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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 32 No. 3, p. 653-656
    Received: Dec 26, 1990

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Identification of Pollenkitt Variation among Alfalfa Germplasm Sources

  1. John A. Henning and
  2. Larry R. Teuber 
  1. Dep. of Agronomy, and Range Science, Univ. of California, Davis, CA. 95616



Pollenkitt is the outermost lipid and fatty acid layer of the pollen grain and is thought to contain aroma-producing volatile compounds that are attractive to pollinators. Honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) nonpreference for alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) pollen may result from a deficient pollenkitt. This study was conducted to determine if: (i) a pollenkitt is present on alfalfa pollen, (ii) pollenkitt quantity differs among germplasm sources and among plants within germplasm sources, and (iii) pollenkitt measurements (scores) are reproducible over time. Pollen from ≥24 individuals in each of eight germplasm sources were stained for lipids with Sudan IV, observed by light microscopy, and then scored using a five-point rating system for the presence and amount of pollenkitt. Pollenkitt was present in all eight germplasm sources. Arabian germplasm had greater (P ≤ 0.05) amounts of pollenkitt (mean score 3.77) than all other sources. All sources exhibited within-population variation. If attractive volatiles are associated with alfalfa's pollenkitt, then breeding for increased pollenkitt may increase honey bee preference for alfalfa pollen.

Funded jointly by the California Alfalfa Seed Production Research Board and the California Crop Improvement Association.

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Copyright © 1992. Crop Science Society of America, Inc.Copyright © 1992 by the Crop Science Society of America, Inc.