Deviant near-infrared spectra allows identification of Corymbia hybrids

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Abasolo, M, Lee, DJ, Raymond, C, Merder, R & Shepherd, M 2013, 'Deviant near-infrared spectra allows identification of Corymbia hybrids', Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 304, pp. 121-131.

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The study examined the potential of Near Infrared Reflectance (NIR) spectroscopy for field diagnosis of hybrids between Corymbia (formerly Eucalyptus) species. NIR profiles were generated by scanning foliage from a total of 383 hybrid and 533 parental seedlings grown in a common garden and partial least squares discriminant analysis was used to test three-way model power to assign individuals to their appropriate taxon; either a parental or F1 hybrid class. Using the optimised conditions, fresh foliage from eight-month-old seedlings and a handheld NIR instrument (950–1800 nm), the mean assignment rates for the three hybrid groups ranged from 76% to 90%. Hybrid-parent contrast of NIR spectra deviated more so than parent–parent contrast. The F1 taxon assignment rates were usually higher than those for parents at 100% and 72%, respectively. Hybrid resolution was even greater for 2nd generation backcross hybrids. Similar to studies of morphology, taxon assignments tended to be more accurate for hybrid groups in which the parental taxa were more divergent. The practical application of this technique for hybrid diagnosis of seedlings in the nursery will require careful attention to control environmental factors because seedling age and storage effects influenced the ability of NIR to identify hybrids. The technique may also necessitate the generation of comparable reference populations, although exclusions approaches to analysis may circumvent the need for reference populations. The application of NIR in field diagnosis will be further complicated by the need to generate global models across environments but such models have been obtained for reliable prediction of chemistries in other situations.

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