The prevalence of vitamin A deficiency in sub-Saharan Africa necessitates effective approaches to improve provitamin A content of major staple crops. Cassava holds much promise for food security in sub-Saharan Africa, but a negative correlation between β-carotene, a provitamin A carotenoid, and dry matter content has been reported, which poses a challenge to cassava biofortification by conventional breeding. To identify suitable material for genetic transformation in tissue culture with the overall aim to increase β-carotene and maintain starch content as well as better understand carotenoid composition, root and leaf tissues from thirteen field-grown cassava landraces were analyzed for agronomic traits, carotenoid, chlorophyll, and starch content. The expression of five genes related to carotenoid biosynthesis were determined in selected landraces. Analysis revealed a weak negative correlation between starch and β-carotene content, whereas there was a strong positive correlation between root yield and many carotenoids including β-carotene. Carotenoid synthesis genes were expressed in both white and yellow cassava roots, but phytoene synthase 2 (PSY2), lycopene-ε-cyclase (LCYε), and β-carotenoid hydroxylase (CHYβ) expression were generally higher in yellow roots. This study identified lines with reasonably high content of starch and β-carotene that could be candidates for biofortification by further breeding or plant biotechnological means.
Gene Expression and Metabolite Profiling of Thirteen Nigerian Cassava Landraces to Elucidate Starch and Carotenoid Composition
Olayide, P.; Large, A.; Stridh, L.; Rabbi, I.; Baldermann, S.; Stavolone, L.; Alexandersson, E. (2020). Gene Expression and Metabolite Profiling of Thirteen Nigerian Cassava Landraces to Elucidate Starch and Carotenoid Composition. Agronomy, 10, 424.