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A.K. Carter, R.S. Stevens, J.R. Hamm and N.W. Hopper

Twenty-eight seedlots of Capsicum annuum from several commercial seed companies were tested for tolerance to low temperatures. Each cultivar was tested three times at 25, 20, and 15°C in laboratory incubators. It was observed that while high germination percentages (r85%) and fast germination rates were found in several seedlots, the relationship was not strongly linked to type of chile, age of seed, or treatment temperature. Of the 28 seedlots, 14 came from companies which are in the top 10% in volume and sales. The other 14 seedlots were from smaller companies. Seventy-one percent of the seedlots with germination at r85% came from the top ten companies. Ninety-two percent of the seedlots with s85% came from small companies. To further test this finding, we randomly choose six seedlots from a small company and 6 seedlots from a small company. There was a clear delineation in germabiltiy between the small company and the large company. Our results indicate a trend that could have a negative impact on some chile seed markets. Electrical conductivity (EC) is commonly used to detect membrane leakage in seeds. Chile seed from 12 seedlots (6 from the large company and 6 from the small company) were soaked 18 hours at 25 and 5°C. There was a negative correlation (r 2 = 0.76) between the 15°C germination at 40 days and the EC. It is important to determine why membrane leakage varies in seedlots from different companies and whether the leakage is due to phenotypic or cultural factors, or due to management practices within the company.