Heterosis and heritability estimates of purine alkaloids and polyphenols in cocoa
Cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) is an important allogamous tropical tree crop, whose centre of diversity is considered to be in Central America. Dry cocoa beans from five cocoa clones, and their intercrossed hybrids were analysed based on the variation of alkaloids and polyphenolic compounds contents, in order to gain insights on the heterosis and broad-sense heritability. Polyphenols and alkaloids were analysed at 280 nm by HPLC, using a Photodiode Array Detector (PDA); while anthocyanins were separated with the SEP-PAK Vac 6cc 1000 mg (waters) column and measured at 520 nm with a PDA. Dry cocoa beans displayed high content of purine alkaloids (2.1 and 8.8 mg g-1 for caffein and theobromine, respectively), and polyphenols (25 and 2978 μg g-1 for catechin and epicatechin, respectively). Among the five cocoa clones, SNK16 was the highest in purine alkaloid (caffein and theobromin) and flavanol (catechin and epicatechin); while T79/467 possessed the greatest quantity of cyanidin-3-galactoside and cyanidin-3-arabinoside. From all the parameters studied, anthocyanins (Cyanidin- 3-galactoside and cyanidin-3-arabinoside) exhibited the highest level of heterosis. Parental genotypes SNK16 and T79/467 showed good aptitudes for the combination of characters because their reciprocal hybrids F5 and F9, distinguished themselves by better levels of mid-parent heterosis values. Besides, the heritability value in strict sense of this Cyanidin-3-galactoside was very high. Absence of significant difference between genotypes, coming from reciprocal crossbreeding for Cyanidin-3-galactoside, suggests that this character in cocoa would be nuclear contrary to purine alkaloids and flavan-3-ols, where their transmission to offsprings can be stated as cytoplasmic.
Key Words: Caffein, catechin, Theobroma cacao