Durum wheat seed germination response to hydrogel coatings and moisture under drought stress.
Higginbotham, Clement L.
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Abstract: Technologies that can increase crop production while maintaining low pollution are essential for sustainable agriculture. This study compares the germination performance of Durum wheat seeds (Triticum durum Desf.) which were coated with synthetic coatings [polyacrylamide (PA)] and novel natural coatings [mixtures of agar/ι- carrageenan (AC)] at different moisture levels. A number of germination performance indicators were measured for each of the categories of coatings. These included: (i) % germination, (ii) radicle emergence, (iii) speed of germination, (iv) seedling length, (v) fresh seed weight and (vi) seed vigour index. Results showed that both the synthetic and natural coatings improved germination performance in the Durum wheat seeds versus the untreated seeds when non-drought (80% moisture) conditions were used. However, when 40% moisture levels were used, the natural coated seeds showed a 6% improvement in germination performance over the synthetic PA coated seeds. This improved germination performance under drought stress along with the fact that these novel AC coatings used are completely natural and environmentally friendly suggests that these novel coatings have a big future in seed coatings, especially in countries which experience drought conditions and are dependent on natural irrigation.
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