Opportunities for domesticating the African baobab (**Adansonia digitata** L.) : multi-trait fruit selection
Faculty of Sciences. Bioscience Engineering
, p. 493-505
University of Antwerp
Among the priority species identified for domestication in the Sahel region of Sub-Sahara Africa is the baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) tree. The quantification of the variation in nutrient content and fruit morphological traits of trees is one of the most important steps in identifying superior planting material for domestication. Ten provenances in Mali covering all the different agro-ecological zones were selected and the fruit morphological traits, vitamin C, calcium, iron and colour were studied. Mean pulp content was 2,149 ± 1,117 , 2,406 ± 776 and 25 ± 17 mg kg−1 for vitamin C, calcium and iron, respectively. Fruit pulp colour varied from white, creamy to pink and a significant correlation between pulp vitamin C content and reflectance in the green and blue bands was observed. Significant negative correlations were found between rainfall and pulp vitamin C content and between mean annual temperature and fruit and pulp weight and pulp fraction, suggesting that these traits are influenced by the environment. Pulp iron content correlated positively with topsoil sodicity and base saturation. Similarly, pulp vitamin C content correlated positively with topsoil sand fraction. Pulp reflectance in the blue and green bands correlated negatively with topsoil pH water and base saturation, respectively. The variation in nutritive and morphological traits offers the opportunity for selecting plus trees with a combination of desired traits for domestication.