Vitamins and minerals are often seriously lacking in human diets, especially vitamin A, iron and zinc. It is estimated that 25% of preschool age children have vitamin A deficiency; 37% and 49% of the total world population is affected by low iron and zinc intake, respectively. Impact assessment indicated that orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) can alleviate vitamin A malnutrition. Elevation of iron and zinc levels in sweetpotato can also result in an important contribution in the human diet. To support sweetpotato breeding programs, a high throughput technique was needed to simultaneously screen, in short time, several quality traits in thousands of genotypes of the sweetpotato germplasm at CIP.
NIRS calibrations, based on several hundred samples each, were developed and showed high prediction accuracy. Calibrations were applied to the screening of 1209 accessions of the sweetpotato germplasm in 2 locations: La Molina and San Ramon. Only 246 clones were considered as OFSP clones because they have more than 20mg β-carotene/100 g, DW in at least one location. The mean concentration and distribution of β- carotene, iron, zinc and protein was higher in La Molina than in San Ramon. A group of 13 clones with high β- carotene, a significant amount of iron, high dry matter and yield and a second group of 16 clones with high β- carotene a significant amount of zinc, high dry matter and yield were identified and are recommended for dissemination and evaluation in Africa.
zum Felde, T.; Burgos, G.; Espinoza, J.; Eyzaguirre, R.; Porras, E.; Gruneberg, W. Screening for &#946;-carotene, iron, zinc, starch, individual sugars andprotein in sweetpotato germplasm by Near-Infrared ReflectanceSpectroscopy (NIRS). Presented at 15th International Symposium of the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC). Roots and tubers for sustainable development and food security: Issues and strategies. November 2-6 2009. Lima, Peru. (2009) 27-33