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Seed improvement by selection and invigoration

Seleção e envigoramento como técnicas para o aprimoramento do desempenho de sementes

The basis of differences in seed quality are described for two groups of crops, grain legumes and vegetables and approaches to the improvement of quality are proposed. In grain legumes the major factors affecting seed quality are imbibition damage, seed ageing and their interaction. It is proposed that use of seed vigour tests, specifically the electrical conductivity test, to identify the incidence of imbibition damage and ageing allows the selection of seed lots for sale and for use under different field conditions. Alternatively in grain legume species in which there is a genotypic influence on predisposition to imbibition damage the approach to seed improvement may lie through selection in breeding programmes. Thus identification of testa characteristics that favour slow imbibition would enable selection for these characteristics. Seed ageing is also the major cause of reduced seed quality in vegetable species, leading to slow and asynchronous germination. An approach to their seed improvement has been the development of seed invigoration treatments based on seed hydration. The principle of these treatments is described and several treatments outlined, with emphasis being given to aerated hydration, a treatment completed within 36h. The physiological basis of improvement by invigoration is discussed.

grain legumes; vegetables; vigour; imbibition damage; ageing; testa pigmentation; invigoration treatments; metabolic repair

Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz" USP/ESALQ - Scientia Agricola, Av. Pádua Dias, 11, 13418-900 Piracicaba SP Brazil, Phone: +55 19 3429-4401 / 3429-4486 - Piracicaba - SP - Brazil