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Cereal Chem. 73 (6):775-778  |  VIEW ARTICLE

Nonwheat Grains and Products

Effect of Near-Infrared Transmission-Based Selection on Maize Hardness and the Composition of Zeins (1).

Guillermo H. Eyherabide (2,3), Jose L. Robutti (2), and Francisco S. Borrás (2). (1) This work was supported by Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria (INTA), Project 80-017. (2) Maize breeder and cereal chemists, respectively, INTA Estación Experimental Agropecuaria Pergamino. CC31, 2700 Pergamino, BA, Argentina. (3) Corresponding author. E-mail: <eyherabi@permaiz.inta.gov.ar> Accepted August 10, 1996. Copyright 1996 by the American Association of Cereal Chemists, Inc. 

Near-infrared reflection (NIR) spectroscopy may be used to estimate cereal endosperm hardness, but it requires grinding samples. Near-infrared transmission (NIT) spectroscopy, however, does not require grinding, and may be used advantageously to select for kernel hardness during breeding. A divergent-selection experiment for endosperm hardness was conducted in a flint breeding population using NIT spectroscopy. Kernel samples from 200 half sib families were analyzed to determine the wavelength of maximum absorbance between 620 nm and 680 nm (NIT1H), and absorbance at 860 nm (NIT2H). Divergent selection for hardness based on NIT1H and NIT2H divided the original population into two statistically different groups for each selected trait. Only divergent selection for NIT2H, however, effectively divided the original population into two groups regarding near-infrared reflection hardness (NIRH). Differences between groups in content of peak 2 (27 kDa gamma-zein) were detected by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. Results indicated the feasibility of selection for endosperm hardness by determining NIT absorbance at 860 nm, and also emphasized the involvement of specific zein proteins in maize endosperm hardness.

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