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The Pacific yam (Dioscorea nummularia Lam.), an under-exploited tuber crop from Melanesia

Lebot V., Malapa R., Abraham K.. 2017. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 64 (1) : p. 217-235.

This study aims to explore the potential of Dioscorea nummularia Lam. and to gather information as a prelude to its improvement by plant breeding. After a taxonomic clarification and a review of the botanical data, its geographical areas of origin and distribution are determined. A germplasm survey conducted on nine islands of Vanuatu enabled the collection of 110 accessions corresponding to 84 cultivars. These were grouped into: (1) wild forms under domestication, (2) annual types, (3) perennial-type cultivars of D. nummularia and (4) natural interspecific hybrids with D. alata L. Within each group, remarkable morphological variation exists for stem spininess, leaf shape, emerging leaf colour, tuber shape and tuber flesh colour. Selected accessions examined for ploidy had chromosome numbers ranging from 2n = 3x = 60 to 2n = 6x = 120. Chloroplast counts conducted on stomatal guard cells confirmed the variation in ploidy levels. Eight different male cultivars were studied for pollen fertility, but <5% of the pollen grains appeared to be fertile when stained with acetocarmine. However, profuse flowering and synchrony favour pollination and result in fruit set. All accessions are resistant to anthracnose. Viruses were detected but are morphologically not discernible, with no incidence on yield. Physicochemical analyses of tubers from 16 accessions revealed that D. nummularia and interspecific hybrids have high percentages of dry matter (mean of 33.11%) and starch (82.81%). The Pacific yam could be improved through conventional hybridisation or used for interspecific crosses with related economically important species. Recommendations are made for further research. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : enquête; résistance aux maladies; germplasm; hybridation interspécifique; plante de culture; plante sauvage; variété; amélioration des plantes; provenance; biogéographie; distribution géographique; organe reproducteur végétal; morphologie végétale; taxonomie; phylogénie; biologie; amidon; composition chimique; légume; tubercule; igname; dioscorea nummularia; indonésie; philippines; vanuatu

Thématique : Génétique et amélioration des plantes; Taxonomie végétale et phyto-géographie; Physiologie et biochimie végétales; Composition des produits alimentaires

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