A comprehensive characterization of agronomic and end-use quality phenotypes across a quinoa world core collection

Evan B. Craine, Alathea Davies, Daniel Packer, Nathan D. Miller, Sandra M. Schmöckel, Edgar P. Spalding, Mark A. Tester, Kevin M. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.), a pseudocereal with high protein quality originating from the Andean region of South America, has broad genetic variation and adaptability to diverse agroecological conditions, contributing to the potential to serve as a global keystone protein crop in a changing climate. However, the germplasm resources currently available to facilitate quinoa expansion worldwide are restricted to a small portion of quinoa’s total genetic diversity, in part because of day-length sensitivity and issues related to seed sovereignty. This study aimed to characterize phenotypic relationships and variation within a quinoa world core collection. The 360 accessions were planted in a randomized complete block design with four replicates in each of two greenhouses in Pullman, WA during the summer of 2018. Phenological stages, plant height, and inflorescence characteristics were recorded. Seed yield, composition, thousand seed weight, nutritional composition, shape, size, and color were measured using a high-throughput phenotyping pipeline. Considerable variation existed among the germplasm. Crude protein content ranged from 11.24% to 17.81% (fixed at 14% moisture). We found that protein content was negatively correlated with yield and positively correlated with total amino acid content and days to harvest. Mean essential amino acids values met adult daily requirements but not leucine and lysine infant requirements. Yield was positively correlated with thousand seed weight and seed area, and negatively correlated with ash content and days to harvest. The accessions clustered into four groups, with one-group representing useful accessions for long-day breeding programs. The results of this study establish a practical resource for plant breeders to leverage as they strategically develop germplasm in support of the global expansion of quinoa.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - Feb 16 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-03-06
Acknowledgements: Funding provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, award number 2016-680004-2470. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. 1842493. As a disclaimer, any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We acknowledge and express deep gratitude to the indigenous groups of South America that have domesticated, cultivated, bred, selected, maintained, improved, sheltered and stewarded quinoa for thousands of years. We hope to honor them with this work. Many thanks to the Salt Lab at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology for curating the World Core Collection and sharing seeds of the accessions. Special thanks to Dr. Gordon Wellman and Gabriele Fiene. Dr. Cedric Habiyaremye, Halle Choi and Cody Holland assisted with planting. Amanda Linksey led greenhouse management. Claire Cantrell and Lindsey Richmond assisted with plant harvesting, postharvest processing and phenotypic data collection. Rawley Davis assisted with postharvest phenotyping. Dr. Yang Hu adapted the image analysis source code to enable local operation. The Washington State University Pullman campus is located on the homelands of the Nimíipuu (Nez Perce) Tribe and the Palus people. We acknowledge their presence here since time immemorial and recognize their continuing connection to the land, to the water, and to their ancestors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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