Characterization of cultivated and annual wild Cicer species for seed protein and mineral concentrations, and identification of promising accessions for chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) improvement
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Developing nutrient-rich crop cultivars is the most economic strategy to combat malnutrition resulting from protein and mineral deficiencies. Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an important staple grain legume source of good quality dietary protein around the world, particularly in southern Asia, northern Africa, and the Middle East. In the present investigation, the genetic variability for protein and mineral concentrations was studied in 41 accessions of cultivated chickpea and eight annual wild Cicer species of primary, secondary, and tertiary gene pool. Large variability was observed between and within Cicer species for seed protein, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Ca, and Mg concentration with high heritability. C. chorassanicum (Bunge) Popov was found to be the most promising species for high seed protein and Ca; C. judaicum Boiss. for high seed Fe, Cu. and Mg; C. yamashiatae Kitam. for high seed Zn and Fe; and C. pinnatifidum Jaub. & Spach for high seed Mn concentrations. All the wild Cicer accessions except ICC20190 (C. echinospermum P. H. Davis) had high concentration of at least one or more seed nutrients. Wild Cicer accessions such as ICC17141 (C. chorassanicum), ICC17269 and ICC17303 (both C. pinnatifidum), ICC17261 and ICC17262 (C. reticulatum), ICC20236 (C. chorassanicum), and ICC17117 and ICC17281 (C. yamashitae) were found promising for multiple seed nutrients. As C. reticulatum Ladiz. and C. echinospremum accessions are crossable with cultivated chickpea, promising C. reticulatum accessions identified in the present study can be used in crossing program for developing new nutrient-rich chickpea cultivars.
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