Knowledge of agro-morphological genetic variation and cropping conditions on vegetative and yield-related traits plays a significant role in varietal improvement and production of eggplant (Solanum melongena L.).
Following this premise, a study was conducted to critically asses the genetic variation of 29 eggplant accessions by using agro-morphological characterization evaluated under two cropping conditions, namely, glasshouse and open field.
The experiments were laid out in randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications. Data on vegetative and yield characteristics were collected and subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using SAS 9.4, while variance components were estimated manually.
The results obtained from the analysis of variance indicated a highly significant difference (p ≤ 0.01) for all characteristics studied in both cropping conditions. The evaluated accessions were grouped into six major clusters based on agro-morphological traits using Unweighted Pair Group Method with Arithmetic mean (UPGMA) dendrogram. Hence, crosses between group I with VI or V could be used to attain higher heterosis and vigor among the accessions. Also, this evaluation could be used as a selection criterion for important yield agronomic traits in eggplant. The methodology and the approaches used may provide a model for the enhancement of other vegetable crop diversity towards adaptability to the cropping condition decision.
This result displayed importance for preserving eggplant germplasm for future varietal development and revealed that open field cropping condition is more suitable under Malaysia's agroecology.