This project aims to fully characterise kūmara (Ipomoea batatas) and taewa (Solanum tuboresum) accessions, inclusive of cultural factors, for future conservation. The research will be undertaken in three parts:
- Cultural characterisation (whakapapa)
- Morphological characterisation (phenotyping); and
- Molecular characterisation (genetics/DNA work)
In summary, the accessions from both crops will be grown with leaf samples taken into the laboratory for DNA work. Morphological characterisation will be carried out in the field starting 30 days from planting to harvest. This will be repeated over two seasons for statistical purposes.
In addition, a collection suitable for germplasm, herbaria and international seedbanks will be achieved. The final output will be identified accessions submitted to the International Potato Centre (CIP) in Perú.
Why This Matters
This research is drawn from a food security/conservation/ethnobotanical. Both kūmara and taewa plays a significant role not only in Maori diet but the social and cultural aspects of the society. The need of conserving and maintaining germplasm for the two crops is of alarming importance given the contemporary pressures.
A full characterisation (cultural, morphological, & molecular) of the two crops will be the key outcome of this research. Both traditional crops weren’t fully characterised. The developed methodology holds potential for other crops, contributing to preserving traditional crop diversity and global food security.
- Identify a sample of accessions of kūmara and taewa for a long-term collection.
- To undertake cultural characterization through collating traditional knowledge of kūmara and taewa in the collection, and across Aotearoa.
- To characterise morphological and molecular traits of kūmara and taewa for the CIP biodiversity program as an insurance policy