Development of micronutrient enriched staple foods is an important breeding goal in view of the extensive problem of ‘hidden hunger’ caused by micronutrient malnutrition. In the present study, kernel iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) concentrations were evaluated in a set of 31 diverse maize inbred lines in three trials at two locations – Delhi (Kharif 2007 and 2008) and Hyderabad (Rabi 2007–08). The ranges of kernel Fe and Zn concentrations were 13.95–39.31 mg/kg and 21.85–40.91 mg/kg, respectively, across the three environments. Pooled analysis revealed significant genotype × environment (G × E) interaction in the expression of both the micronutrient traits, although kernel Fe was found to be more sensitive to G × E as compared to kernel Zn. Seven inbred lines, viz., BAJIM-06-03, DQPM-6, CM212, BAJIM-06-12, DQPM-7, DQPM-2 and CM129, were found to be the most stable and promising inbred lines for kernel Zn concentration, while for kernel Fe concentration, no promising and stable genotypes could be identified. Analysis of molecular diversity in 24 selected inbred lines with phenotypic contrast for the two kernel micronutrient traits, using 50 SSR markers covering the maize genome, revealed high levels of polymorphisms (214 SSR alleles; mean PIC value = 0.62). The phenotypically contrasting and genetically diverse maize inbred lines identified in this study could be potentially utilized in further studies on QTL analysis of kernel micronutrient traits in maize, and the stable and most promising kernel micronutrient-rich maize genotypes provide a good foundation for developing micronutrient-enriched maize varieties suitable for the Indian context.
Chakraborti, M.; Prasanna, B.M.; Hossain, F.; Mazumdar, S.; Singh, A.M.; Guleria, S.; Gupta, H.S. Identification of kernel iron- and zinc-rich maize inbreds and analysis of genetic diversity using microsatellite markers. Journal of Plant Biochemistry and Biotechnology (2011) 20 (2) 224-233. [DOI: 10.1007/s13562-011-0050-9]