Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution

, Volume 65, Issue 4, pp 1217–1236 | Cite as

Color analysis of storage roots from the USDA, ARS sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) germplasm collection

  • D. Michael Jackson
  • Howard F. Harrison
  • Robert L. Jarret
  • Philip A. Wadl
Research Article


The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit in Griffin, GA maintains the United States germplasm collection for Ipomoea spp. (Convolvulaceae). During 2012–2014, 737 sweetpotato, Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam., plant introductions (PI) were acquired as tissue-culture plantlets and then acclimated to greenhouse conditions at the USDA, ARS, U. S. Vegetable Laboratory (USVL), Charleston, SC. Single plants were transferred to plastic-covered plant beds to produce cuttings for replicated field trials. Storage roots were harvested from 690 PIs grown in the field and 695 PIs grown in pots. Color coordinates were obtained for each PI using a tristimulus colorimeter. Hue angle values (h*) ranged from 8.2° to 88.3° (\( \bar{x} \) = 54.9°) for the periderm (peel or skin) of field-grown storage roots (n = 690 PIs) and − 9.4° (= 350.6°) to 96.2° (\( \bar{x} \) = 51.3°) for pot-grown roots (n = 695 PIs). The red–green coordinate (a*) ranged from 0.8 to 30.7 (\( \bar{x} \) = 12.8) for the periderm of field-grown roots and − 2.0 to 44.9 (\( \bar{x} \) = 16.1) for pot-grown roots. The yellow–blue coordinate (b*) ranged from 2.8 to 33.1 (\( \bar{x} \) = 19.4) for the periderm of field-grown roots and − 7.4 to 38.1 (\( \bar{x} \) = 19.3) for pot-grown roots. Color saturation (chroma, C*) ranged from 13.7 to 35.8 (\( \bar{x} \) = 24.9) for the periderm of field-grown roots and 14.9–45.5 (\( \bar{x} \) = 29.3) for pot-grown roots. Lightness (white–black, L*) ranged from 32.6 to 81.7 (\( \bar{x} \) = 54.6) for the periderm of field-grown roots and 32.1–88.2 (\( \bar{x} \) = 64.0) for pot-grown roots. Hue angles ranged from − 13.1° (= 346.9°) to 100.9° (\( \bar{x} \) = 80.9°) for the stele (flesh) of field-grown storage roots (n = 672 PIs) and − 29.9° to 103.5° (\( \bar{x} \) = 81.6°) for pot-grown roots (n = 676 PIs); a* ranged from − 5.6 to 35.0 (\( \bar{x} \) = 8.0) for the stele of field-grown roots and − 6.0 to 41.0 (\( \bar{x} \) = 7.6) for pot-grown roots; and b* ranged from − 7.7 to 56.1 (\( \bar{x} \) = 34.6) for the stele of field-grown roots and − 12.6 to 56.1 (\( \bar{x} \) = 31.8) for pot-grown roots. C* ranged from 12.7 to 65.8 (\( \bar{x} \) = 37.2) for the stele of field-grown roots and 8.9–65.7 (\( \bar{x} \) = 34.5) for pot-grown roots; and L* ranged from 27.8 to 91.1 (\( \bar{x} \) = 77.7) for the stele of field-grown roots and 28.2–91.9 (\( \bar{x} \) = 80.4) for pot-grown roots. There were significant relationships between stele color (h*) and percent dry matter, with orange stele having a significantly lower % dry matter (\( \bar{x} \) = 25.6%, n = 183) compared with roots with cream/white stele (\( \bar{x} \) = 30.8%, n = 373). There appears to be wide genetic diversity for root color characteristics for the United States sweetpotato germplasm collection.


Ipomoea batatas Convolvulaceae Phenotyping Color space Genetic diversity Plant introductions Periderm Stele 



The authors thank Ty Phillips, Sarah Moon, and Merrelyn Spinks for their excellent technical support. This project was partially funded for two years by the USDA, REE, ARS, Office of National Programs, Crop Production and Protection as Germplasm Evaluation Project No. 6659-22000-024-00D (“Evaluating the Integrity of the Sweetpotato Germplasm Collection”).


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Michael Jackson
    • 1
  • Howard F. Harrison
    • 1
  • Robert L. Jarret
    • 2
  • Philip A. Wadl
    • 1
  1. 1.U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServiceU. S. Vegetable LaboratoryCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research ServicePlant Genetic Resources Conservation UnitGriffinUSA

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