Biological seed treatment offers a safe, environmentally responsible option for protection of seeds and seedlings from attack by soilborne pathogens. Most effective biological seed treatments have used either bacterial or fungal agents. The efficacy of a biological seed treatment depends upon the ability of the biocontrol agent to compete and function on the seed and in the rhizosphere under diverse conditions of soil pH, nutrient level, moisture, temperature, and disease pressure. Seed treatment performance may be improved through application and formulation technology. An example of this is the bio-priming seed treatment, a combination of seed priming and inoculation with Pseudomonas aureofaciens AB254, which was originally developed for protection of sh-2 sweet corn from Pythium ultimum seed decay. Bio-priming has been evaluated for protection of seed of sweet corn and other crops under a range of soil environmental conditions.
challenge for the establishment of Brassica crops in direct-seeded production. The use of protective compounds as seed treatment could improve crop tolerance to injury from PRE herbicides, making it feasible to direct-seed Brassica crops for production
Fungicides applied as soil drenches affect arbuscular-mycorrhizal (AM) fungal colonization of plant roots to different degrees, depending on the chemical used. However, the effect of fungicides applied as seed treatments has been less studied, and is of particular interest to growers who want to encourage beneficial mutualisms while protecting seedlings against pathogens. We tested the effects of four common seed treatments, Apron (mefenoxam), Thiram, Raxil (tebuconzaole), and Captan on colonization of `Superstar' muskmelon roots by the AM fungus Glomus intraradices in the greenhouse. By 30 days after planting, colonization was very high (>90% root length) for all treatments, with relatively minor (<10%) differences in percent length root with AM hyphae. The Apron seed treatment had the highest percent root length with hyphae, but the lowest amount of vesicles, while roots from Raxil and Captan-treated seeds had the lowest hyphal colonization and highest vesicle formation. Myconate ®, a commercial formulation of formononetin, an isoflavone previously shown to increase AM colonization, significantly increased the percent colonization of roots from the Raxil treatment, but not other treatments. Myconate also increased vesicle numbers in all but the Captan treatments, but not significantly.
Poor emergence and low seedling vigor are characteristics of many supersweet sweet corn (Zea mays L.) cultivars carrying the shrunken-2 (sh2) gene. Four sh2 sweet corn cultivar seeds [`How Sweet It Is' (HSII), `Crisp N' Sweet 711' (CNS-711), `Sweet Belle' (SB), and `Dazzle' (DZ)] were solid-matrix-primed (SMP), SMP with sodium hypochlorite (SMPcl), treated with a fungicide combination (F) (Imazalil + Captan + Apron + Thiram), or primed with the aforementioned fungicides (SMPf). The seed treatments were tested in the laboratory and the field. Seed imbibition and leachate electrical conductivity were lower in SMP seeds than in nonprimed seeds. In the field, emergence percentage and rate of CNS-711 and SB (high-vigor seeds) were not improved by the seed treatments compared to the nontreated seeds. Emergence percentage and rate of HSII and DZ (considered low-vigor seeds) were improved as a result of SMPcl, SMPf, or F treatments compared to nonprimed seeds. Compared to the F treatment, the SMPcl presowing treatment increased DZ seedling emergence rate and percentage. The combined SMP and seed disinfection via NaOCl seems to be a promising fungicide seed-treatment substitute that improves the stand establishment and seedling vigor of sh2 sweet corn cultivars. Chemical names used: 1-[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-2-(2-propenyloxy)ethyl]-1 H imidazole (Imazalil); N-[(trichloromethyl)thio]-4-cyclohexene-1,2-dicarboximide(Captan); N- (2,6-dimethylphenyl)- N -(methoxyacetyl)alanine methyl ester (Apron); tetramethylthiuram disulfide (Thiram).
Oenothera biennis, common evening primrose, is grown commercially for its seed, which contains high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a fatty acid with pharmaceutical and dietary importance. Other native species of Oenothera are being evaluated for the presence of GLA in their seed and their potential as a commercial source of GLA. Native evening primrose species have shown slow emergence and low germination percentages. Studies were conducted to determine the effects of chilling, scarification, and priming on germination of seed for six species of native evening primrose. Overall, seed germination was improved by seed treatments. However, responses to the various treatments differed among species.
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is one of the perennial, native, warm-season grasses recommended as a component of wildflower meadows. Seed treatments to alleviate low seed vigor and seed dormancy of switchgrass would enhance establishment of either plug transplants or seedlings after direct sowing into the meadow. “Heavy” seeds (45.5 mg/50 seeds) of open-pollinated switchgrass stored under cool and dry conditions (average 13 °C, 30% relative humidity) for 24 months had higher germination percentage than “light” seeds (26.0 mg per 50 seeds). In factorial combination, the heavy seeds were subjected to acid scarification (8 M H2SO4 for 5 min), sodium hypochlorite treatment (5.25% NaOCl for 15 min), and moist chilling (prechilling in 0.2% KNO3, for 14 days). Acid scarification followed by NaOCl treatment additively increased germination, a response that was associated with marked corrosion of the lemma margin in the distal region of the caryopsis, as observed by scanning electron microscopy. Prechilling the seeds following acid scarification and NaOCl further increased germination. All three treatments combined (acid scarification, NaOCl, and prechilling) almost doubled the final emergence and greatly increased seedling shoot dry mass in both a warm and cool postsowing environment. However, the effectiveness of these seed treatments was lost after 32 months of dry storage.
Emergence of snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in field soil in 1995 to 1997 was reduced by the addition of dried, ground canola [Brassica napus L. ssp. oleifera (Metzg.) Sinsk. f. biennis] leaves and petioles to the furrow at planting. Soil amendment with the tissue increased the number of nodules on bean roots in all years. In plots with reduced stand, leaf area was increased and yield on a per-plant basis was larger than in plots with a better stand. Total yield was increased in plots with fewer plants only in 1995. Frequency of isolation of fungi that cause damping-off was not affected by the addition of canola at planting. When used as a seed treatment and incorporated at planting, canola residues were detrimental to emergence of snap bean.
Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) is a noxious disease in cucurbits, especially in Asia where grafting is commonly practiced. CGMMV can be easily transmitted by seed, hands, soil, or grafting. Seed companies are rigorously looking for effective and efficient means of CGMMV inactivation in infected seeds. Among the various treatments applied to the seeds, dry heat treatment (35° C 1 day + 50 °C 1 day + 75 °C 3 days) was found to be most suitable for complete inactivation. Various identification methods including high-density latex agglutination test (HDLPAT), ELISA, RT-PCR, and bioassay (Chenopodium amaranticolor) were compared for accurate diagnosis of the presence of virus in seeds. The results from HDLPAT showed the highest correlation with the bioassay results, suggesting that HDLPAT can be safely used for accurate means of virus detection. Details of dry heat treatment, various seed treatment, and other detection methods will be presented.
Seed treatments with paclobutrazol (PB), a triazole growth retardant, were examined for seedling growth suppression without exerting a deleterious effect on germination or emergence. Seeds of `Salmon Picotee impatiens (Impatiens wallerana Hook f.) and `Marglobe tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were soaked for 24 or 48 hours at 22 °C in 0, 50, 500, or 1000 mg·L-1 PB or were primed in polyethylene glycol 8000 or grade 5 exfoliated vermiculite (both at -1.0 MPa for 7 days at 22 °C) containing these PB solutions. Any PB seed treatment of impatiens (including a series of lower concentrations up to 50 mg·L-1 PB) that elicited seedling growth suppression also reduced germination and emergence. For tomato, soaking seeds for 24 hours in up to 1000 mg·L-1 PB had little or no effect on germination or emergence, and yet shoot height or dry weight was not decreased further by exceeding 50 mg·L-1 PB. At any PB concentration, soaking seeds for 48 hours or priming seeds resulted in lower percentage of germination or emergence than soaking seeds for 24 hours. Soaking tomato seeds in 50 mg·L-1 PB for 24 hours resulted in similar shoot growth suppression until at least 31 days after planting as a growth medium drench (1 mg·L-1 PB) or as a shoot spray (10 mg·L-1 PB), both applied at 14 days after planting. Beyond 31 days after planting, however, the latter two treatments gave greater shoot growth suppression than the PB seed soak treatment, which had lost its growth suppressive effect. Chemical name used: (+)-(R *,R *)-[(4-chlorophenyl)methyl]- -(1,1,-dimethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).
Sweet corn (Zea mays L.) cultivars carrying the sh2 mutation show poor seed vigor under stressful field conditions, requiring higher seeding rates to ensure stand establishment. The effects of sodium hypochlorite seed disinfestation, solid matrix priming (SMP), and seed-coating with Gliocladium virens Miller, Giddens & Foster to enhance emergence of sh2 sweet corn in controlled-environment cold stress tests and field trials were investigated. In combination with a chemical fungicide seed treatment (captan, thiram, imazalil, and metalaxyl), SMP significantly improved the percentage and rate of seedling emergence of `Excel' and `Supersweet Jubilee' in a cold stress test (in soil for 7 days at 10C, then 15C until emergence) but was inconsistent under field conditions, improving emergence in only one of four field trials. Sodium hypochlorite disinfestation was ineffective. Compared to a film-coated control, coating seeds with G. virens strain G-6 was highly effective in increasing emergence in two of three cultivars tested in cold stress tests in two soils, while strain G-4 was generally ineffective. In field trials, G-6 treatment significantly increased emergence over that of nontreated seed but was inferior to conventional fungicide treatment and conferred no additional benefit in combination with fungicide treatment. Overall, no seed treatment evaluated was an economically viable alternative for or supplement to chemical fungicide treatment. Chemical names used: cis-N-trichloromethylthio-4-cyclohexene-1,2-dicarboximide (captan); tetramethyl-thiuram disulfide (thiram); 1-[2-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-2-(2-propenyloxy)ethyl]-1H-imidazole (imazalil); N-(2,6-dimethylphenyl)-N-(methoxyacetyl)-alanine methyl ester (metalaxyl).