Zea mays L., carotenoids, anthocyanins, nutritional quality.
Objective: To characterize agronomically 52 populations of pigmented native corn (Zea mays L.) from Coahuila, Mexico, in order to identify varieties with outstanding agronomic potential and to establish an improvement program with potential for grain yield, with the ability to adapt, and superior nutritional bioactive content.
Design/Methodology: Two experiments were evaluated through an incomplete block design in lattice alpha arrangement, in two localities that are representative of the agricultural area of southeastern Coahuila: a) Yellow populations, mostly of Tuxpeño, Ratón and Tuxpeño Norteño; and b) Anthocyanin populations (blue, red and purple), represented primarily by Cónico Norteño, Elotes Cónicos and Ratón.
Results: There is an environmental effect that contrasts between localities, with differences in grain yield of up to 78%; 25 days of difference in flowering, 53 cm in plant height, and up to seven plants without cobs. The response was product of the agricultural potential in each locality. The outstanding yellow populations due to their superior yield expression in both localities were the landraces Tuxpeño: COAH068, COAH089, COAH177 and COAH215, and Celaya: COAH075. The outstanding anthocyanin populations were Ratón: COAH23 and COAH203; Elotes Cónicos: COAH246 and COAH019; and Elotes Occidentales: COAH021; in addition, the study found populations adapted to a locality.
Conclusion: Among the diversity of the pigmented native corn in Coahuila, there are populations with superior agronomic expression that can be the basis for improving the production, the nutritional quality of the grain, and therefore, of its byproducts.