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Crop Science Abstract -

High Temperature Stress and Pollen Viability of Maize1


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 20 No. 6, p. 796-800
    Received: May 19, 1980

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  1. Maria Pilar Herrero and
  2. R. R. Johnson2



High temperatures during maize (Zea mays L.) pollinatiou are known to result in poor kernel set, but little is known of the direct effects of temperature on pollen germination. The purpose of this research was to determine how in vitru pollen germination of different maize genotypes is affected by high temperature stress during anthesis. Tassels from field-grown plants were excised at beginning anthesis, placed in water and transferred to growth chambers maintained at daytime temperatures of 27, 32, and 38 C. Nighttime temperatures were maintained 6 C cooler. In vitro germination was measured after 24 and 48 hours in the growth chamber as well as on pollen collected directly in the field. Genotypes differed in their response to temperature. In some genotypes pollen germination steadily decreased as temperature increased. Others either germinated equally well at 27 and 32 C or germinated better at 32 than at 27 C. All genotypes had a lower germination at 38 C than at 32 or 27 C, and several genotypes exhibited no germination after 48 hours at 38 C. After 24 hours in the 38 C chamber, six inbreds widely used in the 1970's germinated significantly better as a group than inbreds widely used in the 1950's and 1930's. Growth environment affected the absolute in vitro germination percentage, but in general genotypes retained similar relative responses to increasing temperature. Results from this study suggest that prolonged exposure to temperatures above 32 C can reduce pollen germination of many genotypes to levels near zero.

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