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Priming for improved germination in stored wheat seeds (Triticum aestivum L.)

Research Scholar

Simone Silva, Plant Science/ Seed Production and Technology (Brazil)
Gabriel Bazo, Co-Researcher
Mark Bennett, Faculty Mentor
Pablo Jourdan, Faculty Mentor


Simone Silva received her undergraduate degree in agronomy from the São Paulo State University – Julio Mesquita Filho Brazil in 2007, and her Masters of Science in agronomy with a focus in crop production from the same institution in 2009. Silva is a third year PhD student in plant science with emphasis on seed production and technology at University of São Paulo. Currently, she is employing a scholarship from the Brazilian National Research Council to conduct a research project at The Ohio State University in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science as a visiting scholar under the supervision of Mark Bennett.

What is the issue or problem addressed in your research?

The use of pre-sowing treatments is an alternative to provide greater uniformity and speed of seed germination, and rapid seedling emergence and stand establishment. Techniques such as priming, which involves the control of seed hydration for a sufficient duration to allow the preparatory processes essential to germination to occur without protrusion of the primary root has been regarded as promising. Priming can improve the performance of seed lots in the field and also increase tolerance to adverse environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, excess or deficiency of water, salinity, soil compaction and the presence of pathogens and insects.

What methodology did you use in your research?

Two methods developed at The Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus, OH, are being used. First is a rotating drum, used for “drum priming” (hydropriming), which allows greater precision in water uptake and ease of seed handling, allowing specific control of seed moisture content. Drum priming minimizes the presence of free water and allows the hydration of seeds without concern about the use of chemicals or other osmotica. The second method used is an automated system for evaluating seed vigor, the “Seed Vigor Imaging System - SVIS®”. Through this technology, seedling images are captured by a scanner connected to a computer and then processed using patented software to generate numerical values (vigor indices from 0-1000), that collectively represent the quality of the seed lot. These indices are based on values obtained from the morphological characteristics of seedlings, as well as the speed and uniformity of seedling development.

What are the purpose/rationale and implications of your research?

The development of fast, safe and sensitive procedures to assess the physiological quality of seeds has assumed increasing importance in seed technology research and in the global seed industry. This research project aims to assess the efficiency of “drum priming” in several wheat seed lots varying in levels of mechanicals harvest injury, comparing the method of seed hydration on germination and seedling growth. The automated computer imaging system for vigor evaluation (SVIS®) will also be examined for its ability to ensure consistent results and objective seed quality assessments.