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Scarification of Seeds of Capsicum chinense Jacq. With Phytohormones and Physicochemical Treatments to Improve Seedling Quality



Edmundo Gomez-Mendez, Lucero Polanco-Arjona, Rosa Ma. Salinas-Hernandez, Jose Manuel Salaya-Dminguez and Hortensia Brito-Vega
 
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ABSTRACT

Background and Objective: Loss of viability is one of the main problems of habanero pepper seeds. After being in storage for more than three months, the speed and final percentage of germination of habanero pepper seeds decrease considerably. The aim of the study was proposed to evaluate hormonal, chemical and physical treatments in the scarification of seeds of habanero pepper Capsicum chinense Jacq. to determine the effect of dormancy on germination and seedling quality. Materials and Methods: The seven treatments were: T1 (hot water at 50°C/5 min), T2 (Biozyme TF 1.6% (v/v)/24 hrs), T3 (Sodium chloride (NaCl) 0.5 M/24 hrs), T4 (Gibberellic acid (AG3)) at 400 ppm/20 hrs), T5 (cold 4°C/48 hrs), T6 (Potassium nitrate (KNO3) 3%/24 hrs), T7 (seeds without treatment). The agronomic parameters evaluated were (a) Germination (%), (b) Germination percentage, (c) Cumulative germination over time (%) and (d) Seedling quality, which was evaluated through the following parameters: seedling height, number of leaves, stem diameter and root length. Results: The data were subjected to analysis of variance. The statistical analysis showed no significant differences in germination percentage between the evaluated treatments (α<0.05). The treatments that showed the highest average values were hot water, Biozyme TF and Gibberellic acid, with germination percentages above 90%. Conclusion: Phytohormonal scarification with Biozyme TF stimulated seed germination and led to 90% of the seeds germinating on the same day, with high-quality seedlings of up to 80-90%.

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Edmundo Gomez-Mendez, Lucero Polanco-Arjona, Rosa Ma. Salinas-Hernandez, Jose Manuel Salaya-Dminguez and Hortensia Brito-Vega, 2021. Scarification of Seeds of Capsicum chinense Jacq. With Phytohormones and Physicochemical Treatments to Improve Seedling Quality. Journal of Agronomy, 20: 25-34.

DOI: 10.3923/ja.2021.25.34

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=ja.2021.25.34
 
Copyright: © 2021. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the creative commons attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

INTRODUCTION

In Mexico, the cultivation of chili peppers (Capsicum spp.), together with corn and beans, is part of a food production system that has sustained human life in Mesoamerica for thousands of years. The genus Capsicum has domesticated at least 5000 BC and its species have become the most consumed worldwide. Chili peppers were taken from America to Europe, Asia and Africa by the Spanish and Portuguese and became a crop consumed worldwide1. Habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense) is traditionally produced in the Yucatan Peninsula: Campeche and Quintana Roo. The traditional open field yields vary from10-40 t ha–1. Quintana Roo has further developed the production technology of habanero pepper under greenhouse conditions using low and medium technology, specifically in the enterprise Hidroponia, which works with medium technology and has 40 ha of greenhouses, Yields per square meter vary from 7-12 kg in both production systems, the production is channelled to Mexico including Mexico City for fresh consumption and to prepare sauces and to the USA and Canada for industrialization2. The cultivation of habanero chili has spread to different states of the country, with an estimated production of 9351 t (worth 166.9 million pesos) in 2018-2019. The main producing states were Yucatan, Tabasco and Campeche. In Tabasco alone, 800 ha were cultivated with habanero chilli in 2019, producing 2671 t of this increasingly valuable crop product3. The production of a profitable crop require high-quality seeds, which have a greater probability of leading to the successful establishment of seedlings because they maintain greater viability during storage. Seed quality depends on genetic, phytosanitary, physical and physiological aspects, the latter of which include viability, germination capacity and vigour, which are affected by the growth conditions of the mother plant during seed development, the degree of maturity at the time of harvest and the harvesting method. In some species, the maturity of the seeds coincides with the maturity of the fruits, so that the early-harvested fruits provide poor quality seeds4. Loss of viability is one of the main problems of habanero pepper seeds. After being in storage for more than three months, the speed and final percentage of germination of habanero pepper seeds decrease considerably. Conditioning the seeds before sowing helps to reinvigorate, accelerate and standardize the germination process under optimal and adverse conditions, reducing the time between imbibition and seedling emergence5. One of the greatest challenges in the production of habanero peppers is to have healthy and vigorous seedlings of excellent quality at the time of transplantation6, Several variables directly influence germination and natural conditions are often unfavourable for this process. In some species of the genus Capsicum, chemical, physical and hormonal treatments have been used for seed scarification due to the advantages they offer, such as ease of use and relatively low application costs. The objective of this present study, therefore, was to evaluate hormonal, chemical and physical treatments in the scarification of seeds of habanero pepper Capsicum chinense Jacq. to determine the effect of dormancy on germination and seedling quality.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Description of the study area: The study was carried out in the nursery and greenhouse area of the Academic Division of Agricultural Sciences and in the Plant Health Laboratory of DACA-UJAT, located on the Villahermosa-Teapa road, km 25 Ra–1, La Huasteca 2nd. Section, Municipality of Centro, Tabasco, Mexico. The study was carried out at the soil and plant chemical and physical analysis laboratory, Agricultural Sciences Research Center and also for the preparation of trays, sowing, germination, growth and development of Capsicum chinense was carried out in the area greenhouses of the Academic Division of Agricultural Sciences, Villahermosa-Tabasco from January-December, 2019.

Genetic material: Seeds from the orange variety of Habanero pepper Capsicum chinense Jacq. were used. The seeds were obtained from healthy, ripe fruits of uniform size, freshly harvested from plants grown hydroponically in the greenhouses of the Academic Division of Agricultural Sciences.

Description of the treatments: (1) Hot water has proved to be a simple and practical, low-cost and effective alternative for seed sanitary control in germination tests7, (2) Biozyme TF is a growth regulator based on plant extracts and biologically active phytohormones8, such as gibberellic acid, auxins and cytokinins. It acts at the cellular level, stimulating cell division and elongation9, (3) Sodium chloride (NaCl)10. Physiologically, salinity is expressed as salt concentration in millimolar units (Mm), (4) Gibberellic acid (AG3) is a natural compound that acts as plant growth and development regulator. Gibberellins are directly involved in the control and promotion of seed germination11, (5) Refrigeration is used when the seeds need to be affected by low temperatures to germinate12, (6) Potassium nitrate is a chemical used to promote seed germination. The use of nitrate solutions has been effective in increasing seed germination13 and (7) In the control treatment, no chemical or physical products were applied to the seeds.

Table 1:Scarification treatments evaluated in seeds of habanero Capsicum chinense Jacq
Treatments Description Time
T1 Hot water 50°C 5 min
T2 Biozyme TF1.6% (v/v) 24 hrs
T3 Sodium chloride (NaCl) 0.5 Molar 24 hrs
T4 Gibberellic acid (GA3)at 400 ppm 20 hrs
T5 Refrigeration 4°C 48 hrs
T6 Potassium nitrate (KNO3) 3% 24 hrs
T7 Control (seeds without treatment) -------

Experimental design: The treatments were distributed in a completely randomized experimental design in an area of 2×2 m2 covered with shade mesh (Table 1). There were seven treatments with four repetitions. Each experimental unit consisted of a tray of 200 wells containing peat moss substrate and 25 seeds per repetition for a total of 700 seeds.

Seed extraction: The seeds were selected from freshly harvested mature fruits of uniform size and good phytosanitary appearance, with an average weight of 10.21 g, an average diameter of 2.9 cm and an average length of 4.6 cm. The selected fruits were taken to the laboratory to extract the seeds from fruit using gloves and a scalpel. Impurities (pericarp remains) were then removed to obtain clean seeds.

Cleaning and selection of seeds: After extracting the seeds, they were cleaned using the float in water, while viable seeds are denser and sink14, which consists of immersing the seeds in water for 24 hrs. Full seeds stay at the bottom of the glass, while empty seeds and other impurities float to the surface. In this way, 700 seeds were selected and counted. These were then divided into groups of 100 to subject them to the respective treatments.

Experiment: The seed treatments were applied as follows: T1 Hot water. Distilled water was poured into a 500 mL beaker and heated in an electric stove at 50°C. The temperature was measured with a thermometer. Once the water reached 50°C, the seeds were submerged for 5 min. T2 Biozyme TF. 8 mL of Biozyme TF were measured in a 50 mL test tube, which was then added to a 500 mL beaker containing distilled water and mixed. The seeds were then immersed in this solution and kept there for 24 hrs. T3 Sodium chloride (NaCl): 14.6 g of sodium chloride were weighed on an analytical balance. They were then dissolved in 500 mL of distilled water contained in a beaker, where the seeds were immersed for 24 hrs. T4 Gibberellic acid (AG3): 2.4 g of gibberellic acid were weighed on an analytical balance and were later dissolved in a beaker containing 500 mL of distilled water, where the seeds were immersed for 20 hrs. T5 Refrigeration: The seeds were kept for 48 hrs in a laboratory refrigerator (MABE)set at 4°C. T6 Potassium Nitrate (KNO3): 15 g of potassium nitrate (reagent grade) were weighed on an analytical balance and dissolved in a beaker containing 500 mL of distilled water, where the seeds remained submerged for 24 hrs. T7 Control seeds were not given any treatment.

Sowing: The seeds were sown in polyethylene trays with 200 wells, each of which was filled up to ¾ of its volume with peat moss substrate. One seed was placed in each well and then covered with a thin layer of substrate. All wells were labelled for identification. After sowing, each well was watered and then covered with black plastic to maintain humidity and temperature. The plastic was removed on the third day.

Seedling management: After the first watering, no more watering applied during the first three days. After the 3rd day, watering was done manually using an atomizer. After the emergence of the cotyledon leaves, watering was applied daily in the mornings and evenings using Steiner solution at 25%, taking care not to saturate the substrate with too much moisture. Foliar fertilizer (Bayfolan Forte) was applied every seven days at a dose of 1 mL for each litre of water. Fifteen days after the start of germination, fungicide (Captan) was applied at a concentration of 1 g L–1 of water to prevent problems caused by fungi.

Evaluated variables: The agronomic parameters evaluated were (a) days of germination and (b) percentage of germination. The latter was determined from the ratio between total seeds sown and total seeds germinated, using the formula15,16:

Image for - Scarification of Seeds of Capsicum chinense Jacq. With Phytohormones and Physicochemical Treatments to Improve Seedling Quality

Where:

TG = Total seeds germinated
TS = Total seeds sown

Cumulative germination over time (%): This variable was determined based on the total number of seeds sown and the number of seeds germinated at different time intervals (days). A total of nine observations were made. The evaluation period started nine days after sowing (when germination started) and ended 33 days after the start of germination.

Seedling quality: A single evaluation was made 53 days after germination, for which several seedlings were sacrificed. Twelve seedlings from each treatment were randomly selected to measure the following characteristics: Seedling height, measured from the collar to the apex of the seedling using a 20 (cm) ruler. The number of leaves, the number of leaves of each seedling was counted, considering those that were fully developed. Stem diameter: the stem diameter was measured in Millimeters (mm) using a digital vernier at a height of one centimeters from the collar of the seedling. Root length, the length of the root was measured in Centimeters (cm) using a tape measure, from the collar to the tip of the root.

Analysis of data: The data obtained were subjected to analysis of variance and Tukey’s tests for comparison of means (α = 0.05). All statistical tests were carried out using the statistical package SAS17. The values were transformed before the arcsine (%)/100 to normalize distribution and subsequently, transformed to their original value.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Germination (%): The analysis of variance of this variable showed no significant differences between the evaluated treatments (α<0.05) as observed in Table 2. This indicates that the seeds had a good germination capacity of the seeds even without the scarification treatment, with a germination rate higher than 80%. Found that storing habanero pepper seeds for 6 months at 26°C guaranteed a higher germination rate in the H-228 and H-259 varieties18. Point out that newly harvested seeds of certain chili pepper cultivars can exhibit dormancy or a reduced germination rate. In the present study, although the seeds were sown a week after being extracted, they did not show signs of immaturity19. On the contrary, they showed a good germination rate (greater than 70%) and can thus be considered of "high quality"20. The treatments that showed the highest average germination rate was T2 (Biozyme) and T1 (Hot water), with germination percentages above 90%, higher than the rest, although not significantly. It is thus possible to suggest that Biozyme TF stimulates seed germination of the seeds, allowing them to express their genetic potential. After immersing the seeds of Amashito pepper (Capsicum annuum L. var. Glabriusculum) for 12 hrs in a Biozyme solution, obtained a germination rate greater than 50% 8 days after sowing21. That immersion time allows the active compounds of Biozyme TF to penetrate through the hard and waxy epicuticular outer layer and deactivate the possible natural inhibitors of germination.

Table 2:Comparison of means of the germination percentage in seeds of Capsicum chinense Jacq
Germination(%)
Treatments Mean
T1 90a*
T2 96a
T3 86a
T4 80a
T5 82a
T6 86a
T7 86a
*Means with the same letters are statistically equal (Tukey, α≤0.05)

That hot water is a simple and practical low-cost alternative for the effective sanitary control of seeds, including chili pepper seeds but it is rarely used as a promoter of germination22. The present study obtained satisfactory results with it, with a germination rate of 90% but this could be due to the very particular characteristics of the seeds under study.

It should be mentioned that the T4 treatment (gibberellic acid (AG3)) was expected to show similar germination percentages to treatments T2 (Biozyme) and T1 (Hot water), given that different authors have reported a positive response of germination to this phytohormone. However, in the present study, the T4 treatment showed the lowest germination percentage, probably due to the low concentration used. A similar response was reported23 in a study on habanero pepper seeds. In that study, the treatments associated with the highest percentage of germination recovery were those with Polyethylene glycol (0.5 ppm) and KNO3 at 3%. The percentage values were 92 and 91%, respectively. The lowest value was associated with the use of AG3at a concentration of 400 mg L–1. Other authors have reported a variety of responses to different concentrations of AG3, from 250-5000 mg L–1. A germination percentage of 66% wild chili peppers using 5000 mg L–1 of A324, while germination percentages of 46 and 43% using 250 and 500 mg L–1 of AG325, respectively. Immersed pequin pepper seeds in an aqueous solution of AG3 at a concentration of 5000 mg L–1 for 24 hrs and managed to increase their germination percentage from 8-82% in two wild populations of pequin chili pepper from the central region of Tamaulipas26. These results suggest that AG3 should be used in high concentrations. Immersed seeds of simojovel chili pepper Capsicum annuum L. for 24 hrs in sodium chloride (NaCI, 0.5 M) and gibberellic acid AG3 at different concentrations (0, 100, 350, 400 450 and 500 mg L–1)27. The combination of treatments, with previous exposure to NaCl, yielded a germination percentage of up to 91.57% when using 350 mg L–1 of AG3 while preconditioning with NaCl without applying AG3 yielded a germination percentage of only 43.25%, still an 86% increase in the germination percentage compared to untreated seeds.

Image for - Scarification of Seeds of Capsicum chinense Jacq. With Phytohormones and Physicochemical Treatments to Improve Seedling Quality
Fig. 1:
Cumulative germination in seeds of habanero pepper Capsicum chinense Jacq. after the start of germination


Table 3:Comparison of means of the accumulated germination of Capsicum chinense Jacq. seeds after 33 days
Treatments
Seeds germinated
Media (%)
T1
12.19
48.77bc*
T2
17.16
68.66a
T3
12.72
50.88bc
T4
13.02
52.11b
T5
10.88
43.55c
T6
16.47
65.88a
T7
11.08
44.33bc
*Means with the same letters are statistically equal (Tukey, α≤0.05)

Determined the effect of salinity in the germination and growth processes of paprika pepper Capsicum annuum L. var. Papri king28. Using NaCl at 200 mM, yielded a significant increase (α<0.05) in the germination percentage to 71%, which was, however, 15% lower than the value found (86%) in the present study. In general, all treatments used in the present study were associated with germination percentages higher than 80%, including the control treatment, which indicates the good quality of the seeds used. This suggests that any treatment can yield high germination percentages when the seeds used are healthy and viable.

Cumulative germination over time (%): The analysis of variance of this variable showed significant differences (α<0.05) between the evaluated treatments. The highest values were associated with treatments T2 (Biozyme) and T6 (KNO3), with mean values of 68.66 and 65.88%, respectively, followed by treatment T4 (AG3) with 52.11%. The lowest values were associated with treatments T5 (Refrigeration) and T7 (Control), with 43.55 and 44.33% (Table 3).

The result of Fig. 1 shows that 5 days after starting germination, only two treatments yielded germination values higher than 50%: Biozyme (57%) and KNO3 (62%), while treatment T7 (Control) yielded only 16% during the same period. This suggests that the treatments associated with the highest germination values in the shortest time tend to standardize seed emergence and consequently, seedling growth, which is of great importance for the production process. Treatment T2 (Biozyme), which was associated with the highest average germination values in the shortest time, seems to be the best treatment to promote germination, with a percentage of germinated seeds higher than 80% 12 days after germination started. In contrast, treatment T7 (Control) had only 36% of germinated seeds. T6 (KNO3) yielded an average total germination value of 86% but only 72% of germinated seeds 12 days after germination started, surpassing the rest of the treatments except for T2 (Biozyme). Assessed the effect of Biozyme on the induction of germination of the pequin chili pepper (Capsicum annuum L. var. Glabriusculum)29. They found that immersing the seeds of this pepper with Biozyme at 1.6% (v/v) during 24 hrs was associated with a seed germination percentage of 86% 12 days after sowing. Their results were similar to those obtained in the present study. Regarding the effect of potassium nitrate (KNO3). Suggest that it promotes metabolic tissue repair and increased respiration, thereby improving growth and germination percentage30. In the present study, treatment T1 (Hot Water) was associated with one of the highest germination percentages (90.9%) but not with rapid germination, yielding only 48.48% germination 12 days after sowing. In contrast, treatments T2 (Biozyme) and T6 (KNO3), yielded germination percentages above 70% in the same period. Treatment T1 (Hot Water) was thus associated with high percentages of total germination but also with irregular seed emergence, yielding a mean accumulated germination of 44.33%. In contrast, treatment T2 (Biozyme) yielded a mean accumulated germination of 68.66%. This is why works by other authors combine hydrothermal treatment with AG3 or KNO3, which accelerate the germination process. For example, assessed the percentage and speed of germination of wild chili peppers in response to pre-germinative treatments31. The combination of hydrothermia with 5000 mg L–1 of AG3 at 50°C for 5 min yielded the highest germination percentage (92%). The germination percentage of four sets of pequin chili pepper (Capsicum annuum L. var. Aviculare) and achieved germination after 17 days using a combination of 5000 mg L–1 of AG3 and hot water at 50°C for 6 min32. In the present study, treatment T4 (AG3) was associated with one of the lowest germination percentages (80%), even lower than treatment T7 (Control, 86%) but the accumulated germination percentage (52.11%) was exceeded only by treatments T2 (Biozyme) and T6 (KNO3), with values of 68.66 and 65.88%, respectively. This suggests that treatment with AG3 leads to uniform seed emergence, with 56% of the seeds germinated 12 days after the germination started. By that time, only 36% of the seeds had germinated with treatment T7 (Control). The germination in seeds of chiltepin chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum L. var. glabriusculum) and found that GA3 is efficient as a promoter of germination, of the seeds germinated 3 weeks after sowing and that treating seeds with 1.6% of Biozyme TF® for 24 hrs immersion is achieved up to 86% of seeds germinated at 12 days after planting29.

Seedling height: The analysis of variance showed significant differences (α<0.05) in this variable. The mean comparison test showed that the treatments that yielded the best seedling height results were the T2 treatment (Biozyme) with 4.96 cm and the T5 treatment (Refrigeration) with 4.84 cm. The treatments that yielded the lowest height seedling results were treatments T4 (AG3) with 3.86 cm and treatment T7 (Control) with 3.05 cm (Fig. 2). It is worth mentioning that the latter treatment was also associated with low germination speed. Means with the same letters are statistically equal (Tukey, α<0.05). Reported positive effects on seedling height (with values of up to 7.93 cm) when using gibberellin and auxin growth regulators with seeds of pequin chili pepper (Capsicum annuum var. Aviculare)33. Evaluated the effect of subjecting seeds of wild chiltepin chilli pepper (Capsicum annuum var. Glabriusculum) to two different temperatures, 2 and 5°C34. The results showed negative effects (slow and deficient growth) on the growth of seedlings. The height of chili seedlings (Capsicum annuum L.) grown in polystyrene trays under greenhouse conditions35. They applied fertilizer to the seedlings every three days starting at 17 days after emergence. The fertilizer consisted of 16N-40P-13K dissolved in water and applied with irrigation at a concentration of 1 g L–1. As a result, 60 and 74 days after sowing the seedlings reached 12.8-10.7 cm in height36.

Image for - Scarification of Seeds of Capsicum chinense Jacq. With Phytohormones and Physicochemical Treatments to Improve Seedling Quality
Fig. 2:
Height of Capsicum chinense Jacq. seedlings in each of the evaluated treatments
*Means with the same letters are statistically equal (Tukey, α < 0.05)


Image for - Scarification of Seeds of Capsicum chinense Jacq. With Phytohormones and Physicochemical Treatments to Improve Seedling Quality
Fig. 3:
Number of leaves in Capsicum chinense Jacq seedlings. for each of the evaluated treatments
*Means with the same letters are statistically equal (Tukey, α < 0.05)

It is worth mentioning that these results were higher than those obtained in the present study, where the highest seedlings measured only 4.96 cm 53 days after germination.

A number of leaves: There were significant differences (α<0.05) between the evaluated treatments in the number of leaves of the seedlings. The highest means (8.16 leaves) were associated with treatment T2 (Biozyme), followed by treatment T6 (KNO3) with 7.58 leaves (Fig. 3). As can be seen in Fig. 3, these treatments had a greater number of leaves than the rest of the treatments. The treatments with the lowest number of leaves were treatment T3 (NaCl) and T7 (Control) with 6 and 4.25, leaves, respectively (Fig. 3). That even though the quality standards for seedlings are usually defined by each producer according to their preferences, a quality seedling, ready for transplantation, is widely considered to be a seedling with 3-4 pairs of true leaves, which is usually achieved between 40 and 50 days after sowing37.

Stem diameter: The analysis of variance showed that there were no significant differences (α<0.05) in stem diameter between treatments. The means comparison test showed that all treatments were statistically equal, all with a stem diameter of 1 mm as can be seen in Table 4. This could be because, at this stage, stem thickness is not yet fully developed. Evaluated the effect of a commercial product Formax-F® (a hormonal compound consisting of a complex of cytokinins derived from adenine at a concentration of 14,000 mg L–1) on the stem thickness of seedlings of black habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) at the beginning of flowering38.

Table 4:Comparison of means of stem diameter in Capsicum chinense Jacq. for each of the evaluated treatments
Stem diameter (Mm)
Treatments
Mean
T1
1a*
T2
1a
T3
1a
T4
1a
T5
1a
T6
1a
T7
1a
*Means with the same letters are statistically equal (Tukey, α<0.05)

The authors reported significant differences between the treated seedlings and the control seedlings (16.1 vs 13.4 mm, respectively), with treated seedling stems growing 20% thicker. It is worth mentioning that stem thickness was measured 53 days after germination.

Root length: The analysis of variance showed significant differences (α<0.05) in root length between the evaluated treatments (Fig. 4). The highest means (6.29 cm) were associated with treatment T5 (Refrigeration), followed by treatment T2 (Biozyme) and T4 (AG3), both with 5.75 cm. The lowest means were associated with treatment T1 (Hot water) and treatment T7 (Control), with 3.33 and 2.47 cm, respectively. Applied the growth regulator Biozyme to pepper seeds (Capsicum annuum L.) at a dose of 1 mL dissolved in distilled water and compared the effect to a control treatment consisting of distilled water. The seeds were sown after being immersed in the biozyme solution39. There were significant differences in root length between the biozyme treatment and the control treatment. The seedlings treated with biozyme showed root length values of 3.58 and 3.30 cm, compared to the control seedlings, with 1.25 and 1 cm.

Image for - Scarification of Seeds of Capsicum chinense Jacq. With Phytohormones and Physicochemical Treatments to Improve Seedling Quality
Fig. 4:
Root length of Capsicum chinense Jacq. in each of the evaluated treatments
*Means with the same letters are statistically equal (Tukey, α < 0.05)

It is important to emphasize that, in the present study, treatments T2, T5 and T4 showed root length values of 6.29 and 5.75 cm, surpassing the other treatments. Reported that subjecting seeds of habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense Jacq.) of the “Jaguar” variety to a desiccation treatment for 72 hrs at 70±35°C resulted in seedlings with root lengths of up to 7.50 and 7.21 cm40.

CONCLUSION

Hormonal treatment Biozyme TF was associated with the best response in terms of germination percentage over a shorter time as well as in terms of seedling quality, (height, number of leaves, root length) surpassing the rest of the treatments. Regarding stem diameter, all treatments yielded the same values, which could be because at this stage seedlings have not yet fully developed. The hot water was associated with a high germination percentage but over a longer time, which resulted in plants with heterogeneous growth. The AG3 was associated with fast and homogeneous germination but a low germination percentage, probably due to the low concentration of AG3 used.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT

The loss of viability of the habanero pepper seeds is one of the main problems because after storing the seeds for more than 12 months, the speed and the final percentage of germination decrease considerably. One of the biggest challenges in the production of the habanero pepper is to have 99% germination, growth and development, which leads to healthy seedlings in trays, at the time of transplantation. Chemical, physical and hormonal treatments have been used in the scarification of the seeds but it has not yet been defined which method is the most appropriate to shorten the days and increase the germination percentage to 99% of non-commercial seeds, at the same time. lower costs when buying commercial seeds.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors wish to thank the Academic Division of Agricultural Sciences of the Universidad Juarez Autonoma de Tabasco and CA Sustainable Tropical Agriculture for the support provided in the realization of this project thesis: “Scarification of seeds and quality of seedlings of Capsicum chinense Jacq., In Tabasco, Mexico”.

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