Connection of frost tolerance and alkaloid accumulation potential in poppy (<em>Papaver somniferum</em> L.)


  • C. Jászberényi
  • É. Németh


In the Central-European region, a growing interest for winter poppy varieties both for industrial and culinary purposes can be observed. In connection with breeding, we studied if winter hardiness and alkaloid accumulation capacity are linked in some way. Experimental plots sown in autumn and thinned (selected) due to winter frosts were compared with spring sown ones of the same genotypes during 2009-2010. We found, that the overwintered populations exhibited signifi cantly lower total alkaloid contents (1.065%) than the ones from spring sowing (1.479%). This tendency was proved for each of the individual alkaloid compounds morphine, codeine, thebaine nd narcotine, too. At the same time, maximum values in some individual samples of the overwintered plants reached similar or higher contents than the spring sown ones. Therefore it is supposed that even if gene frequency in direction for enhanced alkaloid synthesis might be larger in frost sensitive ecotypes, the potential for breeding high alkaloid accumulating cultivars exists also among frost tolerant genotypes.