Inheritance of Pericarp Color, Nutritional Quality, and Grain Composition Traits in Black Sorghum Academic Article uri icon


  • Crop Science Society of America. All rights reserved. Black pericarp grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] has high levels of phenolic compounds, especially 3-deoxyanthocyanidins (3-DOAs), which have application in food science and human nutrition as a high-antioxidant food additive, natural food colorant, and natural food preservative. The inheritance of this trait is complex and has not been the subject of investigation, thus limiting further genetic improvement. To determine the genetic mechanisms governing this novel trait, a generation means analysis was performed using Tx378 (red), Tx3362 (black), and F1, F2, and backcross generations derived from these parents. These six generations were evaluated in 2013 in three diverse Texas growing environments. Significant additive, dominance, and epistatic effects were detected for grain color and associated grain composition traits. Segregating distributions confirmed black sorghum was recessive to red. Estimates of broad-sense heritability on color traits ranged from 0.42 to 1.00, and 3-DOA content was moderately to highly heritable (0.70). Methods to estimate gene number controlling the black pericarp trait ranged from 2 to 12 genes. Despite the complicated mode of inheritance, enough variation exists for future improvement of black sorghum. Creation of high-yielding hybrids with uniformly dark grain and high levels of phenolic compounds will be possible through standard plant breeding practices.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Pfeiffer, B. K., & Rooney, W. L.

citation count

  • 7

complete list of authors

  • Pfeiffer, Brian K||Rooney, William L

publication date

  • January 2016