836 PB 352 EFFECTS OF PRIMING ON MUSKMELON SEED STORABILITY

in HortScience

Priming (controlled hydration followed by drying) has been shown to decrease seed storage life in some species The germinablity of primed (0.3 M KNO3, 6 d, 25°C) and unprimed muskmelon (Cucumis melo L., cv. PMR 45) seeds were compared after storage for 9 yrs at less than 20°C and 6% moisture content (MC) (dwt basis). Germination performance was compared at 30°C in water and polyethylene glycol solutions of -0.2, -0.4, -0.6, -0.8, and -1.0 MPa water potential or in water at 15, 20, and 25°C. Seeds were also germinated in field soils at 17, 19, and 21% (dwt. basis) MC in a greenhouse, Some seeds were subjected to controlled deterioration at 20% MC and 45°C for 72 hrs prior to testing. The germination percentage and rate of stored, primed seeds at 30°C and all water potentials was less than stored, unprimed seeds. At 30°C, stored, unprimed seeds germinated more rapidly and to higher percentages at -0.2 MPa than in water, while germination percentages and rates of stored, primed seeds were essentially the same. At 15, 24, and 25°C, stored, primed seeds outperformed unprimed seeds in all germination tests. In saturated soils at 21% MC, there was no germination of either stored, primed or unprimed seed. At 17% soil MC, stored, primed seeds germinated 73% compared to only 56% for unprimed seeds. The enhancement due to priming was retained after 9 yrs of storage at germination temperatures <30°C. At higher temperatures, the germination of unprimed seeds was superior to primed.

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