Potential for the improvement of Salicornia bigelovii through selective breeding

Desale B. Zerai, Edward P. Glenn, Rahul Chatervedi, Zhongjin Lu, Amed N. Mamood, Stephen G. Nelson, Dennis T. Ray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Salicornia bigelovii Torr. is an annual salt marsh plant that produces seed oils, protein meal, fresh salad greens and forage on seawater irrigation. We compared S. bigelovii lines produced in two breeding programs with wild germplasm in greenhouse trials on brackish water (10 ppt NaCl) irrigation. S. bigelovii is an out-crossing species that is also capable of selfing, and the breeding programs showed it is possible to use both hybridization and pedigree breeding to improve the germplasm. Lines selected in a breeding program carried out in Eritrea, Africa, had smaller plant size and lower biomass yields than the starting germplasm, due to the need to compress the growth cycle within the cool months of the year in that hot climate, but seed yields and harvest index were improved. Lines produced from wild germplasm by mass selection and hybridization in Tucson, Arizona had higher biomass yield than starting germplasm. We conclude that S. bigelovii has sufficient genetic diversity among wild accessions and cultivars to support a crop improvement program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)730-739
Number of pages10
JournalEcological Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Agroengineering
  • Alternative crops
  • Biomass yield
  • Halophytes
  • New crops
  • Salinity tolerance
  • Seawater irrigation
  • Seed yield

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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