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This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 72 No. 4, p. 657-662
    Received: Sept 7, 1979

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Seed Protein and Nitrogen Effects Upon Seedling Vigor in Wheat1

  1. E. A. Bulisani and
  2. R. L. Warner2



Seedling vigor appears to be enhanced by seed protein, but the influence of exogenous N supply and timing upon this effect have not been clearly established. Growth chamber and field experiments were conducted to determine the effects of seed protein and N upon seedling vigor of ‘Nugaines’ and ‘Wanser’ winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Seed were obtained from a N fertility experiment, sieved into seven size classes, and analyzed for protein. Seed protein content varied from approximately 8 to 16%. Within each seed lot the largest seed had approximately a 2.5% higher protein percentage than the smallest seed.

In growth chamber experiments seedling vigor was significantly increased by seed weight and percent protein. However, most of the variation was attributed to the amount of N in the seed and not to the percentage protein or seed weight per se. The addition of N sigoificantly increased seedling dry weight and N content, and promoted a significant two-fold increase in the shoot-to-root ratio. Differences in seedling vigor due to seed protein content were eliminated if adequate N was applied within the first 3 days of germination. Rate of emergence and grain yields in the field on a Palouse silt loam soil (fine-silty, mixed, mesic Pachic Ultic Haploxerolls) were not affected by seed protein content. However, large seed significantly increased the seedling emergence rate index and grain yields. Nitrogen application had no effect upon emergence rate which may have been due to the availability of high levels of soil N.

Seed protein enhances seedling vigor (dry weight) if N is withheld for more than the first 3 days of germination, but apparently has no effect if adequate N is available during early stages of germination.

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