Print version ISSN 0100-4158
COUTINHO, Wirton M. et al. Health and physiological quality of maize seeds submitted to thermotherapy and physiological preconditioning. Fitopatol. bras. [online]. 2007, vol.32, n.6, pp. 458-464. ISSN 0100-4158. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0100-41582007000600002.
Thermotherapy has been used for eliminating fungi on seeds. However, physiological and biochemical alterations, which may occur on seeds following this treatment, have not been thoroughly investigated. In this work, the efficacy of heat treatment (hot water) followed by osmopriming, in the control of fungi associated with maize seeds and its effects on physiological seed quality, was evaluated. The fungi associated with the seeds were detected by the deep-freezing blotter method, and physiological quality was determined by germination, first-germination counting and electric conductivity tests in addition to determination of eletrophoretic patterns of the enzymes: esterase (EST), malate dehidrogenase (MDH) and alcohol dehidrogenase (ADH). The heat treatment used was hot water at 60°C for 5, 10 and 20 minutes. After treatment, a fraction of the seeds was submitted to osmopriming on roll paper soaked in PEG 6000 solution at -1.2 MPa. All heat treatments reduced or eliminated Acremonium strictum on maize seeds. Heat treatments for 10 and 20 minutes reduced significantly the percentage of Fusarium verticillioides. Increasing period of heat treatment raised the values of conductivity and reduced significantly seed germination rate and first-germination counting. Heat treatment for 20 minutes altered the eletrophoretic pattern of esterase and malate dehidrogenase enzymes. Osmopriming did not reverse damage caused by the heat treatments.
Keywords : Zea mays; Acremonium strictum; Fusarium verticillioides; seed treatment; priming.