Seed Quality Influence on Plant Growth and Dinitrogen Fixation of Red Field Bean
Field bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) seeds represent an important nutritional component of the diets of many people in developing countries. Yet yields of this high-protein crop are typically much less in developing compared with developed regions. Seed quality is difficult to maintain in developing countries and can influence the growth and yield of many crops. This study evaluated the seed quality effect on emergence, plant growth, yield, and N2 fixation of ‘Pompadour Checa’ field bean. Both naturally and artificially (1, 2, and 3 d at 41 °C and 100% RH) aged seeds were planted in 1984 and 1985 in a Crosby silty clay loam (fine, mixed, mesic Aerie Ochraqualf) with an organic matter content of 3 to 5%. Percent emergence and normal seedlings decreased while percent abnormal seedlings increased with increasing seed deterioration. Plant growth was evaluated at the V3, R6, and R8 growth stages. Decreasing seed quality generally culminated in less top and root growth and less seed yield. Decreased seed yield was attributed to fewer seeds produced per plant, since no significant decrease in seed weight was observed. Seeds of lower quality also produced plants with fewer nodules, less nodule weight, and less dinitrogen fixation as determined by the acetylene reduction assay. The observed differences in plant vegetative and reproductive growth from seeds differing in quality may be associated with their ability to successfully form root nodules and fix N.
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