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Increasing cocoa butter yield through genetic improvement of Theobroma cacao L.: Seed fat content variability, inheritance, and association with seed yield

Increasing cocoa butter yield through genetic improvement of Theobroma cacao L.: Seed fat content variability, inheritance, and association with seed yield

Euphytica 103(1): 115-121

Cocoa butter is the major commercial product from seeds of Theobroma cacao (cacao). However, most cacao breeding programs have only considered as selection criteria total seed yield per plant and disease resistance. Progress in cocoa butter yield might be possible if variability for fat content exists and its associations with the other production components are established. The average fat content in dry unfermented seeds for 490 accessions of the Centro de Pesquisa do Cacau germplasm collection in Ilheus, Bahia, Brazil was 53.2%, ranging from 45.4% in CC 57 to 60.3% in NA 312. Fat content averaged over series indicated that genotypes originally collected in the Upper Amazonian region had higher fat levels, while the Trinitario-Criollo and Bahian genotypes tended to have lower fat content. When considering total fat yield plant-1 an opposite trend arose with the series with low fat content having the highest total fat yield. The correlation between fat content and fat yield plant-1 was not significant, while there was a significant negative correlation between dry seed yield plant-1 and fat content. Despite the significant negative association between fat content and dry seed yield plant-1, the correlation coefficient was rather low, and genotypes could be identified with both high fat content and dry seed yield. A significant pollen effect on fat content was observed based on a complete diallel crossing scheme between three genotypes with high and three with low levels. The average fat content values in progenies were similar to the average of the parents, and the segregation range transgressed the distribution of the parents.

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Accession: 008852359

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DOI: 10.1023/a:1018327411530

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