Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) roots spoil 2 to 3 d after harvest because of postharvest physiological deterioration (PPD), which has remained an unsolved problem. Roots from different sources of germplasm were evaluated 5, 10, 20, and 40 d after harvest and some were found to be tolerant to PPD. Three genotypes showed zero levels of PPD even 40 d after harvest. Tolerance to PPD in roots with high carotenoid levels may be explained by their antioxidant properties. Irradiation of seeds in mutagenized populations may have silenced one of the genes involved in the expression of PPD. The tolerance to PPD found in other sources cannot be properly explained. The identification of several sources of resistance (and at least two different modes of action) suggests that now there are alternatives available for solving this problem, benefiting millions of resource-limited farmers worldwide.
Crop Science (2010) 50 (4): 1333-1338 [doi: 10.2135/cropsci2009.11.0666]