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  • Author or Editor: Melkizedek O. Oluoch x
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Melkizedek O. Oluoch and Gregory E. Welbaum

Priming (controlled hydration followed by drying) has been shown to decrease seed storage life in some species The germinablity of primed (0.3 M KNO3, 6 d, 25°C) and unprimed muskmelon (Cucumis melo L., cv. PMR 45) seeds were compared after storage for 9 yrs at less than 20°C and 6% moisture content (MC) (dwt basis). Germination performance was compared at 30°C in water and polyethylene glycol solutions of -0.2, -0.4, -0.6, -0.8, and -1.0 MPa water potential or in water at 15, 20, and 25°C. Seeds were also germinated in field soils at 17, 19, and 21% (dwt. basis) MC in a greenhouse, Some seeds were subjected to controlled deterioration at 20% MC and 45°C for 72 hrs prior to testing. The germination percentage and rate of stored, primed seeds at 30°C and all water potentials was less than stored, unprimed seeds. At 30°C, stored, unprimed seeds germinated more rapidly and to higher percentages at -0.2 MPa than in water, while germination percentages and rates of stored, primed seeds were essentially the same. At 15, 24, and 25°C, stored, primed seeds outperformed unprimed seeds in all germination tests. In saturated soils at 21% MC, there was no germination of either stored, primed or unprimed seed. At 17% soil MC, stored, primed seeds germinated 73% compared to only 56% for unprimed seeds. The enhancement due to priming was retained after 9 yrs of storage at germination temperatures <30°C. At higher temperatures, the germination of unprimed seeds was superior to primed.

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Melkizedek O. Oluoch and Gregory E. Welbaum

The viability and vigor of osmotically primed (0.3 m KNO3, 6 days, 25C) and nonprimed `PMR 45' muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) seeds were compared after storage for 9 years at <20C and 6% moisture content (MC, dry weight basis). Viability was compared at 20, 25, and 30C at water potentials of 0, -0.2, -0.4, -0.6, and -0.8 MPa and in soil. Additionally, stored primed and nonprimed seeds were either primed, aged (15% MC and 45C) for up to 8 days, or aged for 72 hours and primed. The force required to puncture 5-mm-long, micropylar seed pieces was measured using an Instron universal testing machine. Less force was required to puncture primed seed pieces at 0, 5, 15, 20, and 25 hours of imbibition, demonstrating that osmotic priming weakens the perisperm envelope tissue that the radicle must penetrate for germination to occur. In an earlier report, germination rate and final germination percentages were higher for osmotically primed seeds both in laboratory tests and field emergence studies conducted immediately after priming. After 9 years in storage, nonprimed seeds germinated to higher percentages in water at 30C and reduced water potential at all temperatures, while primed seeds germinated to higher percentages in water at 20 and 25C and exhibited a higher percentage of seedling emergence at a soil MC of 17%. Priming durations of ≤5 days had no effect on the viability, while longer durations decreased the viability of stored primed and nonprimed seeds. Priming generally decreased the log mean time to germination of stored nonprimed seeds but increased values for stored primed seeds. Controlled deterioration increased the log mean time to germination and decreased the viability of primed seeds faster than nonprimed seeds. Priming following controlled deterioration had no effect on nonprimed seeds and reduced the percent viability of primed seeds by 20%. Osmotic priming has a deleterious effect on the seed storage life of muskmelon seeds.