Author Topic: Flint/Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley  (Read 3324 times)

Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #30 on: 2018-12-02, 01:59:32 PM »
My favorite parching corn is sweet corn. Sugary enhanced sweet corn is even more favored.

reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #31 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.



 




Carol Deppe

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #32 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.
« Last Edit: 2018-12-02, 04:21:04 PM by Carol Deppe »

Andrew Barney

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #33 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.

Oxbow Farm

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #34 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 Tuxpe˝o 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. 

reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #35 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.
« Last Edit: 2018-12-03, 11:07:27 AM by reed »

Carol Deppe

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #36 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?

reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #37 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.

reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #38 on: 2018-12-07, 07:54:52 AM »
I went back and reread this paper 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 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.

« Last Edit: 2018-12-07, 12:34:02 PM by reed »

Oxbow Farm

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #39 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. 

reed

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #40 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.

Oxbow Farm

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #41 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. 

Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #42 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.

Raymondo

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #43 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?
Ray
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Joseph Lofthouse

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Re: Flour/Ornamental Corn for Central Ohio River Valley
« Reply #44 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".
« Last Edit: 2018-12-10, 09:21:30 AM by Joseph Lofthouse »