Diversity in composition of scarlet (S. aethiopicum) and gboma (S. macrocarpon) eggplants and of interspecific hybrids between S. aethiopicum and common eggplant (S. melongena).

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Scarlet (Solanum aethiopicum) and gboma (S. macrocarpon) eggplants are cultivated vegetable crops native to Africa for which no comprehensive reports exist on composition and its diversity. We have evaluated diversity for composition in three varieties of scarlet eggplant and four varieties of gboma eggplant as well as in four interspecific hybrids between scarlet and common eggplant (S. melongena) and their respective parents. With exception of moisture (range between 85.80 and 88.26 g/100 g) and pH (range between 5.32 and 5.89), there was a wide diversity among varieties within each of the species for the composition traits evaluated, revealing ample possibilities for selection of varieties with improved fruit composition. Scarlet eggplant varieties evaluated presented, on average, lower content than gboma eggplant varieties for carbohydrates (3.60 vs. 6.48 g/100 g), starch (3.18 vs. 6.15 g/100 g), vitamin C (11.63 vs. 18.92 mg/100 g), and total phenolics (24.42 vs. 144.47 mg/100 g). and higher values for soluble sugars content and for the ascorbic/dehydroascorbic acid ratio. Interspecific hybrids between scarlet and gboma eggplants presented moisture content (78.98 g/100 g) and pH (5.15) values below those of any of the parents. For the rest of traits, values were intermediate between both parents, although much more similar to the scarlet eggplant parent. Data on composition of scarlet and gboma eggplants as well as of interspecific hybrids provide valuable information for the enhancement of both crops as well as for selecting and breeding new eggplant varieties with improved composition.
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