THE EFFECT OF SEED ENHANCEMENT TECHNOLOGIES ON THE GERMINATION OF SUGAR BEET QUANTIFIED BY X-RAY COMPUTED TOMOGRAPHY
Blunk, S.1, Malik, A.H.2, de Heer, M.I.3, Ekblad, T.2, Fredlund, K.2, Mooney, S.J.1 and Sturrock, C.J.
1Division of Agriculture and Environmental Science, School of Biosciences – The University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, Loughborough. LE12 6HW UK
2Syngenta Seeds AB, Sabyholmsvägen 24, Box 302, SE-261 23, Landskrona, Sweden
3Syngenta Crop Protection, Bracknell, RG42 6EY, UK
Contact: Sebastian Blunk, email@example.com
With an increasing demand for food production, there is a need to increase crop yield and efficiency. Seed enhancement technologies (e.g. seed pelleting, seed coating and seed priming) are important for ensuring consistency in crop yield, however, their efficacy has mainly been investigated in laboratory conditions excluding soil or under field conditions evaluating the yield. The application of X-ray Computed Tomography (X-ray CT) allows a non-destructive and temporal quantification of the germination process in soil to understand the interactions between the soil and the surrounding soil matrix.
In this study, we used X-ray CT to quantify the differences between applied seed enhancement technologies (naked, coated, pelleted and pelleted + coated) prior to sowing, checking on the spatial distribution of applied seed coating materials (e.g. wood, clay, pesticides).
Furthermore, we analysed the effect of a wide range of treatments on sugar beet seed germination during the early growth stage (e.g. first 4 days). The results indicated coated seeds had a slower initial growth rate in comparison to the other treatments, although the growth rate rapidly increased after emergence so that all treatments were similar by day 4. The pelleting treatment, used to improve sowing accuracy when the seeds, showed a steady increase in root growth whereas the naked treatment expressed a constant rate after day 2. The pre-germination priming treatment accelerated the growth rate of all treatments significantly over a growth period of 14 days compared to the non-primed treatments regardless of physical enhancements applied on the outer surface.
With this study, the suitability of Xray CT for quantification and visualisation could be verified and the germination process of enhanced sugar beet seeds in situ observed. Furthermore, it was possible to quantify physical alterations of seed enhancements and the distribution of materials within coatings and pelleting. This study contributes towards the selection of appropriate seed enhancement technologies to ensure maximum yield and consistency.
Keywords: Sugar beet, germination, seed enhancement, X-ray Computed Tomography