Improvement of Sugarcane Fertility by Modification of Cross-pollination Environment1
- Nils Berding and
- J. C. Skinner2
For routine cross-pollinatlon of sugarcane (Saccharum sp.), the Queensland Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations maintains cut flowering stalks in sulfurous acid solution, with panicles enclosed in sheltered, pollen-proof, cotton bags (lanterns) that are hung in roofed sheds sheltered from wind by light forest. Experiments were conducted in 1975 and 1977 to determine whether seed setting could be improved by modifying the lantern environment (temperature, relative humidity, and light) or by relocating the lanterns. Eight treatments were assessed with a factorial polycross of four female and four male clones, each male being isolated in a separate lantern. When pollination finished, spikelet availability on each panicle and the condition (healthiness) of each flowering stalk were subjectively assessed. Age at harvest, “seed” yield, germination/1 g “seed” sample, and total number of seeds germinated were determined for each panicle. Males were also assessed for pollen fertility in lanterns.
The number of seeds germinated from female panicles was approximately doubled by heating an insulated lantern wi th a 60 W incandescent bulb; heat without light was slightly better than heat with light. A heated but uninsulated lantern gave a 50% improvement in seedlings germinated over the control. A lantern with a clear plastic panel facing the morning sun also performed well but has practical limitations. Lanterns located in a temperature controlled building gave poor results despite temperatures being favorable.
Pollen fertility was not affected by the treatments. Environmental assessment using cross-pollinated females differed from that with self-pollinated males, indicating that selection of environments for cross-poliinatlon based on results with self-pollination is inappropriate.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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