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Crop Science Abstract -

Tetrazolium Chloride Test for Spring Wheat Seedling Vigor at Low Temperatures1


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 26 No. 1, p. 167-169
    Received: Mar 4, 1985

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  1. W. J. Johnston,
  2. H. A. Yusuf,
  3. C. F. Konzak and
  4. J. D. Maguire2



Low soil temperature is a major environmental factor limiting seedling establishment of early sown spring wheat [Triticura aestivum (L.)]. This laboratory study was conducted to determine if a red pigment, formazan, extracted from tetrazolium chloride (TZ)-treated embryos could be used as a rapid quantitative test to screen spring wheat cultivars for low temperature seedling vigor. The effects of several factors were considered in developing the screening technique. These were seed size, sample size, length and temperature of the imbibition period, and the correlation of formazan optical density (OD) values with vigor. Seeds of different size categories were imbibed for various time periods at test temperatures (5, 7, or 10°C) prior to the addition of TZ. Formazan was then extracted and OD readings were obtained. Vigor was estimated by measuring shoot length after growth in the dark for 20 days at 10°C or 31 days at 5°C in a water culture medium. Seedling dry weight was also taken after 20 days growth at 10°C. Test results showed that differences among the genotypes for seedling vigor were correlated with formazan OD values. The larger the seed size class the greater the TZ reduction ability. Either five or 10 seeds per genotype were shown to give good genotype separation with low coefficients of variability. Genotypic differences in TZ reduction were apparent after 4 or 5 days imbibition at 5°C or 2 or 3 days imbibition at 10°C. At 7°C, genotypic differences in TZ reduction were apparent at 3, 4, or 5 days. A 4-day imbibition period at 7°C appeared to. offer the greatest efficiency for genotypic screening. The test promises to be a simple, comparatively rapid, and reliable method for screening wheat genotypes for low temperature seedling vigor.

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