be obscured in the yellow.  The term "High-Carotene" makes me think that because it implies there might also be low-carotene which makes me thing it might express in degrees?

..... Hmm. Looks like I should also be culling cobs that look like they have Zeaxanthin in the endosperm.

If I'm not oversimplifying, isn't that the same thing? Isolating recessive orange against recessive white endosperm? Instead of squinting for it bright sunshine against yellow?

(IF) a recessive carotene orange kernel did show up on an otherwise recessive white ear(again if that's possible)
(AND IF) you are reasonably confident that kernel was not contaminated by dominate zeaxanthin yellow
(THEN) Poof! there ya go, orange corn.

Here is an ear of Oxbow carotene pollinated by white Zapalote Chico some kernels look definitely orange to me rather than yellow but I know the endosperm is also otherwise yellow. It's what go me thinking, wouldn't orange be easier to see if the yellow wasn't there at all?
Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: chardy on 2019-09-28, 03:58:17 PM
Joseph said: "I'm also selecting against whole cobs if they have any white kernels, cause that indicates a recessive gene for "lacking carotene"."

What about clear (non-pigmented) kernels?

I not sure what you mean by (non-pigmented).

One variety we are working with has a number of flint-type kernels that are translucent or clear (absent color) down to the germ. Would this trait be considered synonymous with "white" corn? What desirable traits might these kernels yield?

Title: Re: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
Post by: reed on 2019-11-23, 02:50:52 AM
I finally got around to shelling off my corn seed for next year. I messed up and lost my pictures but I'm pretty pleased with my crop. It isn't huge but I have plenty of the desired F1s to continue  next year. As usual because of danger of critters I harvested earlier than I would ideally like. Seeds are all viable but I think for maximum yield and seed longevity it's really better if it can dry completely on the stalk.

Actually though I think what I ended up with is a good selection criteria. Since I'm after fast maturity and dry down I picked out those ears that had more fully sized kernels over those that didn't. More variation there than one might expect within each variety.

Cascade Ruby Gold was most mature and it was fastest to bloom, almost missing the opportunity for pollination from the others. Even though I planted it a week or so later. I ended up with just five ears of it, pollinated by the Zapalote Chico. Got nice selection of pericarp color in them which is a goal. Endosperm color is varied, I didn't expect that but I'm fine with it.

I have three very nice ears of the chinmark flint also pollinated by ZC. They all came out chinmark and with mostly white endosperm. A few kernels have some aleurone color. I'll just have to select that out in coming seasons a I very much like this corn. It came out very flinty despite the floury pollen parent. I love the purple stalks and deep purple cobs. Mated with the purple husks and stalks of ZC this trait should carry well into future generations. Two ears are 8 row and I like that.

Bronze Beauty stood out beautifully and I selected six ears of it. They also were pollinated by the ZC and also came out more flinty. Each of the six is a different pericarp color. Plants had nice strong stalks and excellent tip cover. Secondary ears formed well in crowded and drought conditions. Two of these ears are also 8 row.

There is a lot of variation in the Oxbow Farm yellow flint, and I picked nine ears of it again pollinated by the ZC.

On the crossed ZC itself I chose just five ears. It had way more variation in maturity than expected but I think these five are fine for the project since they were the five most mature. These were detasseled and crossed to all the flints. ZC pollen for the other crosses came from a different isolated patch so genetics of about 100 other ZC plants are in the mix.

So all of those ears are F1 crosses of the flints and the ZC. Varied pericarp color is well represented. More or less flinty endopserm is present so I can just pick out flinty kernels to plant and keep that up for a few seasons. Strong stalks, multiple ears per and 8 to 12 rows is well represented.

I think next year I can drop the hassle of detasseling and hand pollinating and just let it do what what it wants. It's mixed up enough that I can be pretty selective for awhile, picking just a few ears per season to concentrate the traits.

I want to make sure to keep the maternal line of the ZC in case there is anything cytoplasmic about the maysin production until the worms show me what to cull and keep regarding that.

I have option now too, to go either with white or yellow endosperm, or maybe pursue two different lines. Keep a white endosperm variety just cause I like the look of it better and a high carotene line too.

And the weather freaked me out this year. I don't what to grow several distinctly different types of corn but hate to just discard the massive collection of sweet and flour types I collected last few years. Maybe grow a selection of it in another patch along with some of the flint just to preserve it for now? Will have to think on that some.