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Phillip N. Miklas and Jose Santiago

Cultivated tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius A. Gray var. latifolius Freeman) has potential for production during the hot, dry seasons in the tropics. Bean golden mosaic virus (BGMV), however, seriously limits production of Phaseolus spp. in such environments. Twelve select tepary beans were evaluated for reaction to BGMV across four field nurseries near Isabela, Puerto Rico. Disease reaction was principally determined by measurement of seed yield (kg·ha–1) and weight (g 100/seeds). All tepary beans possessed some tolerance to BGMV, as they produced comparatively moderate seed yield despite expression of severe foliar yellow mosaic symptoms. On average, tepary bean yielded 133% of the BGMV-resistant dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) control `Dorado'. Four teparies, Neb-T-6-s, GN-610-s, Neb-T-8a-s, and PI 321637-s, expressed superior tolerance to BGMV as they yielded above the trial mean in at least three of four trials. Harvested seed quality was uniformly poor across all lines, averaging 18% less weight than in the non-BGMV trials. The combination of the observed tolerance with escape mechanisms and cultural disease control practices may enable production of tepary bean in regions and seasons that experience moderate to severe BGMV epidemics.

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Kent J. Bradford

In 1981, R.H. Ellis and E.H. Roberts published a classic paper on the quantification of aging and survival in seeds (Seed Sci. & Technol. 9:373). This paper and subsequent refinements described a model of seed aging in storage that was based on the fact that to a good approximation, deaths over time in a seed population are normally distributed. The model provides a quantitative description of seed longevity across a wide range of storage temperatures and moisture contents. Despite its theoretical importance and practical success, the Ellis–Roberts approach has not been widely adopted by the seed industry to assess seed quality and predict longevity in storage. This may be due, in part, to the rather unfamiliar statistics (probit analysis) used in the model and the apparent complexity of the equations. It will be the argument of this presentation, however, that the precise quantification of seed longevity that this model affords is less significant than the insight that it provides into the nature of seed populations and how to think about them. The objective of this presentation will be to demystify the Ellis–Roberts model and illustrate with concrete examples how the application of population-based thinking is advantageous in many aspects of seed storage and quality assessment.

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N. Guner and J.R. Myers

Plant breeders are interested in developing upright common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) to reduce diseases and permit mechanical harvest, and improve seed quality. Morphological and genetic characteristics of an architectural mutant in common beans were studied. The mutant had shiny, dark green leaves, overlapping leaflets, and short petioles. Branching was nearly absent, resulting in single stemmed plants. Although mutant plants carried Fin for indeterminacy, and plants progressed in flowering from lower to higher nodes, the terminal node was reproductive. This represents a new form of determinacy in common bean. Inheritance studies demonstrated that the mutant syndrome was controlled by a single recessive gene. Allelism tests between the mutant and overlapping leaflets (ol), and dark green savoy leaf (dgs) showed that the mutant was not allelic to either locus. The trait was designated as Topiary with the gene symbol top, describing its compact and neat appearance. Linkage was tested between top and growth habit (fin), shiny leaves, cross-sectional shape of pods, striped pod (C prpst ), and pod suture strings. All genes segregated independently. The genetic merit of the Topiary mutant for improving common beans needs to be investigated, especially the value of single stem growth habit combined with an upright plant habit.

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Gil Simmons and Bill B. Dean

Carrot (Daucus carota) L.) seed quality is affected by the environment in which it matures. Substantial differences in germination from year to year and from field to field have been recognized for many years for umbelliferae seed. Part of the explanation for low germination appears to be the harvest of immature seed. Data was collected for two years, from fields of the cultivars Chantenay and Nantes. Approximately 550 growing degree days were accumulated from anthesis until maturity for seed from the primary umbel. Growing degree days were calculated using a 10°C base temperature and without truncating for temperatures in excess of 35°C. Secondary, tertiary, and quaternary umbel seed maturity sequentially followed primary umbel seed. Secondary and tertiary umbels produced approximately 80 percent of the total seed yield while the primary and quaternary umbels produced approximately 20 percent. Seed maturity was determined by measuring the germination rate. Immature seed germinate at a slower rate than mature seed. The implications of these results for obtaining high quality carrot seed will be discussed.

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Gregory E. Welbaum

Seed production in the family Cucurbitaceae is more complicated than in dry-seeded grain crops because seeds mature within a moist fruit and are often held at high moisture content for several weeks before seed harvest. Muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.), a member of this family, was used as a model system to contrast seed development with crops that are dry at maturity. A detailed time course for `Top Mark' fruit and seed development is presented based on previous studies. In muskmelon fruit, precocious germination is inhibited osmotically by the low water potential of the surrounding fruit tissue. Muskmelon seeds exhibit primary dormancy that affects viability very early in development but has a greater effect on seed vigor and is removed by afterripening during dry storage. Osmotically distended or fish-mouth seeds are dead seeds that occur in cucurbit seed lots after aging kills the embryo without disrupting the semipermeable endosperm that completely surrounds and protects the embryo. Cucurbit seed crops should be harvested before the onset of fruit senescence to prevent aging of the seeds inside. Open-pollinated cucurbit seed crops are frequently once-over mechanically harvested. Mechanical harvesting combines seeds from many stages of development into a single seed lot, which may adversely affect quality and increase seed to seed variability. Hand harvesting cucurbit fruit at the optimal stage of development could improve seed quality in some instances but is more costly and time consuming and would increase production costs.

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Xiaolei Hu, Miller McDonald, and David Tay

During the past 2 decades, automated plug production in the flower seed industry has created important requirements by growers for high-quality flower seeds. Using computerized imaging technology, a new seed vigor testing system, Seed Vigor Imaging System (SVIS), was developed at The Ohio State University. By analyzing the digital images of seedlings, it can detect and measure the length of hypocotyls and radicles separately, and then generate a value for the growth and uniformity each. This system provides a fast, labor-saving and objective approach to measuring seed quality. In this study, its capacity and correlation with field performance was studied and compared with other traditional tests, i.e. standard germination test, germinate rate, and accelerated aging test. Five species (dianthus, cleome, rudbeckia, salvia, and lettuce) were selected and their quality was tracked continuously by SVIS and other mentioned tests. It was found that stressed test (ageing test) was able to detect the quality deterioration earlier than others under ideal conditions, but SVIS could generate much more information, such as the growth, uniformity, and vigor level of the seed lot. Therefore, SVIS following 3-day ageing was developed and shown to be the most sensitive and comprehensive vigor test for those ornamental species mentioned above. Being fast and objective, this system will also benefit the global seed trade by providing a unique quality standard. In addition, it can also be of great usage to seed companies and germplasm centers worldwide for the routine quality track during shipment/storage and inventory management.

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Andrés R. Schwember and Kent J. Bradford

Seed priming (controlled hydration followed by drying) is used to alleviate high temperature inhibition of germination and improve seedling emergence of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) and other species. However, seed priming can also reduce the longevity of seeds during dry storage. Alternative drying methods [i.e., slow drying or moisture content reduction (MCR) before drying] can extend seed longevity compared to conventional rapid drying procedures after priming. Three postpriming drying treatments were tested on `Conquistador' and `Genecorp Green' lettuce seeds: rapid drying, slow drying and MCR (10% fresh weight loss, then held at 100% relative humidity (RH) for 6 hours, followed by rapid drying). The effects of the postpriming treatments on seed quality and longevity were compared based upon standard germination tests, germination rates, thermogradient table tests, controlled deterioration (CD) tests, and headspace volatiles analysis. The latter may be correlated with seed longevity as release of volatiles (e.g., acetaldehyde, ethanol) is associated with lipid peroxidation. While neither slow drying nor MCR before drying restored lettuce seed longevity to that of the control (not primed) seeds, the MCR method generally gave better results in both cultivars compared to rapid drying. Among the CD test conditions used, 50 °C and 75% RH gave the most consistent results for estimating potential longevity. Headspace volatile emissions from both control and primed lettuce seeds were very low and were not well correlated with seed longevity. Alternative postpriming drying regimes can extend seed longevity while retaining the beneficial effects of priming.

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Daiichiro Miyajima

Seeds of `Kumamotonokagayaki'(Kk), `Goldenball' (Gb), and `Purple Gem' (PG) (Zinnia violacea Cav.) were harvested at various stages of maturity and subsequent seed and plant performance were evaluated. The largest increase in ovule or embryo length and width occurred from 0 to 10 days after pollination (DAP). The seed weight was unchanged after 23, 25, and 30 DAP for Kk, Gb, and PG, respectively. The pericarp color was completely green from seeds harvested 20 DAP, while the seeds harvested from 30 to 35 DAP contained a mixture of green and brown seeds. Pericarp color change from green to brown was not a reliable index to harvest seeds. The percentage germination increased from seeds harvested from 10 to 19 DAP for all cultivars. From 20 to 40 DAP, germination was unaffected and >90%, while the rate of germination as measured by days to visible germination decreased slightly. Seeds harvested 20 to 40 DAP produced plants with similar growth and quality characteristics. Considering a 20- to 30-day difference between the first and last floret to open in a capitulum, capitula should be harvested 50 days after anthesis for good seed quality and to prevent shattering.

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D. P. Coyne, J. R. Steadman, D. T. Lindgren, D.S. Nuland, J. S. Beaver, F. Saladin, and E. Arnaud Santana

Disease of beans, particularly common bacterial blight (CBB) (DR, NE), rust (DR, NE), web blight (WB) (DR) and bean golden mosaic virus (BGMV) (DR) are major constraints to bean yields and seed quality. The objectives were to identify resistant (R) germplasm, to conduct genetic studies, to develop R cultivars (DR, NE), to improve research facilities and capabilities (DR), to train personnel and educate graduate students (DR, NE). The expected impact is (1) the improvement of breeding programs, yields and income to farmers and (2) returning specialists will permit improved research in the DR. The most significant advances in research were as follows: (i) BAC-6 dry bean breeding line was found to be R to CBB seed infection, (ii) The reaction to CBB was inherited quantitatively with low NSH estimates, (iii) Rust race nonspecific R was correlated with abaxial leaf pubescence; the latter trait was inherited qualitatively, (iv) R to BGMV and WB were identified and (v) Improved cultivars and breeding lines were developed (DR, NE).

Open access

Oh-Sik Kwon and Kent J. Bradford


Plants of two cultivars of processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill, cvs. UC82B and VF145B-7879) were sprayed with ethephon solutions 10 days prior to harvest. Seeds were extracted from fruits that had been tagged at anthesis to allow separation into age classes ranging from 31 to 70 days at harvest. Seed dry weight increased rapidly until ≈40 days after anthesis, then remained relatively constant for 10 to 15 days before increasing again. During the plateau phase, the initial (5-day) germination percentages increased by 20% to 40% and final (10-day) germination increased by 6% to 10%. Germination percentages then fell slightly with increasing maturity and dry weight accumulation. Preharvest ethephon treatment caused younger fruit to ripen and shifted the development of maximum germinability toward young seed ages, without influencing dry weight accumulation. Seeds ≤53 days old at harvest increased in germination due to ethephon treatment, whereas seeds older than 53 days showed decreased germination. Since the bulk of harvested seeds will be in the older classes, overall seed quality may be affected adversely by preharvest ethephon applications. Although seed lots from ethephon-treated plants still had acceptable germination, there would appear to be no benefit from ethephon applications to tomatoes destined solely for seed production. Chemical names used: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).