Seed quality and mycoflora associated with chickpea (Cicer arientinum L.) seed in Ethiopia
The study was conducted at Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Haramaya University and Jimma University, Ethiopia. Crop yield is directly associated with the physical and biological quality of planting material or seed. Ninety-nine (99) chickpea seed lot samples were collected for physical purity, seed health and germination tests from major chickpea growing areas in Ethiopia in the 2016/17 cropping season to assess the status of chickpea seed health and quality among subsistence farmers, research stations and seed growers. The seed lots were grouped as researcher saved, farmers saved and seed growers’ saved seed. The maximum physical purity of 97.5% was recorded for the researcher saved seed lots, 90.8% for the seed growers and 87.4 % for the farmers saved seeds. Foreign matters and broken seeds were the most contaminants found in the seed lots. The seed germination percentages were in the range of 96.3% to 98.5% for all seed sources and there were no significant differences among the seed lot samples. A total of seventeen (17) fungi species were isolated from all seed sources with different frequency and amount. These are Fusarium spp., Aspergillus sp., A. niger, A. flavus, A. nidulans, A. candidus, A. fumigatus, Penicillium sp., Rhizopus sp., Verticillium sp., Rhizoctonia sp., Pythium sp., Alternaria sp., Helminthosporium sp. Phylostica sp., Cladosporium sp., Negrospora sp. Aspergillus flavus was found the most dominant with recovery (Relative Density=21.53%, Infection rate=10.36%, and Infection Frequency=25.59 %) from all seed lots. There were high variations in relative density, Infection rate, and Infection frequency among isolated fungi. Ascochyta rabiei the most important chickpea disease was not found in this study. This might relate to the incidence and prevalence of sample collection season/cropping year which was low in expected areas. The current study concluded that there are seed qualities and seed health management issues with regards to different seed sources (farmers, research and private sectors); this entails strong seed quality control and growers’ awareness creation on storage sanitation, seed health test before sowing, and production of healthy crops. To keep the seed health in a better condition, seed growers should keep a wider interval of rotation, develop use of the healthy improved seed, after some generation (4-5), seed grading to avoid loss of physical purity, use of appropriate storage container (ventilated and clean), seed dressing with safe pesticides, and appropriate moisture level for storage (about 14%) should have to keep. Longer storage also gives a chance to contaminate the whole seed and can expose to decay.
Key words: Chickpea, fungi, germination, mycoflora, purity, seed health, seed sources
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