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Susumu Maekawa and William J. Carpenter

The germination of verbena (Verbena × hybrids) seed was found to be sensitive to high substrate moisture content. Cultivars varied in sensitivity to excessive substrate moisture content, with `Romance Scarlet' having higher total germination (G) in the presence of free water than `Showtime Blaze' or seedling `Red A'. Hilum cavity measurements of dry seeds showed larger hilum apertures with reduced depths for seeds of `Romance Scarlet' than for the others. Seed imbibition resulted in a rapid and extensive thickening of the hilum wall. The extent of hilum aperture closure varied among cultivars and the quantity of water present. Free water reduced hilum apertures 45% for `Romance Scarlet', 60% for `Showtime Blaze', and 86% for `Red A'. Seeds of `Romance Scarlet' and `Showtime Blaze' failed to germinate with lanolin covering the hilum, while seeds coated with lanolin, except for the hilum, had 67% to 78% G of nontreated seeds. This difference indicates that essential oxygen for the embryo was obtained through the hilum and micropyle of the seeds. Total germination varied with substrate moisture content, with seeds placed horizontally on 2%, 1%, or 0.5% agar having 80%, 75%, and 65% germination, respectively, for `Romance Scarlet' and 59%, 41%, and “24%, respectively, for `Showtime Blaze'.

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C.C. Pasian and M.A. Bennett

Some transplanted crops, like tomato and marigolds, tend to stretch very early after germination, especially if grown in low light environments. By the time growers apply growth regulators (PGRs), the stretching of the hypocotyl has already occurred and sprays are ineffective. Seeds of marigold `Bonanza Gold' and tomato `Sun 6108' were soaked for 6, 16, and 24 h in paclobutrazol solutions of 0, 500, and 1000 ppm. After imbibition, seeds were dried for 24 h before sowing in plugs. Sixteen, 26, and 36 days after sowing, seedling height and percent emergence were measured. Increasing concentrations of PGR and time of imbibition produced shorter seedlings. Tomato seedling heights measured 36 days after sowing were 1.9, 1.5, and 1.7 cm when imbibed in water for 6, 16, and 24 h, respectively. When PGR was used at 500 ppm, seedling heights were: 1.4, 1.2, and 1.2 cm, respectively. Similar reductions were observed for marigolds. It was hypothesized that some seeds have coats that are impermeable to PGRs. These impermeable coats might serve as PGR carriers, delivering the chemical into the growing medium of the plug cell. When the root emerges from the seed, it absorbs the growth regulator. These preliminary results indicate that this method of PGR application may be feasible and could benefit plug growers of marigold and other ornamental plant species prone to early stretching (e.g., cosmos).

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M.N. Nzaramba, Douglas C. Scheuring, and J. Creighton Miller Jr.

Antioxidants are important to human health, as they are responsible for reduced risk of diseases such as cancer, hence motivating researchers to examine crop plants for available antioxidant compounds. There is also increasing interest in the use of antioxidants from plants instead of synthetic products. In order to evaluate variability of antioxidant activity (AOA) in cowpea, 697 cowpea accessions from the U.S. Cowpea Core Collection obtained from the Regional Plant Introduction Station, Griffin, Ga., were analyzed for AOA expressed as μg trolox equivalents/gdw. Two grams of dry seed from each accession were ground, extracted in methanol and analyzed for AOA using the free radical, 2,2-Diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), method. A large variation in AOA within the core collection, ranging from 1859 μg·g–1 dw (PI 180355, pigmented seed coat) to 42.6 μg·g–1 dw (PI 583100, cream seed coat), was observed. A least significant difference of 131.5 (p =0.05) was obtained. Higher AOA was manifested by accessions with pigmented seed coats. Accessions that were speckled, striped or had a pigmented eye were moderate in AOA, while the cream types were generally low. Variability in AOA observed among cowpea accessions suggests that breeding for high AOA can be successfully conducted. Accessions with high AOA could also be used to extract antioxidants for industrial purposes. Some accessions were a mixture of various colors and patterns, making it difficult to classify them into a particular category. Therefore, there is need to ensure purity of these accessions by ascertaining whether the mixtures are physical, i.e., combination of different varieties, or are composed of segregating material.

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Leigh K. Hawkins, Fenny Dane, and Thomas L. Kubisiak

Morphological traits were examined in an F3 generation derived from a cross between C. lanatus var. lanatus [(Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] and C. lanatus var. citroides. At least three genes, C (yellow) vs. c (red), i (inhibitory to C) vs. I (non-inhibitory to C), and y (yellow) vs. yw (white), with epistatic and inhibitory actions were found to govern the inheritance of fruit flesh color. The high frequency of yellow-fleshed fruit and low frequencies of white and red fruits can be explained by the presence of a new allele (yw recessive to y) in the multiple allele series at the Y locus. The low frequency of tan colored seeds in segregating populations could be explained by at least three genes governing inheritance of seed-coat color. Single factor analysis of variance was conducted for each pairwise combination of random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) locus and fruit or seed characteristics. Several RAPD loci were identified to be loosely linked to morphological characteristics.

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Haim Nerson

Fruits of four cucurbit crops, cucumber, melon, watermelon. and squash, were harvested 25, 35 and 45 days past anthesis (dpa) and their seeds were extracted immediately or after 10 or 20 days of pre-extraction storage. Upon extinction, the seeds were subjected or not subjected to fermentation, washing and drying, The effects of these procedures on terminability was examined immediately after extraction or after up to 48 months of storage. Cucumber, melon and watermelon reached full germinability by 35 dpa, but squash required a longer period. Fermentation and drying were important for improving terminability of immature seeds of cucumber, melon and watermelon. Fermentation had a deleterious effect on immature squash seeds, but drying and washing improved terminability of squash seeds. Washing of cucumber, melon and watermelon seeds increased the rate of germination but not the percentage. Pre-extraction storage had a positive effect on terminability but was less effective than leaving the fruit on the vine for a comparable period of time. The seed coat completed its growth earlier than did the embryo.

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Carlos A. Parera and Daniel J. Cantliffe


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Stephanie Rademan and Dyremple Marsh

A wide range of methodologies, ranging from Leonard jar to growth pouch have been used to investigate the nitrogen fixation process in leguminous crops. The effectiveness of most of these research methods have been questioned. Problems encountered vary from difficulty in root separation to water log conditions. This study was undertaken to determine the effect of different growing media on nodule development and harvestability. Black and Red seed coat kidney bean were surface sterilized and inoculated with the Rhizobium phaseoli strain UMR 1899. Seeds were planted in 8.5 cm diameter sterile clay pots containing the respective growing medium. These growing media were sand, Promix GM, Promix BX, and fritted clay. The black seed coat kidney bean had higher germination rate under all media for all dates recorded. Black kidney bean grown in sand and fritted clay had plant heights significantly greater than ones grown in the other media on the third harvest date. Nodule activities as measured by shoot dry weight and nodule number were significantly higher in both beans grown in fritted clay than in other media. Promix GM plants with dry weight of .45g for the black bean and .32g for the red beans were the lowest. Nodule separation from the growing media was easiest when plants were grown in sand, however, this was not significantly different from that of plants grown in fritted clay.

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R. Provvidenti and David M. Tricoli

In a yellow summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.) experimental line developed by Seminis Vegetable Seeds, the coat protein gene of an American strain of squash mosaic virus (SqMV-M88), conferred resistance to Arizona, California, New Jersey, and New York strains belonging to the two pathotypes of the virus. An analysis of genetic populations derived from crosses and reciprocal backcrosses of a homozygous SqMV-resistant line A127-1-2 with the susceptible cultivar Butterbar revealed that the high level of resistance mimics the response of a single recessive gene.

Open access

J. L. Tipton, J. L. Craver, and J. Blackwell


Procedures are described to mechanize partially harvesting, cleaning, and pretreat-ment of guayule achenes. Achenes are harvested with a vacuum insect net and cleaned by a series of screening, threshing, and forced air separations, then treated to overcome seed coat impermeability in a semiautomatic system that presoaks, treats with 0.5% sodium hypochlorite, and rinses. Achenes may be sown immediately or dried for storage. Procedures outlined involve commercially available equipment with a minimum of custom construction and are adaptable to small or large operations.

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George E. Boyhan, Juan Carlos Diaz-Perez, Reid L. Torrance, Ronald H. Blackley Jr., and C. Randell Hill

The majority of Vidalia onions are produced as a transplanted crop. Seeding in high density plantings in September is followed 8 to 10 weeks later by transplanting to final spacing. This practice is labor intensive and expensive. Direct seeding would save on labor, cost, and time. Traditionally, transplanting has been done because of better winter survival, more uniform stands, and better irrigation management during seedling emergence. Beginning 5 years ago, we began evaluating direct seeding onions. Initially, seedstems (bolting) and lack of uniform stand establishment were the main problems. Sowing in September resulted in almost 100% seedstems and using a belt planter with raw seed resulted in poor singulation for uniform stand establishment. Mid-October ultimately proved to be the best time for sowing Vidalia onion seed. Earlier sowing resulted in more seedstems and later planting did not give the plants sufficient time to grow resulting in later stand loss during cold winter temperatures. Using polymer coated seed and a precision vacuum planter resulted in uniform, even stand establishment. Fertilizer requirements are almost half with direct seeded onions compared to transplanted onions with a reduction in the need for fungicides and herbicides. We have established direct seeded onions both with drip irrigation and overhead irrigation. There was concern that center-pivot irrigation would not be able to sufficiently irrigate fields during seedling establishment with the frequent hot fall days we experience. Since this work was initiated several growers have successfully produced direct seeded onions under center-pivot systems. Direct seeding Vidalia onions requires attention to detail because there is only one opportunity to get it right. Timing is also critical particularly with planting date and herbicide application.