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Characterisation of nutritional quality traits of a chickpea (Cicer arietinum) germplasm collection exploited in chickpea breeding in Europe

Serrano, Carmo, Carbas, Bruna, Castanho, Ana, Soares, Andreia, Patto, Maria Carlota Vaz, Brites, Carla
Crop & pasture science 2017 v.68 no.11 pp. 1031-1040
Cicer arietinum, alpha-tocopherol, breeding, breeding programs, chickpeas, color, cotyledons, delta-tocopherol, flour, germplasm, germplasm conservation, lutein, nutrient content, nutritive value, principal component analysis, resistant starch, seed coat, seed size, zeaxanthin, Europe
Seed and flour characteristics of 79 chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) accessions from a representative collection of the germplasm used by European breeders were evaluated. The accessions were grouped according to desi or kabuli types and by different seed traits (size, shape, colour, surface). The variation in nutritional composition was assessed by principal component analysis (PCA) of data from 13 quality parameters. The first PCA component discriminated the accessions by basic composition (protein, fibre, fat) plus δ-tocopherol, and the second by carotenoid composition (zeaxanthin). Whereas desi types showed higher protein and fibre, kabuli accessions exhibited higher fat contents. The majority of accessions analysed showed very low (<1%) resistant starch content. Higher carotenoid concentration was obtained in desi-type accessions and it was related to specific seed traits: small seed size, angular shape and black colour. Besides discrimination between desi and kabuli groups, the detected associations of classes of shape, size and colour seed traits can be explored in chickpea-quality breeding programs. Several accessions showed higher concentrations of α-tocopherol (>200μgg-1). LEGCA728, with green colouring in the seed coat and cotyledons, showed exceptional lutein concentration (28.32μgg-1). We conclude that the chickpea germplasm in use by European breeders presents high potential for improvement of nutritional and health-benefit components not yet routinely implemented in the breeding of this important pulse crop.