Rice cold tolerance at the germination stage is important in Rio Grande do Sul (RS) where temperatures below 15°C prevent or reduce germination and plant establishment in early sowings. The present study aimed at identifying an adequate method for cold tolerance evaluation of the rice germination stage and at verifying the variability among 24 rice genotypes of different origins. Cold tolerance was evaluated in experiment I, germination under two conditions: 13°C for 28 days and 28°C for seven days, and in experiment II, germination under 28°C for 72 hours, 13°C for 96 hours and again 28°C for 72 hours. In experiment I measured characteristics were germination index, percentage of seeds with coleoptile length superior to 5 mm and percentage of reduction in coleoptile length due to cold. In experiment II the measured characteristic was coleoptile regrowth after the cold period. Cold tolerance varied among genotypes studied in both experiments, but only the percentage of reduction in coleoptile length and coleoptile regrowth allowed a better distinction between the tolerant checks and the susceptible one. In general, genotypes belonging to the Japonica subspecies presented higher cold tolerance than Indica, but there was variability within subspecies. The most adequate method of evaluation of cold tolerance is through percentage of reduction in coleoptile length and coleoptile regrowth. Among Japonica genotypes, Quilla 64117 and Diamante presented the highest cold tolerance, and among Indica, cultivars BR-IRGA 410 and IRGA 416 were the most cold tolerant at the germination stage.
Oryza sativa L.; low temperature; variability; Indica and Japonica subspecies