Cold tolerance useful for sweet corn improvement may be present in open-pollinated (OP) cultivars. Cold tolerance in sweet corn is the ability to germinate, emerge, and grow under low temperatures. The cold tolerance of 35 open-pollinated sweet corn populations and controls was measured by growing the entries under 14 °C day/10 °C night in growth chambers. The same entries were grown under warm (24 ± 2 °C) conditions in a greenhouse. Traits measured included percent and time to emergence, seedling color, and seedling root and shoot dry mass. Respective repeatability estimates calculated from mean squares were 0.08, 0.33, 0.33, 0.50, and 0.60 for these traits. Entries were ranked separately in each environment based on their performance using a rank-summation index. Differences in cold tolerance existed among the entries. Emergence ranged from 75% to 100% among the entries, with a mean of 90.9%. Time to emergence ranged from 16.2 to 21.9 d, with a mean of 18.2 d. Root and shoot mass ranged from 0.07 to 0.27 g/plot and 0.07 to 0.24 g/plot, respectively. Correlations among the traits measured were favorable, permitting simultaneous improvement. The rankings between the warm and cold environments were significantly correlated (r = 0.67***), indicating that some entries that performed well under low temperatures also performed well under warm conditions.
J.R. Hotchkiss, P. Revilla and W.F. Tracy
P. Revilla, J.R. Hotchkiss and W.F. Tracy
Many sweet corn hybrids germinate poorly and have low seedling vigor in cold soils. Sources of cold tolerance and an understanding of its inheritance would benefit sweet corn production. Our objective was to determine the genetics of cold tolerance among open-pollinated progenitors of modern sweet corn. Six open-pollinated sweet corn cultivars were used as parents of a diallel. The 15 crosses plus reciprocals, parents, and checks were evaluated in cold chambers. Growing conditions were 14 hours with light at 14 °C, and 10 hours without light at 10 °C. Days to emergence, percent emergence, shoot dry weight, and root dry weight were recorded. The experiment was repeated in the greenhouse under warm conditions. Variation for cold tolerance was present among the crosses and cultivars. The variation was primarily due to general combining ability (GCA) effects, with specific combining ability (SCA) effects and reciprocal effects being significant for seedling dry mater. `Howling Mob' had significant favorable GCAs for all cold tolerance traits and resulted in the most cold-tolerant hybrids. `Country Gentleman' and `Stowell's Evergreen' were the slowest emerging parents. Days to emergence under cold conditions was not correlated to days to emergence under warm conditions. The correlations between root weight (cold) and root weight (warm) and shoot weight (cold) and shoot weight (warm) were significant, positive, and relatively large. In this material it appears that seedling vigor under warm conditions could be used to predict seedling size under cold conditions.