Agronomy and Horticulture Department


First Advisor

Dr. David R. Holding

Date of this Version



Parsons, L. (2021). Production, Evaluation, and Selection of Elite Quality Protein Popcorn (QPP) Hybrids. Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research in Agronomy and Horticulture.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Agronomy and Horticulture (Plant Breeding and Genetics), Under the Supervision of Professor David R. Holding. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2021

Copyright (c) 2021 Leandra Marshall Parsons

The results presented in Chapter 2 were accepted for publication in Frontiers in Plant Science – Plant Breeding (Parsons, L., Ren, Y., Yobi, A., Hurst, P., Angelovici, R., Rodriguez, O., & Holding, D. R. (2020). Production and Selection of Quality Protein Popcorn Hybrids Using a Novel Ranking System and Combining Ability Estimates. Frontiers in Plant Sci. 11:698. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00698).

Results presented in Chapter 3 were accepted for publication in Frontiers in Plant Science - Plant Breeding (Parsons, L., Ren, Y., Yobi, A., Angelovici, R., Rodriguez, O., and Holding, D.R. (2021). Final Selection of Quality Protein Popcorn Hybrids. Frontiers in Plant Sci. 12:658456. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.658456).

Results presented in Chapter 4 have been submitted for publication in the Journal of Sensory Studies (L. Parsons, O. R. Rodriguez, D. R. Holding, “Original Sensory Evaluation of Quality Protein Popcorn reveals Improved Diversity in Taste and Texture compared to Conventional Varieties,” (submitted for publication in Jour. Sens. Studies, January 2021)).


In 2017, twelve Quality Protein Popcorn (QPP) inbred lines were developed and selected as premier dent by popcorn crosses fit for hybridization and testing. These QPP inbred lines were derived from specific Quality Protein dent Maize (QPM) by ConAgra Brands® popcorn line crosses to produce high lysine, vitreous popcorn lines capable of near-equal popping characteristics compared to the original popcorn parents. The QPP hybridization project commenced in the summer of 2018 utilizing these 12 inbred QPP lines and crossing them in a full diallel. Since then, the production of QPP hybrids has employed a diverse set of selection factors evaluating agronomic, popping quality, protein quality, and sensory traits. In 2021, six QPP hybrids were selected for continued evaluation based on agronomic, protein, and popping characteristics, and two QPP hybrids were ultimately selected based on the results from a sensory study.

Advisor: David R. Holding