Special Issue "Seed Dormancy and Germination as Key for Crop Establishment and Food Production"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Breeding and Genetics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Petr Smýkal
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Botany, Palacky University, 771 47 Olomouc, Czech Republic
Interests: domestication; crop wild relatives; genetic diversity; legumes; seed dormancy
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Juan Pablo Renzi

Guest Editor
Instituto Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria, Hilario Ascasubi, Argentina Universidad Nacional del Sur, Departamento de Agronomía, Argentina
Interests: seed technology; seed dormancy; predictive modelling; plant breeding; pasture legumes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite you to contribute to the Special Issue "Seed Dormancy and Germination as Key for Crop Establishment and Food Production".

Timing of seed germination is one of the key steps in plant life. It determines when plants enter natural or agricultural ecosystems and is the basis for crop production. In the wild, many seeds only germinate after certain conditions have occurred. In contrast, crops tend to germinate as soon as they are wet and planted. A certain level of seed dormancy is desirable even in crops, since precocious germination might be detrimental to harvest. Balance in seed germination is also important for processing, like barley malting. In the context of restoration, recruitment limitations must be considered, which involve seed persistence, dormancy, and germination. Dormancy is a common attribute of many weed seed populations.

Following maturation, seed might be ready to germinate under favourable conditions. A diverse range of dormancy mechanisms has evolved in keeping with the diversity of climates and habitats. Dormancy and germination traits are controlled in a highly complex manner. Seed dormancy is also one of the key traits altered during domestication process, since it is vital for crop establishment. Soil seed banks spanning over several generations are ubiquitous for many species with seed dormancy in plants. Seed banks are also key for the conservation of endangered plant species as a life history trait modulating habitat fragmentation.

Advances in the study of seed dormancy and germination currently focus on mechanistic biology mediated by either the genome or epigenome and the relationship with new environmental conditions. Agricultural systems are increasingly more complex and the biological knowledge of interactions is needed to improve crop production. In addition, seed traits related to germination timing with suitable conditions remain largely unexplored, despite playing a central role in improving our understanding of plant evolution and ecosystem functioning. Understanding how the numerous seed traits map to germination functions is necessary for integrating regeneration traits into ecological strategies and advancing predictive models. In the latter, bio-ecological limitations arise as seed dormancy processes and germination requirements of various species remain to be elucidated to bridge the ecological knowledge gap for accurate emergence prediction. A new generation of modelling approaches based on soft computing techniques are positioned as an interesting methodology to assist with this task.

This Special Issue aims to provide up-to-date information on various aspects of seed dormancy and germination, both from theoretical and practical perspectives, from biology and genetics to agronomical aspects.

We welcome the following article types: original research, reviews, and opinions.

Prof. Dr. Petr Smýkal
Prof. Juan Pablo Renzi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Seed germination
  • Seed dormancy
  • Dormancy mechanisms
  • Seed banks
  • Crop production
  • Predictive models

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Allelopathic Impacts of Cover Crop Species and Termination Timing on Cotton Germination and Seedling Growth
Agronomy 2020, 10(5), 638; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10050638 - 01 May 2020
Abstract
The integration of cover crops into cotton (Gossypium hirsutum, L.) production remains challenging. One potential negative impact of cover crops on cotton is allelopathy. Proper selection of cover crop species and termination timing could potentially reduce the impacts of allelopathy on [...] Read more.
The integration of cover crops into cotton (Gossypium hirsutum, L.) production remains challenging. One potential negative impact of cover crops on cotton is allelopathy. Proper selection of cover crop species and termination timing could potentially reduce the impacts of allelopathy on cotton seedlings. Two studies were conducted to determine cotton germination and growth sensitivity to cover crop leachate, which were measured using (I) five cover crops species, including: oats (Avena sativa L.), hairy vetch (Vicia Villosa), winter pea (Lathyrus hirsutus), winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), and annual rye (Lolium multiflorum), and (II) a blend of cover crops at four termination timings, including: at planting, three weeks prior to planting, six weeks prior to planting, and a split termination, where a 25 cm band in the top of the bed was terminated six weeks prior to planting, and the remaining cover crop was terminated at planting (referred to as strip 6-wk). Samples for Experiment I were collected on May 24th and for Experiment II on March 22nd (Strip/6-wk and 6-wk), April 30th (3-wk), and May 11th (at planting) in 2018. The effect of 0 (deionized water), 25, and 50 (v/v) cover crop leachate extract on cotton seed germination was evaluated in a series of controlled environmental studies. All cover crop species’ leachates negatively impacted cotton germination and seedling growth (p < 0.05). Germination inhibition rates declined numerically by species, with winter pea ≥ hairy vetch ≥ oats ≥ annual rye ≥ winter wheat at the 50 v/v concentrations. Winter pea germination inhibition on cotton equaled 47.0% and cotton radicle length was decreased by 62.8%. Termination at planting suppressed cotton germination more than the other termination timings, with the 50 v/v treatment resulting in a germination inhibition of 60.0%. Proper selection of cover crop species and termination timing prior to planting cotton will be critical in maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks of a cover crop. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Persistence and Changes in Morphological Traits of Herbaceous Seeds Due to Burial in Soil
Agronomy 2020, 10(3), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10030448 - 24 Mar 2020
Abstract
Seeds in soil banks can survive for many years before conditions become more suitable for germination. Meanwhile, seeds undergo changes in morphology and viability. In this study, we launched an artificial seed bank experiment that included 26 species of seeds. We excavated cohorts [...] Read more.
Seeds in soil banks can survive for many years before conditions become more suitable for germination. Meanwhile, seeds undergo changes in morphology and viability. In this study, we launched an artificial seed bank experiment that included 26 species of seeds. We excavated cohorts for 6–8 consecutive years after burial (YAB) in order to determine changes in the morphology (mass, volume, density, seed form) and proportion of fresh (thus persistent) seeds using a crush test as a measure of persistence. The change in seed morphology was fitted by linear and logistic regression, and the proportion of persistent seeds was fitted by logistic regression (effectively by the binomial GLM), which enabled estimation of 50 and 5% persistence times (PT50 and PT05). We found that in most species, seed mass, volume and proportion of persistent seeds declined with YAB, while other morphological traits were less variable, and the decline in these traits with YAB was best fitted with logistic regression. The decline in the proportion of persistent seeds was better fitted by the change in mass than by YAB in some species. Among the species included in this study, PT50 ranged from 1.2 to 10.5 years, and PT05 ranged from 2.1 to 24.3 years. These results can contribute to better understanding of the ecology of weed seed bank persistence in soil. Describing the morphological changes that the seeds undergo in the soil bank may improve our understanding of the biology of seed persistence and facilitate the identification of seeds from the soil bank. Full article
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