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In vitro assessment of seedling vigour in birdsfoot trefoil, Lotus corniculatus L


, : In vitro assessment of seedling vigour in birdsfoot trefoil, Lotus corniculatus L. Plant Varieties & Seeds 6(3): 161-168

Poor seedling vigour in Spring plantings of birdsfoot trefoil is the major factor limiting its establishment and forage production in Eastern Canada. Seedling vigour can be improved by recurrent genotypic selection. The experiments were conducted to assess the usefulness of in vitro methodology in the germplasm evaluation. Seeds from three varieties: Empire, Upstart and Leo, and five breeding lines: CHI, Leo 2-1, WIT II, 7903-6 and 0101-13 were separated into two sizes, surface sterilized and grown in vitro at 5 degree C. Seedling vigour was evaluated in terms of germination rate and seedling growth. Larger seeds germinated faster than smaller ones. Varieties and breeding lines which performed better under field conditions showed higher germination rates in the in vitro test. No significant differences were found in the growth of seedlings 4 weeks after germination. However, there were significant differences with respect to root weight, root length, total seedling biomass and seedling length for the tested varieties and seed sizes after 12 weeks of growth. High positive correlations were found between seed weight and seedling biomass (r = 0.78) and root weight and seedling biomass (r = 0.82). The results indicate that the proposed in vitro methodology can be useful in evaluating birdsfoot trefoil germplasm for improved seedling vigour.

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