Rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivated in Cameroon is appreciated by consumers for its nutritive quality and good taste. Diversity of 68 local rice cultivars was investigated via grain morphology and protein content characterization. The size and shape of grains were determined and used with yield parameters to classify the cultivars and perform Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Total protein content and glutelin content of eight selected cultivars (CMRGNd, CMRGDn, CMRGTï, CMRTBa, CMRDWb, CMRDTc3, CMRDTx5 and CMRDTx6) were evaluated by Bradford assay and correlation analysis of all the parameters studied was performed. Long size grains (42) were predominant over extra-long (16), medium (9) and short (1) grains. Slender shaped grains (36) were distinguished as well as medium (28) and bold (4) grains. The 68 cultivars were grouped into four clusters independent of their origins. PCA revealed three principal components accounting for 74.4% of total variation. Highest total protein content was observed in CMRGNd (14.3%) and highest glutelin content in CMRGDn (10.1 mgEqvBSA/g DW). Pearson correlation of the different variables revealed no significant correlation between total protein and glutelin contents with the agro-morphological parameters evaluated in this study. This suggests that none of these parameters could be descriptor for protein content. Positive correlation between grain length and yield (r = 0.7) suggests grain length as yield descriptor.
Key words: Rice, diversity, grain morphology, protein, glutelin.
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