Infusion of shrunken-2 Sweet Corn Seed with Organic Solvents: Effects on Germination and Vigor

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108
  • | 2 Southern Experiment Station, University of Minnesota, Waseca, MN 56093
  • | 3 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108

Sweet corn (Zea mays L. var. rugosa Bonaf.) seed carrying the mutant endosperm gene shrunken-2 (sh2) are very susceptible to seed rot and pre- and post-emergence damping off. Experiments were conducted to determine if selected organic solvents were suitable carriers for fungicide infusion of sh2 sweet corn seed for improved germination and stand establishment. Seed of `Florida Staysweet' and `Crisp-n-Sweet 710' were immersed in acetone, cyclohexane, decahydronaphthalene (Decalin), dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO), ethanol, or xylene for 5 seconds, 0.25, 0.50, 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, or 8.0 hours, air-dried, and subjected to a cold-stress test. Total germination and percentage of normal seedlings in both cultivars were significantly decreased after 8 hours of immersion in acetone. Average seedling dry weight, however, did not decrease. DMSO was highly toxic to both cultivars. Ethanol increased seed mortality with increasing immersion times. Cyclohexane, Decalin, and xylene caused erratic responses in all measured variables as immersion time increased. In a second experiment, the effects of immersion time up to 4 hours in acetone on germination and vigor of 11 sh2 cultivars were compared. There was no correlation between cultivar germination or vigor and immersion in acetone. Results indicate acetone could be used to infuse fungicides into the seed of some sh2 cultivars without compromising seed germination or vigor. However, each sh2 cultivar must be screened individually to determine if it is a suitable candidate for organic solvent infusion of fungicides.

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