Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Pollenizer Research Should Help Seedless Watermelon Farmers

16.10.2012
Research from North Carolina State University on flower production and disease resistance in watermelon varieties should help bolster seedless watermelon harvests for farmers.

Seedless watermelons are more popular than seeded watermelons, making them a more profitable crop for farmers. But the flowers of seedless watermelon plants must be fertilized with pollen from the male flowers of seeded watermelon plants, because seedless plants do not produce genetically viable pollen.

This is a problem, because seeded watermelon plants take up space, nutrients and water that farmers would rather devote to seedless plants. Furthermore, farmers have to take steps to ensure that they don’t mix up the seedless and seeded watermelons at harvest time – and find a market for those less valuable seeded watermelons.

Over the past 10 years, farmers have increasingly turned to varieties of seeded watermelons that produce pollen to fertilize the seedless plants, but that also grow very small, inedible fruit that doesn’t have to be harvested and doesn’t take up much space in the field. These varieties are called “pollenizers” because they are grown solely to provide pollen for the seedless watermelons.

In this study, researchers from NC State and Purdue University set out to address three questions. First, they wanted to know which pollenizer varieties produce the most male flowers, since male flowers may serve as an indicator of pollen production.

Second, at what rate does each variety produce male flowers over the course of a growing season? This is important because farmers want to time their planting so that the female flowers of seedless watermelons are blooming at the same time as the male flowers of the pollenizers.

Third, they wanted to know which pollenizers are most resistant to a fungal infection of the roots called Fusarium wilt – which can kill a plant. The more resistant a variety is to Fusarium wilt, the more likely it is that the plant will avoid becoming infected – and go on to produce plenty of pollen.

The researchers found that three varieties of pollenizers produced the most male flowers over the course of a season: ‘SP-1,’ ‘Sidekick’ and ‘5WDL 6146.’ Two– ‘Sidekick’ and ‘5WDL 6146’ – also showed relatively low rates of infection when exposed to Fusarium.

The study found that several other varieties were even more resistant to Fusarium wilt, including ‘Ace’ and ‘Pinnacle’– but they produced fewer male flowers.

“All in all, this should help farmers make informed decisions about which pollenizers to plant with their seedless watermelons,” says Dr. Chris Gunter, assistant professor of horticultural science at NC State and lead author of the paper. “A lot depends on the conditions in their fields, such as whether the fields have a history of Fusarium wilt.”

The paper, “Staminate Flower Production and Fusarium Wilt Reaction of Diploid Cultivars used as Pollenizers for Triploid Watermelon,” was co-authored by Dr. Daniel Egel of Purdue and is published in the October issue of HortTechnology.

Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.

“Staminate Flower Production and Fusarium Wilt Reaction of Diploid Cultivars used as Pollenizers for Triploid Watermelon”

Authors: Chris Gunter, North Carolina State University; Daniel S. Egel, Purdue University

Published: October 2012 in HortTechnology

Abstract: Several cultivars of non-harvested watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) pollenizers were compared for staminate flower production in field tests and disease reaction to Fusarium wilt Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. niveum (FON) in both greenhouse and field tests. Differences were observed in staminate flower counts and Fusarium wilt reactions in both years of field evaluations and to Fusarium wilt among cultivars evaluated in the greenhouse. ‘SP-1’, ‘Sidekick’ and ‘5WDL 6146’ were the cultivars with high staminate flower counts in the field both years. These cultivars also were among the most resistant to Fusarium wilt in both years of field tests. Significant correlations occurred between the rankings of the cultivar’s Fusarium wilt reactions in both the two field and three greenhouse experiments, indicating a high degree of correlation between field and greenhouse tests.

Matt Shipman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New gene for atrazine resistance identified in waterhemp
24.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

nachricht Researchers discover a new link to fight billion-dollar threat to soybean production
14.02.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>