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Torbert R Rocheford
Patterson Endowed Chair for Translational Genomics in Crop Improvement
Department: Agronomy
Phone: 765.494.9243
Fax: 765.496.2926
Cell: 217.417.5093
Office: Lilly 2-464 A

Area of Expertise: Maize Breeding, Genetics and Genomics


Research Program
The process of using natural genetic variation to increase levels of nutritional micronutrients in staple crops is termed biofortification. My research focuses on the nutritional composition of maize grain, which includes genetic and genomic research that facilitates breeding for higher levels of the antioxidant carotenoids, which provide orange color to kernels. Higher dietary intake of carotenoids has been associated with visual health and reduced likelihood of age-related macular degeneration. Complementary breeding research for higher grain yields is ongoing using former Plant Variety Protected (exPVP) inbreds. The grain yields of novel nutritionally enhanced hybrids must reach economically viable thresholds in order for this to be a viable approach, and for benefits to impact consumers.  Recently, we started working on anthocyanins, which make the kernels blue, purple or red. These antioxidant compounds are associated with anti-inflammatory effects and possibly with reduction of likelihood of Type II diabetes.  


Recent Publications 
Smith GN, Liceaga AM, Rocheford T, Ferruzzi MG. Storage of biofortified maize in Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags reduces disulfide linkage-driven decrease in porridge viscosity. 2021. LWT, DOI: 10.1016/j.lwt.2020.110262 

Abraham ME, Weimer SL, Scoles K, Vargas JI, Johnson T, Robison C, Hoverman L, Rocheford E, Rocheford T, Ortiz D, and Karcher DM. Orange corn diets associated with lower severity of footpad dermatitis in broilers. 2021. Poultry Science, https://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0032-5791(21)00088-2

Rogers AR, Dunne JC, Romay C, Bohn M, Buckler ES, ..., Rocheford T, ..., De Leon N, Holland JB. The Importance of Dominance and Genotype-by-Environment Interactions on Grain Yield Variation in a Large-Scale Public Cooperative Maize Experiment. 2021. G3 Genes, Genomes, Genetics, jkaa050, 
https://doi.org/10.1093/g3journal/jkaa050

Diepenbrock CH, Ilut DC, Magallanes-Lundback M, Kandianis CB, Lipka AE, ..., Mateos-Hernandez M, Owens BF, Tiede T, Buckler ES, Rocheford T, Buell CR, Gore MA, and DellaPenna D. Eleven biosynthetic genes explain the majority of natural variation for carotenoid levels in maize grain. 2021. Plant Cell, bioRxiv 2020.07.15.203448

Wu D, Ryokei T, Xiaowei L, Ramstein GP, Cu S, Hamilton JP, Buell CR, Stangoulis JT, Rocheford T, and Gore MA. High-resolution genome-wide association study pinpoints metal transporter and chelator genes involved in the genetic control of element levels in maize grain. 2021. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, PMID 33677522 DOI: 10.1093/g3journal/jkab059 

Ortiz D, Lawson T, Jarrett R, Ring A, Scoles KL, Hoverman L, Rocheford E, Karcher D, Rocheford T. Biofortified orange corn increases xanthophyll density and yolk pigmentation in egg yolks from laying hens. 2021. Poultry Science, 100(7):101117 DOI: 10.1016/j.psj.2021.101117 PMID: 34102484 PMCID: PMC8187250

Ortiz D, Lawson T, Jarrett R, Ring A, Scoles KL, Hoverman L, Rocheford E, Karcher D, Rocheford T. The impact of different inclusion rates of orange corn in laying hen diets on yolk pigmentation and xanthophyll density. 2021. Journal of Applied Poultry Research (Submitted)  

Ramstein GP, Larsson SJ, Cook JP, ..., Rocheford TR, Tuinstra MR, Bradbury, PJ, Buckler ES, Romay CM. Dominance effects and functional enrichments improve prediction of agronomic traits in hybrid maize. 2020. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 215: 215–230

McFarland, BA, Alkhalifah N, Bohn M, …, Rocheford T, ..., Yeh CT, De Leon N. Maize genomes to fields (G2F): 2014-2017 field seasons: Genotype, phenotype, climatic, soil, and inbred ear image datasets. 2020. BMC Research Notes, 13, 71

Falcon CM, Kaeppler SM, Spalding EP, …, Rocheford T, Schnable PS, Tuinstra MR, Walton R, Weldekidan T, Wisser R, Xu W, De Leon N. Relative utility of agronomic, phenological, and morphological traits for assessing genotype-by-environment interaction in maize inbreds. 2020. Crop Science, 60: 62–81

Beckett TJ, Rocheford TR, Mohammadi M. Reimagining maize inbred potential: Identifying breeding crosses using genetic variance of simulated progeny. 2019. Crop Science, 59: 1457–1468

Nkhata SG, Ortiz D, Baributsa D, Hamaker B, Rocheford T, Ferruzzi MG. Assessment of oxygen sequestration on effectiveness of Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) bags in reducing carotenoid degradation during post-harvest storage of two biofortified orange maize genotypes. 2019. Journal of Cereal Science, 87: 68–77

Ortiz D, Nkhata SG, Rocheford T, Ferruzzi MG. Steeping of biofortified orange maize genotypes for ogi production modifies pasting properties and carotenoid stability. 2019. Agronomy, 9, 771

Owens BF, Mathew D, Diepenbrock CH, Tiede T, Wu D, Mateos-Hernandez M, Gore MA, Rocheford T. Genome-wide association study and pathway-level analysis of kernel color in maize. 2019. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 9: 1945–1955

Alkhalifah N, Campbell DA, Falcon CM, ..., Rocheford T, …, Xu W, Ertl D, Schnable PS, De Leon N, Spalding ES, Edwards J, Lawrence-Dill CJ. Maize Genomes to Fields: 2014 and 2015 field season genotype, phenotype, environment, and inbred ear image datasets. 2018. BMC Research Notes, 11, 452

Ortiz D, Ponrajan A, Bonnet JP, Rocheford T, Ferruzzi MG. Carotenoid Stability during Dry Milling, Storage, and Extrusion Processing of Biofortified Maize Genotypes. 2018.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 66: 4683–4691

Fenton ME, Owen BF, Lipka AE, Ortiz D, Tiede T, Mateos-Hernandez M, Ferruzzi MG, Rocheford T. High-density linkage mapping of vitamin E content in maize grain. 2018. Molecular Breeding, 38, 31
Beckett TJ, Morales AJ, Koehler KL, Rocheford TR. Genetic relatedness of previously Plant-Variety-Protected commercial maize inbreds. 2017. PLOS ONE, 12, doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.018927
Gage JL, Jarquin D, Romay C, ..., Rocheford T, …, Yu J, De Leon N. The effect of artificial selection on phenotypic plasticity in maize. 2017. Nature Communications, 8, 1348 

Venado RE, Owens BF, Ortiz D, Lawson T, Mateos-Hernandez M, Ferruzzi MG, Rocheford TR. Genetic analysis of provitamin A carotenoid β-cryptoxanthin concentration and relationship with other carotenoids in maize grain (Zea mays L.). 2017. Molecular Breeding, 37, 127, https://doi.org/10.1007/s11032-017-0723-8

Diepenbrock CH, Kandianis CB, Lipka AE, ..., Mateos-Hernandez M, Owens BF, Tiede T, Buckler ES, Rocheford T Buell CR, Gore MA, DellaPenna D. Novel loci underlie natural variation in vitamin E levels in maize grain. 2017. Plant Cell, 29: 2374–2392

Menkir A, Maziya-Dixon B, Mengesha W, Rocheford T, Alamu EO. Accruing genetic gain in pro-vitamin A enrichment from harnessing diverse maize germplasm. 2017. Euphytica 213: 818-823

Sowa M, Yu J, Palacios-Rojas N, Goltz SR, Howe JA, Davis CR, Rocheford T, Tanumihardjo SA. Retention of Carotenoids in Biofortified Maize Flour and β-Cryptoxanthin-Enhanced Eggs after Household Cooking. 2017. ACS Omega 2: 7320–7328

Ortiz D, Rocheford T, Ferruzzi MG. Influence of Temperature and Humidity on the Stability of Carotenoids in Biofortified Maize (Zea mays L.) Genotypes during Controlled Postharvest Storage. 2016. J Agric Food Chem. 13: 2727-2736

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Department of Agronomy, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2053 USA, (765) 494-4773

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