Biochemical characterization



Pumpkin contains several vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Some of those molecules act as antioxidants within our body, which means they reduce the activity of the substances prone to cause oxidation and tissue damage. In 2012 and 2013 some plots were organized in order to compare biochemical properties of Berretta di Lungavilla with the ones of two commercial landraces: Delica and Piacentina. Results state that concentrations of carotenoids, C vitamin and poliphenols in Berretta fruits are higher than the ones in Piacentina landrace and comparable to the ones in Delica. Unlike compared landraces, whose fruits tend to decay after three months of conservation at 15°C, Berretta fruits maintain their integrity and biochemical properties.


The International scientific magazine “Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution” has recently published on line the paper titled “How to save a landrace from extinction: the example of a winter squash landrace (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) in Northern Italy (Lungavilla-Pavia)”

Reference: Andreani, L., Camerini, G., Delogu, C. et al. How to save a landrace from extinction: the example of a winter squash landrace (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) in Northern Italy (Lungavilla-Pavia). Genet Resour Crop Evol (2021).

Here below the summary of the paper:

The present work shows the results of a seven-year project aimed at rescuing the winter squash (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) landrace ‘Berrettina di Lungavilla’, which is grown in the Po flood plain (Northern Italy). The local community was involved in the rescue project, according to a participative breeding technique. The steps of project development were: (i) establishment of a working group and plant material collection, (ii) genetic and morphological analysis of survived germplasm, (iii) recovery by selection of original traits and (iv) biochemical assessment in comparison to other winter squash varieties. As long as the rescue of ‘Berrettina di Lungavilla’ progressed, it was observed an increasing differentiation of morphological, genetic and biochemical traits compared to control cultivars. At the same time, the polymorphic characters of the initial pool of plants, from which the selection had started, turned to well defined morphological and genetic traits of the recovered landrace. In comparison to the other tested varieties, ‘Berrettina di Lungavilla’ landrace showed a higher dry matter content, a higher level of sucrose and a significant retention of some antioxidants after storage, such as vitamin C and total carotenoids. The combination of these biochemical traits could justify the good storability of the landrace. Anyway, the recovery of this landrace is only a preliminary step of its rescue. A careful analysis of factors which led to the decline of the crop is needed: it is the fundamental basis on which planning a strategy of long-term germplasm conservation.

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