Predicting Tomato Seedling Morphology by X-ray Analysis of Seeds

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Authors:
W.J. van der BurgCentre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research, CPRO -DLO, P.O. Box 16, Wageningen NL-6700 AA, The Netherlands

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J.W. AartseCentre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research, CPRO -DLO, P.O. Box 16, Wageningen NL-6700 AA, The Netherlands

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R.A van ZwolCentre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research, CPRO -DLO, P.O. Box 16, Wageningen NL-6700 AA, The Netherlands

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H. JalinkCentre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research, CPRO -DLO, P.O. Box 16, Wageningen NL-6700 AA, The Netherlands

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R.J. BinoCentre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research, CPRO -DLO, P.O. Box 16, Wageningen NL-6700 AA, The Netherlands

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Studies based on X-ray photographs were conducted to predict the morphology of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) seedlings at transplanting stage. Currently, seed-lot quality of tomato seeds for growing commercial transplants is determined with grow-out tests in the greenhouse because the standard germination test fails to predict the percentage of normal or usable transplants (UTs). These grow-out tests, however, are difficult to standardize. An X-ray evaluation procedure is presented as an alternative. X-ray images nondestructively provide information on embryo size and morphology and the amount of endosperm and the area of free space. These parameters correlate well with the morphology of 14-day old seedlings. Cotyledon morphology has the highest correlation with the percentage of UTs. A test based on the evaluation of X-ray images, classifying the cotyledon morphology and seed free space, predicts the percentage of UTs more accurately than the currently used germination test. A second method based on an equation that uses the probabilities of all X-ray categories proportionally predicts the percentage of UTs of primed seeds more accurately than the first method. Selecting individual seeds based on X-ray images has the potential to raise the percentage of UTs of seed lots. On the average, the percentage of UTs of control seeds was 22% higher after hand selection based on X-ray evaluation. Primed seeds gave 12% higher results. Hence, X-ray analysis can predict seedling performance and enable the selection of high-quality seeds.

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