Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Pursuing the potential of heirloom cultivars to improve adaptation, nutritional and culinary features in a changing climate

Version 1 : Received: 31 May 2019 / Approved: 3 June 2019 / Online: 3 June 2019 (12:34:14 CEST)

How to cite: Dwivedi, S.; Goldman, I.; Ortiz, R. Pursuing the potential of heirloom cultivars to improve adaptation, nutritional and culinary features in a changing climate. Preprints 2019, 2019060022 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201906.0022.v1). Dwivedi, S.; Goldman, I.; Ortiz, R. Pursuing the potential of heirloom cultivars to improve adaptation, nutritional and culinary features in a changing climate. Preprints 2019, 2019060022 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201906.0022.v1).

Abstract

The burdens of malnutrition, protein and micronutrient deficiency, and obesity cause enormous costs to society. Crop nutritional quality has been compromised by the emphasis on edible yield and through the loss of biodiversity due to the introduction of high-yielding uniform cultivars. Heirloom crop cultivars are traditional cultivars grown for a long time (> 50 years), and whose heritage has been preserved by regional, ethnic or family groups. Heirlooms are recognized for their unique appearance, names, uses and historical significance. They are gaining in popularity because of their unique flavors and cultural significance to local cuisine, and their role in sustainable food production for small-scale farmers. As a contrast to modern cultivars, heirlooms may offer a welcome alternative in certain markets. Recently, market channels have emerged for heirloom cultivars in the form of farmer-breeder-chef collaborations and seed savers organizations. There is therefore urgent need to know more about the traits available in heirloom cultivars, particularly for productivity, stress tolerance, proximate composition, sensory quality and flavor. This information is scattered and the intention of this review is to document some of the unique characteristics of heirloom cultivars that may be channeled into breeding programs for developing locally adapted high value cultivars.

Subject Areas

culinary and nutritional traits; farmer-breeder-chef-consumer nexus; folk cultivars; genetic diversity; global warming; heritage seedbank; local food systems; seed savers; stress tolerance

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