Monday, November 13, 2006

The Effects of Moisture Content and Frost Damage on Seeds in a Maize Population.

Heather S. Hall, Mindy DeVries, and Susana Goggi. Iowa State Univ, Dept of Agronomy, 183D Seed Science Center, Ames, IA 50011

Freezing injury in maize can decrease seed germination.  Late season frost is a natural occurrence seed corn companies deal with across the Midwest.  This study was conducted to determine if immature maize seeds have mechanisms to survive a frost.  The maize population used in this experiment survived a natural frost at the plant stage. Seed was harvested at 30, 40, and 50% moisture.  Half of the seed was subjected to an artificial frost cycle simulating a natural fall frost.  Seed viability and vigor tests were conducted on the seed to determine how this population responded to frost.  Standard germination test was used to determine seed viability. Saturated cold and accelerated aging tests were used as a measure of seed vigor. Viability and vigor decreased with the frost treatment.  Moisture content at harvest was also a significant factor (P <0.05) in all tests. The seeds harvested at 30 and 40% moisture were significantly different from the 50% moisture content but not from each other.  This population responded to frost treatment similarly to other genotypes that have been studied.