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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Investigations into the morphological, agronomic, and nutritional diversity within breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae) as a resource for food security Jones, Andrew Maxwell Phineas


Global food security is one of the most pressing issues facing humanity in the 21st century, with the number of undernourished people reaching an unprecedented high of over 1 billion. The problem is most acute in rural areas in tropical climates. Breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae), a high-yielding tropical staple food crop, has been identified under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture for its potential to impact food security. The Breadfruit Institute at the National Tropical Botanical Garden houses the largest breadfruit collection in the world which represents a vast diversity of botanical and nutritional characters developed through millennia of traditional breeding. Breadfruit exhibits a great degree of morphological variability with cultivars that produce small 500g seeded fruit to those that produce large 3.5 kg seedless fruit. Variation is also expressed in the 57 characteristics evaluated in this study, with deep implications regarding the history of breadfruit domestication and the utilization of this crop to bolster food security. Evaluation of agronomic diversity has classified breadfruit into 10 seasonality groups, including non-seasonal, early, and late season cultivars. Informed cultivar selection based on these data will allow the fruiting season to be extended, and year round production will be possible. Further, 94 cultivars of breadfruit along with two related species, Artocarpus camansi and Artocarpus mariannensis, were evaluated for nutritional quality in fresh fruit and flour. Breadfruit is a good source of calcium, copper, iron, potassium, magnesium, has similar levels of protein as many other tropical staple crops, and many cultivars produce pro-vitamin A carotenoids. Individual cultivars have been identified that would provide 20%-25% of the recommended daily adult requirement for protein, approximately 23.5% calcium, 97.4% copper, 19.2% iron, 48.1% potassium, 115.8% magnesium, 33.6% manganese, 0.6% sodium, 53.5% phosphorous, and 21.0% zinc of the recommended daily intake of a female between 19-30 years old, and enough pro-vitamin A carotenoids to fulfill over 60% of the minimum daily vitamin A requirement of adults. Together these data show the immense diversity present within breadfruit germplasm and provide a foundation to utilize this variability to provide food security in the tropics.

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