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Priming, a controlled-hydration treatment followed by redrying, improves the germination and emergence of seeds from many species. We compared osmotic and matric priming to determine which was the most effective treatment for improving broccoli seed germination and to gain a greater understanding of how seed vigor is enhanced by priming. Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. var. italica) seeds were osmotically primed in polyethylene glycol (PEG 8000) at -1.1 MPa or matrically primed in a ratio of 1.0 g seed:0.8 g synthetic calcium silicate (Micro-Cel E):1.8 ml water at -1.2 MPa. In the laboratory, germination rates and root lengths were recorded from 5 to 42C and 10 to 35C, respectively. Broccoli seeds germinated poorly at >35C. Root growth after germination was more sensitive to temperatures >30C and <15C than radicle emergence. Matric and osmotic priming increased germination rate in the laboratory, greenhouse, and field. However, matric priming had a greater effect on germination and root growth rates from 15 to 30C. Neither priming treatment affected minimum or maximum germination or root growth temperatures. Both priming treatments decreased the mean thermal time for germination by >35%. The greater germination performance of matrically primed seeds was most likely the result of increased oxygen availability during priming, increased seed Ca content, or improved membrane integrity.

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Seedlings of sweet corn (Zea mays L. cv. Iochief) were grown in sand with 3 rates of N at a moderate and severe water-stress rate produced by adding polyethylene glycol (PEG 6000) to the nutrient solution. As water stress increased, dry-matter production decreased. Increasing N rate compensated in part for the loss in dry-matter production that resulted from the water stress. Leaf chlorophyll levels and stomatal density on the abaxial leaf surface increased with an increase in N, and a faster recovery of the relative water content of leaf tissue following waterstress treatment occurred. All 3 responses could have contributed to the N response in dry-matter production observed at the 2 water-stress levels. A low N rate may aid young sweet corn seedlings under severe water stress to resist drought, as indicated by a stabilization in dry-matter production in plants receiving only 8 mm N in the nutrient solution when moving from moderate to severe water stress. These plants had a higher relative water content and leaf water potential under severe water stress than plants receiving higher rates of N, which may have contributed to the ability of plants receiving a low-N rate to cope with the severe water stress.

Open Access
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Abstract

The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between seed density and seed quality of vegetable seeds hydrated by imbibing or priming procedures. Species studied were: lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.), onion (Allium cepa L.), cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata L.), and carrot (Daucus carota L.). Seeds of each crop were soaked in either aerated distilled water at 25C (imbibed seeds) or polyethylene glycol (PEG) 8000 at 15C (primed seeds). After soaking, seeds were separated into density classes with a float-sink procedure using aqueous solutions of Maltrin 600 (Maltrin 500 for lettuce) with 0.02 g·cm−3 density increments. Significant (P > 0.01) positive relationships were determined between seed density classes and germination percentages for lettuce, tomato, and onion seeds, whether separated after imbibition (R 2 = 0.93, 0.83, and 0.66, respectively) or after priming (R 2 = 0.95, 0.94, and 0.91, respectively). High-density classes of hydrated lettuce, tomato, and onion seeds in either the imbibed or primed treatment usually exhibited faster and more uniform rates of radicle emergence and, after 6 days, had longer hypocotyls (cotyledon for onions) than low-density classes. The significant quality differences exhibited among the density classes of lettuce, tomato, and onion seeds after priming will enable seedlots of these species to be upgraded by discarding the low-density, poor-quality seeds.

Open Access

Abstract

Two species of tomato, Lycopersicon chilense Dun. and Solanum pennellii Corr., which have drought-resistant characteristics, were compared to the commercial tomato, Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Campbell 1327, to evaluate the effects of water deficits on germination and early seedling growth at 25, 30, and 35°C. Five levels or water stress (0, −2, −4, −6, and −8 bars) were maintained by solutions of polyethylene glycol (PEG) 6000. Germination of dry seed was inhibited more by water stress than by growth of the germinated seedlings of each species. Germinated seed of all species were able to continue growth at 35° plus water stress at all levels, while germination under the same conditions was totally suppressed. The water-sensitive phase of germination occurred just prior to radicle emergence. Emergence was not affected by sowing germinated seed in a drying soil; but sowing dry seed under the same conditions resulted in a decrease in emergence. Germination and seedling growth of L. chilense and S. pennellii were more sensitive to water stress than L. esculentum at 25°. At 30 and 35°, L chilense, S. pennellii and L. esculentum had similar rates of germination and similar amounts of early seedling growth.

Open Access

Abstract

Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Empire’) seeds (achenes) were given an osmotic priming treatment (24 hr in aerated —1.5 MPa polyethylene glycol (PEG 8000) solution at 18°C in the light) which alleviated thermodormancy in laboratory tests. The seeds then were coated commercially for precision planting. Additional seeds also received a proprietary treatment for enhancing high temperature germination (Royal Sluis Split-kote D). In field trials in the Imperial Valley of California, where the soil temperature exceeded 35°C for the first 11 hr of imbibition under sprinkler irrigation, total emergence of untreated seeds after 6 days was between 18% and 21%, whereas that of primed and Splitkote D seeds ranged from 46% to 69%. Uniformity and rate of emergence were also greater for the primed seeds, with 91 % of the final emergence occurring by the 3rd day, as compared to only 70% for the control. Seed priming prior to coating can be an effective method of improving lettuce stand establishment under high temperature conditions.

Open Access

Priming permits seeds to slowly imbibe water at regulated rates and to begin the initial stages of germination. Hypertonic polyethylene glycol (PEG) 8000 solutions of 1.0 and 1.2 MPa at 15C improved seed germination of dusty miller (Senecio cineraria DC.). At 0.8 MPa, germination was promoted during priming. No differences in rates, span, or total germination were found among seeds primed for 1, 2, or 3 weeks with or without aeration during priming. Germination percentages of primed and nonprimed seeds were similar at 10, 15, 20, and 25C, but 42% to 81% higher for primed seed at 30 or 35C. Priming reduced days to 50% of total germination (T50) 23% to 61%, and germination spans in days 30% to 67%. Primed seeds germinated most rapidly and uniformly at 20 and 25C. No change in total germination, T50, or germination span resulted when moisture contents of primed seeds were lowered to 7.8% or seeds were held at –80C for 7 days. Primed seed performance was unchanged after storage at 5C and 52% RH for 16 weeks.

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As ancestors of higher plants, mosses offer advantages as simple model organisms in studying complex processes. The moss Physcomitrella patens became a powerful model system in the last few years (Cove and Knight, 1993). Adaptation of PEG-mediated DNA uptake procedure has permitted the establishment of efficient molecular genetic approaches. To study possible effects of a Type I phytochrome, the potato phyA gene was introduced into the moss P. patens. Stabile transformants exhibited a range of similar phenotypes (Schaefer et al., 1991). The aim was to differentiate the wild type from the transgenic moss plants with simple, quick measurements providing data suitable for analyzing offspring populations. Ten different morphological and biochemical methods were used to investigate the phenotype in order to choose the best phenotypical category to indicate the presence and the effect of the phytochrome transgene. Two selected strains were used with the most and the least intensive phenotypical features (3*, 29), along with their selfed progenies, as well as progenies from crosses with the nicotinic-acid auxotrophic mutant. The best methods to differentiate between wild type and transgenic plants were the statistical analysis of the number of gametophores, photometric measurement of pigment contents and composition under different light conditions, color evaluation by PC-based vision system, and visual observation of morphogenetic changes. Our investigations support that the potato phytochrome transgene has a pleiotropic effect in the moss P patens. The methods used would be applicable for the characterization of mosses with different transgenes.

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Unilateral incompatibility has limited the direction of crossing between L. esculentum and L. hirsutum; the latter can only serve as the pollen parent. In an attempt to introduce the L. hirsutum cytoplasm into L. esculentum, thirty-three somatic hybrid plants have been regenerated following four separate fusions between leaf protoplasts of L. hirsutum PI 126445 and etiolated hypocotyl protoplasts of L. esculentum (`OH7870', `OH832', and `OH8245'). A 33% PEG solution supplemented with 10% DMSO was used as the fusogen. Selection of fusion products was based on treatment of L. hirsutum protoplasts with 1 mM iodoacetic acid and non-regenerability of the L. esculentum genotypes. Hybridity was initially confirmed by intermediate morphology, including leaf shape, type of trichomes, flower shape, stigma placement, and fruit size and color. Isozyme analysis for GOT, PGM, and 6-PDH verified hybridity. Six of the hybrids produced viable seed upon selfing. At least some of the hybrids contained chloroplast DNA from L. hirsutum, indicating that the wild species cytoplasm may be present in these plants.

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Triploid watermelon seed does not germinate in cold, wet soils as well as diploids; germination is slower due to reduced embryo size and thicker seed coat; fissures on the seed coat provide safe harbour for fungal spores; and triploid fruit set is later than most diploid cultivars. Because of these problems producers often transplant rather than direct-seed seedless watermelons. Seed priming has been shown to improve germination in other crops and would be an attractive method allowing for direct seeding of seedless watermelons. Seed from open-pollinated 4n × 2n crosses were primed in solutions of H2O, polyethylene glycol 8000, KNO3, or left untreated. Treatment times were 1, 3, or 6 days, and treated seed were subsequently dried for either 1 or 7 d. Seed were scored for germination in the laboratory and emergence under field conditions. Germination was better using H2O than KNO3 and PEG but not always better than the untreated control. Treatment time of 1 day was superior to 3 or 6 days, but length of drying time was insignificant. In the field trial, treatments did not differ in emergence.

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High-density, annual, strawberry production systems (“plasti-culture”) have shown high productivity under New Jersey conditions; however, cultural practice and variety research is needed to increase profitability. The system includes raised beds, plastic mulch, trickle irrigation, and double-row 12 × 12-inch plant spacing. Polypropylene floating rowcovers were applied in December and removed in early April when flowers were visible under the cover. Treatments included comparisons of plugs and dormant crowns of the cultivars Chandler and Allstar, planted at multiple planting dates, on white or plastic mulch, in “matted-row” (single row at 18-inch spacing; peg runners through plastic) or high-density production systems. The plug plants were superior to dormant crowns. Black plastic was best all planting dates with plugs; `Allstar' performed best on black on the early planting dates, while `Chandler' preferred the white for the early planting dates. Both `Allstar' and `Chandler' had commercially profitable yield, fruit weight, and quality. “Matted-row” system on plastic is high-yielding but labor-intensive. Late-summer plugs on black plastic is best overall.

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