Storage Temperature Affects Sexual Potato Seed Dormancy

in HortScience
Authors:
Noël PallaisDepartment of Physiology, International Potato Center, P.O. Box 1558, Lima, Peru

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José Santos-RojasInstituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria, Casilla 24-0, Remehue, Osorno, Chile

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Rosario FalcónDepartment of Physiology, International Potato Center, P.O. Box 1558, Lima, Peru

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Sexual potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) seeds require many months of afterripening in dry storage to completely lose dormancy and germinate readily at >25C. We examined the relationship between storage temperature and seed dormancy, as assessed by the percentage of germination after 4 days. Two F1 hybrid lots of `Desiree' × 7XY.1 were used; one seed lot was produced by carefully removing half of the developing tubers from the mother plant during seed development, and the control remained undisturbed. Seeds were stored with 3.4% moisture (dry-weight basis) at 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50C and were tested eight times during 29 months for daily germination at 27/40C (21/3 h) for the first 8 days, followed by 6 days at 17C. After 29 months of storage, final germination was <97% only when control seeds were stored at 50C, in which germination was 72%. Germination after 4 days increased curvilinearly with increasing storage temperature, and both seed lots similarly lost dormancy (germination >90%) after 10 months at 40C. Optimum germination levels were maintained after 29 months at 40C. Seeds stored at 50C never completely lost dormancy, and after 7 months of storage, germination at 4 days gradually decreased to zero. Dormancy was eventually lost after 29 months in most seeds stored at <40C, and differences between seed lots suggest that removing tubers from the mother plant increased dormancy. We conclude that dry potato seeds can be safely afterripened at temperatures up to 40C; lower temperatures slow the rate of dormancy loss, and higher ones are detrimental to seed quality.

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