Traditional farmers’ varieties: a valuable source of genetic variability for biofortification programs


Several studies underlined the superiority from a nutritional point of view of ancient varieties. In the last years the interest for landraces has been growing, for this reason preservation and valorisation of these genetic sources is very important. In particular these varieties are source of precious genetic variability interesting from a scientific point of view to preserve biodiversity but also for biofortification programs aimed to support small rural communities, where the particular maize germplasm has been developed. In this work we characterized from the nutritional point of view 13 ancient Italian varieties and one coming from Spain (Millo Corvo). In this pre-breeding work we demonstrate the nutritional superiority of ancient varieties if compared with modern hybrids. In particular Spinato di Gandino is the best variety for milling properties and for oil, protein, and total phosphorus content; Storo is the best variety for calorific value and for carotenoids and free phosphorus content. Using these varieties in the next future we will start a bio-fortification program aimed to obtain new populations with improved yields and high nutritional value.


flint maize, landraces, bioforificaion, nutritional value, genetic sources, Zea mays subsp.

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