Effect of Seed Coat Colour on the Seed Quality of Water Melon (Citrullus Lanatus)
AbstractWater melon is one of most cultivated vegetable fruit crop in the world. In Kenya the demand for this fruit for both local and export markets outstrips the supply. For Kenya to meet the high demand for water melon, quality seed is paramount since it guarantees high germination rate and vigor and on sequential high crop yields. However, it has been observed that water melon seeds have different seed coat colours even in the same growing season. The aim of this study was to establish to what extent seed colour affects seed viability (measured by % germination) and vigor (measured by absorption of water and electrical conductivity) of water melon (sugar baby variety). The study was conducted at University of Eldoret seed science laboratory. Seeds were obtained from the Kenya Genebank whose colour was determined using Munsell colour chart for plant tissues. Water absorption, electrical conductivity and germination percentage of seeds were determined using recommended methodologies. Complete random design was used and data collected was subjected to ANOVA and Duncan Multiple Range Test (DMRT) test at 5% level of significance using the GENSTAT version 14.2. The correlation between water absorption, germination and electrical conductivity was determined by Pearson Product moment correlation coefficient and regression analysis. It was found that water absorption, germination percentage and electrical conductivity significantly differed between the dark brown, light brown, brown and yellow seeds. Seed quality was highest for dark brown, followed by brown, light brown and finally yellow seeds. There was negative correlation between water absorbed and germination but positive correlation between water absorbed and electrical conductivity. It was concluded that seed companies should consider seed colour as one of the parameter during grading of water melon seeds. This would improve the quality of seed sold to farmers and consequently water melon yields in Kenya.
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