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  • Magic Manna

    As Magic Manna has cobs of a single solid colour, I'm wondering whether anyone has tried saving and sowing the seed of a single colour, eg, dark red, and whether that would produce plants and cobs with the full range of possible colours.

    I'm finding it difficult to understand why the colours don't mix and produce multi-coloured cobs in the same way that other multi-coloured varieties do.
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  • #2
    https://seedvaultcompany.com/blogs/n...-parching-corn

    But is that the case? Second picture seems to be quite mixed. Having said that I see no reason why say if you only plant brown ones, you would get other colours other than from sources outside your garden.

    If I remember right, it goes something like this. If a bean is crossed you don't see it in the same year, because the seed coat and the pod are maternal tissue. This is also true for corn, but as this seed coat is translucent around the kernel of corn, the colour of the germ shines through. So if you see a brown kernel, it is a brown variety. It is probably more complicated than that but a translucent seedcoat is the basic difference between a bean and corn.

    Maybe this photo gives a truer statement regarding solid colour. https://www.kivitv.com/news/local-or...-opportunities

    And the recommendation to save fewer of the white seeds would suggest that unless you select f o r all the colours, white would take over. Indeed the photo with the bucket shows that there are many white cobs.
    Last edited by Galina; 30-12-2021, 06:25.

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting that some sites, like the ones you link to, show cobs with mixed colours.

      Deppe herself writers on the OSSI site:
      "Solid colored ears of three basic colors—deep-red/red/pink, brown/tan, or white/peach. All make great cornbread. The red/pink (only) are also great parching corns. The brown/tan ears (only) make great brown gravy and savory bread (without sugar). White/peach ears (with added sugar) have a distinctive pancake flavor and are great for pancakes, cakes, and cookies" and the picture shown there has solid colour rather like mine produced - https://osseeds.org/ossi-varieties/magic-manna/

      Perhaps I need to experiment with selecting for one colour - rather against the spirit of Deppe's variety though?

      Ahe also comments that yellow doesn't belong to the variety whereas my grow out includes quite a lot of yellow of different shades, as in my photo above..

      Comment


      • #4
        The reason the cobs are solid colours in Magic Manna is because the pericarp/seedcoat, which is maternal tissue, is pigmented; every kernel produced on a particular plant will have the same pericarp colour.

        In corn types with multicoloured cobs the pericarp is unpigmented/clear, so one is able to observe the colours underneath in the aleurone (which shows paternal pigments) and endosperm (which is white, yellow or orange).

        Basically what Galina said, but with the caveat that not all corn has a clear seedcoat.

        In your photo the yellowish cob in the middle looks like a different type of corn. The kernels appear to be flinty and translucent. Is this so?

        The luscious red cob to its right has some interesting transposon kernels with the white stripes near the stalk-end - very cool!

        Comment


        • Jang
          Jang commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you, Triffid, for this further clarification. Fascinating. Is a pigmented pericarp characteristic of flour corn or is it more random than that? Your linking of translucent and flint in your question about the central yellow cob implies that flint corn is likely to have translucent kernels? Or is that too simple a generalisation?

          Certainly the yellowish cob looks to have translucent kernels, but I’m not sure that I know how to distinguish between flour corn kernels and flint corn kernels by appearance. Can they be readily distinguished from each other? I’m wondering whether one or two of the darker red cobs also look translucent?

          And thank you for the introduction to the phenomenon of transposons. New to me but clearly a significant element in gene expression. Some more reading beckoning.

        • Galina
          Galina commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you triffid for a very excellent explanation of why Manna corn is different from others. Transposon is a new word for me also. Will try to google, but grateful for broader description from you if you care to elaborate. What are we to make of the red and white corn cob on my second link (second cob from left)?
          Last edited by Galina; 03-01-2022, 11:23.

        • Jang
          Jang commented
          Editing a comment
          I agree it would be very helpful if Triffid was happy to share her characteristically clear understanding of transposons. In the meantime I found this web page quite simple and helpful: https://www2.palomar.edu/users/warmstrong/transpos.htm

      • #5
        I'm afraid I don't know much about transposons. My donor for the Magic Manna sent me some interesting stripey cobs which they claimed were resulting from transposons and that was my first encounter.

        It's possible that the red and white cob in your link Galina is due to the transposon phenomenon, similar to the cob furthest right in this picture

        Pigmented pericarp is not exclusive to flour corn. Roy's Calais Flint and Deppe's Cascade Ruby-Gold are good examples of flint races with pigmented pericarp resulting in single-coloured cobs.

        Flour kernels are very different from flint/popcorn kernels. Cross sections illustrated here. I've eaten raw Magic Manna kernels and they just crumble under pressure. A flint kernel would probably break a tooth. The hard endosperm in flint is quite translucent, and you can see through it to the floury core, which is what I think I'm seeing in that middle cob.

        If the kernels are soaked overnight, they can be sliced cleanly with a sharp blade and it would be clear to see which types of corn they are.

        Comment


        • Galina
          Galina commented
          Editing a comment
          Are transposon changes permanent or temporary. I am wondering whether this resembles the inverted beans which have this temporary colour change or whether this is an entirely different phenomenon. I have certainly not heard the term transposon mentioned in connections with inverted beans.

          The differences between flint and flour corn are beautifully explained thank you Triffid. And the middle corn on your photo Jang does indeed look different to me also. It is not so much the shiny appearance, but the translucent appearance.

        • triffid
          triffid commented
          Editing a comment
          That could well be the case. Transposable elements are common, I wouldn't be surprised if they were linked to the mutations that frequent beans, but I don't know enough about them to confirm.

      • #6
        Click image for larger version  Name:	blue flour cross section.jpg Views:	0 Size:	29.4 KB ID:	16302 Click image for larger version  Name:	roy calais cross section.jpg Views:	0 Size:	29.1 KB ID:	16303

        Illustrations from Beautiful Corn by Anthony Boutard, 2012.

        These kernels were soaked and then cut. You can see the clear pericarp on the flour corn kernel, and that 'floury core' in the flint kernel.
        Last edited by triffid; 14-01-2022, 13:37.

        Comment


        • #7
          Thank you for the clear explanation of the kernel forms of flour and flint corn. The pericarp of the cob you commented on certainly does look translucent in the flesh too. Kernels of both type are now in soak ready for some slicing tomorrow.

          From the small amount of reading I did on transposons, the effect was one of blocking colour, in which case they perhaps wouldn’t be responsible for inverted colouring in beans. A pity as that’s such an interesting phenomenon too.

          Comment


          • #8
            My dissection of Magic Manna kernels yielded interesting results but I'm not quite sure what to make of them, especially the red kernel which doesn't
            look typical for either flour corn or flint corn.

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            • triffid
              triffid commented
              Editing a comment
              To me they both look like flour corn. I don't see any flinty endosperm in either. The embryo on the red kernel may be aligned that way due to the kernel's position on the cob during development.

            • Jang
              Jang commented
              Editing a comment
              Interesting. They certainly both look floury. So in the above illustration of a flint kernel from Boutard's book, the flirty endosperm is the tan area and the white is the much smaller floury area?

              I took the red kernel from near the base of the cob. I'll investigate one further up.

            • triffid
              triffid commented
              Editing a comment
              The flinty part is the reddish-orange zone that has the texture of ground glass. The white area is floury. They're both endosperm, the difference between the two being that the flinty part concentrates proteins and carotenoids, whereas in flour corn is mostly starch. The beige part is the germ.
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