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Germplasm diversity among four sugarcane species for sugar composition

Tai, P.Y.P., Miller, J.D.
Crop science 2002 v.42 no.3 pp. 958
Saccharum officinarum, Saccharum barberi, Saccharum sinense, genetic variation, plant genetic resources, sugarcane juice, crop quality, sucrose, fructose, chemical constituents of plants, species differences
The characterization of the World Collection of Sugarcane is needed for effective preservation and use of genetic resources. The objective of this study was to evaluate sugarcane germplasm from field plots by means of an analysis of sugar composition of four Saccharum species (32 S. officinarum L., 30 S. barberi Jesw., 27 S. robustum Brandes and Jeswiet ex Grassl, and 28 S. sinense Roxb.) plus four commercial cultivars. Stalks were cut from all clones of 1-yr-old plant cane and 11 clones from the first ratoon crop were crushed for juice analysis by conventional (Brix-pol) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods. Most juice quality measurements showed a significant interaction between clones and crop cycles. The frequency distribution of sucrose content of the plant cane for S. officinarum, S. barberi, and S. robustum showed a marked skewness toward high sucrose content. The four species, however, showed different trends based on sugar content: S. officinarum clones were distributed in the plot of low glucose and fructose contents with sucrose content extending from low to high; S. sinense clones were distributed in the plot from low sucrose and low glucose-fructose to high sucrose and high glucose-fructose; and S. barberi and S. robustum clones were distributed in the plot between the former two species. Cluster analysis also indicated the heterogeneity within and among these four species. Information on sugar composition should assist curators in separating clones in their collection and breeders in selecting superior clones for use in their breeding programs.