Skip to main content Accessibility help

Characterization of taro [Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott] germplasm for improved flavonoid composition and content

  • V. Lebot (a1), F. Lawac (a2), S. Michalet (a3) and L. Legendre (a3)

The starchy corms of taro (Colocasia esculenta) are consumed throughout the tropics and are essential for food security in many developing countries. Taro corms are increasingly processed into fries, chips, flours or flakes in urban areas, and varieties with attractive corm flesh colours are now needed. The identification of flavonoids in taro corms would add value to this crop. The present study developed a high-performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC) protocol for the high-throughput screening of flavonoids in taro germplasm. Overall, 350 different accessions were analysed including 259 varieties from Vanuatu, one from Vietnam, eight from Thailand, eight from the Philippines, six from Malaysia, two from Japan and 18 from Indonesia. Forty-eight breeding lines (hybrids) including 21 from Vanuatu, 21 from Samoa, four from Hawaii and two from Papua New Guinea were also analysed. Ten flavones, namely luteolin-6-C-hexoside-8-C-pentoside, schaftoside, luteolin-3′,7-di-O-glucoside, homoorientin, isovitexin, orientin, luteolin-4′-O-glucoside, luteolin-7-O-glucoside, vitexin and apigenin-7-O-glucoside, were successfully detected in the corm and are responsible for the attractive yellow colour of the flesh and fibres. Quantitatively, luteolin-6-C-hexoside-8-C-pentoside and schaftoside were the most important of all the detected flavonoids. However, only 18% of the varieties analysed presented these two compounds and 80% presented poor flavonoid composition. No geographical structure of the variation was detected and the most flavone-rich varieties originated from Vanuatu, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. The compounds detected in the present study were significantly and positively correlated, suggesting that there is potential for fast improvement through controlled crosses, subsequent evaluation of full-sib progenies and cloning of elite individuals.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Hide All
Boudesocque, L, Dorat, J, Pothier, J, Gueiffier, A and Enguehard-Gueiffier, C (2013) High performance thin layer chromatography–densitometry: a step further for quality control of cranberry extracts. Food Chemistry 139: 866871.
Bumke-Vogt, C, Osterhoff, MA, Borchert, A, Guzamn-Perez, V, Sarem, Z, Birkenfeld, AL, Bähr, V and Pfeiffer, AFH (2014) The flavones apigenin and luteolin induce FOXO1 translocation but inhibit gluconeogenic and lipogenic gene expression in human cells. PLOS ONE 9: e104321.
Caillon, S, Quero-García, J, Lescure, JP and Lebot, V (2006) Nature of taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott) genetic diversity prevalent in a Pacific Ocean island, Vanua Lava, Vanuatu. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 53: 12731289.
Champagne, A, Bernillon, S, Moing, A, Rolin, D, Legendre, L and Lebot, V (2011) Diversity of anthocyanins and other phenolic compounds among tropical root crops from Vanuatu, South Pacific. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis 24: 315325.
Champagne, A, Legendre, L and Lebot, V (2013) Biofortification of taro (Colocasia esculenta) through breeding for increased contents in carotenoids and anthocyanins. Euphytica 194: 125136.
Du, SS, Zhang, HM, Bai, CQ, Wang, CF, Liu, QZ, Liu, ZL, Wang, YY and Deng, ZW (2011) Nematocidal flavone-C-glycosides against the root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) from Arisaema erubescens tubers. Molecules 16: 50795086.
Ferreres, F, Gonçalves, RF, Gil-Izquierdo, A, Valantào, P, Silva, AMA, Silva, JB, Santos, D and Andrade, PB (2012) Further knowledge on the phenolic profile of Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 60: 70057015.
Gonçalves, RF, Silva, AMS, Silva, AM, Valentào, P, Ferreres, F, Gil-Izquierdo, A, Silva, JB, Santos, D and Andrade, PB (2013) Influence of taro (Colocasia esculenta L. Schott) growth conditions on the phenolic composition and biological properties. Food Chemistry 141: 34803485.
Irwin, SV, Kaufusi, P, Banks, K, de la Peña, R and Cho, JJ (1998) Molecular characterization of taro (Colocasia esculenta) using RAPD markers. Euphytica 99: 183189.
Jackson, GVH (1994) Taro and Yam Genetic Resources in the Pacific and Asia. A report prepared for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the International Plant Genetic Research Institute. Canberra, Australia: Anutech Pty Ltd.
Kaushal, P, Kumar, V and Sharma, HK (2013) Utilization of taro (Colocasia esculenta): a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology 52: 2740.
Kreike, CM, van Eck, HJ and Lebot, V (2004) Genetic diversity of taro, Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott, in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 109: 761768.
Lamy, S, Bédard, V, Labbé, D, Sartelet, H, Barthomeur, C, Gingras, D and Béliveau, R (2008) The dietary flavones apigenin and luteolin impair smooth muscle cell migration and VEGF expression through inhibition of PDGFR-β phosphorylation. Cancer Prevention Research 1: 452459.
Leong, ACN, Kinjo, Y, Tako, M, Iwasaki, H, Oku, H and Tamaki, H (2010) Flavonoid glycosides in the shoot system of Okinawa Taumu (Colocasia esculenta S.). Food Chemistry 119: 630635.
Matsuda, M (2002) Taro, Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott, in Eastern Asia: its geographical distribution and dispersal into Japan. Doctoral Thesis, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, 92 pp..
Morris, JB, Wang, ML and Tonnis, B (2014) Desmodium genetic resources for improving flavonoid concentrations, oil content and fatty acid compositions. Plant Genetic Resources: Characterization and Utilization 12: 120128.
Noyer, JL, Billot, C, Weber, P, Brottier, P, Quero-Garcia, J and Lebot, V (2004) Genetic diversity of taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott) assessed by SSR markers. In: Guarino, L, Taylor, M and Osborn, T (eds) Third Taro Symposium. 21–23 May 2003 . Fiji: Secretariat of the Pacific Community, pp. 174180.
Perrier, X and Jacquemoud-Collet, JP (2006) DARwin software. Available at:
Quero-García, J, Noyer, JL, Perrier, X, Marchand, JL and Lebot, V (2004) A germplasm stratification of taro (Colocasia esculenta) based on agro-morphological descriptors, validation by AFLP markers. Euphytica 137: 387395.
Quero-García, J, Courtois, B, Ivancic, A, Letourmy, P, Risterucci, AM, Noyer, JL, Feldmann, P and Lebot, V (2006) First genetic maps and QTL studies of yield traits of taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott). Euphytica 151: 187199.
Quero-García, J, Letourmy, P, Ivancic, A, Feldman, P, Courtois, B, Noyer, JL and Lebot, V (2009) Hybrid performance in taro (Colocasia esculenta) in relation to genetic dissimilarity of parents. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 119: 213221.
Rao, VR (1996) Taro genetic resources: conservation and use. In: Jackson, GVH and Wagih, ME (eds) Proceedings of the Second Taro Symposium. Manokwari, Irian Jaya, Indonesia: Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) and Papua New Guinea: University of Technology (UNITECH), pp. 1928.
Sagi, S, Avula, B, Wang, YH, Zhao, J and Khan, IA (2014) Quantitative determination of seven chemical constituents and chemo-type differentiation of chamomiles using high-performance thin-layer chromatography. Journal of Separation Science 37: 23972804.
Sardos, J, Noyer, JL, Malapa, R, Bouchet, S and Lebot, V (2012) Genetic diversity of taro (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott) in Vanuatu (Oceania): an appraisal of the distribution of allelic diversity (DAD) with SSR markers. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 59: 805820.
Singh, D, Jackson, G, Hunter, D, Fullerton, R, Lebot, V, Taylor, M, Iosefa, T, Okpul, T and Tyson, J (2012) Taro leaf blight – a threat to food security. Agriculture 2: 182203.
Soto-Vaca, A, Gutierrez, A, Losso, JN, Xu, Z and Finley, JW (2012) Evolution of phenolic compounds from color and flavor problems to health benefits. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 60: 66586677.
Treutter, D (2010) Managing phenol contents in crop plants by phytochemical farming and breeding: visions and constraints. International Journal of Molecular Science 11: 807857.
VandenBroucke, H, Mournet, P, Vignes, H, Chaïr, H, Malapa, R, Duval, MF and Lebot, V (2015) Somaclonal variants of taro (Colocasia esculenta Schott) are incorporated into farmers' varietal portfolios in Vanuatu. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution . doi:10.1007/s10722-015-0267-x
Verbeek, R, Plomp, AC, van Tol, EAF and van Noort, JM (2004) The flavones luteolin and apigenin inhibit in vitro antigen-specific proliferation and interferon-gamma production by murine and human autoimmune T cells. Biochemical Pharmacology 68: 621629.
Wu, PS, Yen, JH, Kou, MC and Wi, MJ (2015) Luteolin and apigenin attenuate 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal-mediated cell death through modulation of UPR, N2-ARE and MAPK pathways in PC12 cells. PLOS ONE 10: e0130599.
Zhu, M, Zheng, X, Shu, Q, Li, H, Zhong, P, Zhang, H, Xu, Y, Wang, L and Wang, L (2012) Relationship between the composition of flavonoids and flower colors variation in tropical lily (Nymphea) cultivars. PLOS ONE 7: e34335.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Plant Genetic Resources
  • ISSN: 1479-2621
  • EISSN: 1479-263X
  • URL: /core/journals/plant-genetic-resources
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed