Author Topic: Selecting orange endosperm flint corn.  (Read 115 times)

Mike Jennings

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Selecting orange endosperm flint corn.
« on: 2019-01-06, 03:31:56 PM »
Last summer I did a small trial of several orange flint corns. I planted small patches of Oxbow Farm Orange Flint, Lofthouse High Carotene Flint, Zdrowie, Marano, Piamonte, and Cargill N.T.Z. Cateto Sulino. I let them all cross freely, and planted the earlier Lofthouse and Oxbow varieties 2 week later to synchronize flowering.

The Cargill Cateto (generously shared with me by Oxbow Farm) turned out to be the orangest and the flintiest. Oddly enough, though, the seed I harvested of this variety ended up more orange than the seed I planted.

The original seed is on the left, what I harvested is on the right. Any ideas why this happened? I'm guessing there must be some environmental influence on the expression of carotenes in corn.

I found this Crop Science paper which discusses several genes associated with increased carotene levels. It also seems to suggest only minimal environmental influence on the expression of carotenes. But, the content of this paper is a little beyond my ability to comprehend. Anyone with actual experience selecting for high carotene have any insight?

Currently, my plan for next year is to do a seed increase on the Cargill Cateto, since it works pretty well for my long-season climate in CA. Also, there don't seem to be any commercial sources for this. I may be able to request it from the USDA, but not right at this moment with the government shut down.
« Last Edit: 2019-01-06, 03:51:30 PM by Mike Jennings »

William S.

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Re: Selecting orange endosperm flint corn.
« Reply #1 on: 2019-01-06, 04:51:25 PM »
One other thought, color might get lighter over time in storage. I've noticed year to year differences in color with my purple wheat from Eli Rugosa's heirloom grain conservancy and also perhaps some storage change.
« Last Edit: 2019-01-06, 08:18:43 PM by William S. »
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Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Selecting orange endosperm flint corn.
« Reply #2 on: 2019-01-06, 07:42:53 PM »
I have noticed that if corn cobs are exposed to sunlight while drying, that the color of the seed can intensify dramatically compared to shade dried corn.