African Journal of Plant Breeding

African Journal of Plant Breeding ISSN 2375-074X Vol. 3 (1), pp. 143-147, January, 2016. © International Scholars Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Seed protein content variation in cowpea genotypes

Ubini A. Richard1*, Idegba C. M. 1, Isaac I. E.2, Ileleji Alfred3 and Bozeinghien H.1

1Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Ebonyi State University, P.M.B. 053, Abakaliki, Nigeria.

2Department Plant Science, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.

3Department of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Kogi State University, Anyigba Nigeria.

*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Accepted 18 March, 2014


The level of variation in seed protein content in a population of 101 cowpea genotypes obtained from the Genetic Resources Unit of IITA Ibadan, Nigeria, was studied using the micro-Kjeldahl method. The aim of this study was to understand the protein variability of cowpea genotypes for better management of its breeding programs for improved protein cultivars. The analysis of variance on the obtained data showed highly significant genotypic differences (P<0.0001) among the cowpea cultivars. The detected seed protein values ranged from (15.06 to 38.50%) with a mean of 25.99 ± 4.82% in dry seeds. Out of the 101 genotypes analysed, only 20 genotypes (representing 19.80%) had protein values greater than 30%, which were considered high protein lines in this study. As high as 73 genotypes (72.28%) were of medium protein content (20 to 30% protein), whereas 8 genotypes (7.92%) were of low protein (less than 20% protein). This distribution suggests a need for more breeding efforts to increase the proportion of high protein cowpea genotypes and provides information for selecting superior parental genotypes in breeding programs for improved cowpea varieties based on protein content.

Key words: Cowpea, protein content variability, cowpea breeding.