Optimising seed processing techniques to improve germination and sowability of native grasses for ecological restoration

S. Pedrini, W. Lewandrowski, J. C. Stevens, K. W. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Grasslands across the globe are undergoing expansive degradation due to human impacts and climate change. If restoration of degraded native grassland is to be achieved at the scale now required, cost-effective means for seed-based establishment of grass species is crucial. However, grass seeds present numerous challenges associated with handling and germination performance that must be overcome to improve the efficiency of seeding. Previous research has demonstrated that complete removal of the palea and lemma (husk) maximises germination performance, hence we investigated the effects of complete husk removal on seed handling and germination of four temperate Australian grass species. Three techniques were tested to remove the husk – manual cleaning, flaming or acid digestion (the latter two followed by a manual cleaning step); these techniques were refined and adapted to the selected species, and germination responses were compared. The complete removal of the husk improved seed handling and sowability for all species. Germination was improved in Microlaena stipoides by 19% and in Rytidosperma geniculatum by 11%. Of the husk removal methods tested, flaming was detrimental to seed germination and fatal for one species (R. geniculatum). Compared to manual cleaning, sulphuric acid improved the overall efficacy of the cleaning procedure and increased germination speed (T50) in Austrostipa scabra, Chloris truncata and M. stipoides, and improved final germination in R. geniculatum by 13%. The seed processing methods developed and tested in the present study can be applied to grass species that present similar handling and germination performance impediments. These and other technological developments (seed coating and precision sowing) will facilitate more efficient grassland restoration at large scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-424
Number of pages10
JournalPlant Biology
Volume21
Issue number3
Early online dateAug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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ecological restoration
Germination
Poaceae
Seeds
germination
grass
grasses
seed
hulls
seeds
cleaning
grasslands
grassland
methodology
Austrostipa
Microlaena stipoides
sowing
grass seed
seed dressings
restoration

Cite this

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title = "Optimising seed processing techniques to improve germination and sowability of native grasses for ecological restoration",
abstract = "Grasslands across the globe are undergoing expansive degradation due to human impacts and climate change. If restoration of degraded native grassland is to be achieved at the scale now required, cost-effective means for seed-based establishment of grass species is crucial. However, grass seeds present numerous challenges associated with handling and germination performance that must be overcome to improve the efficiency of seeding. Previous research has demonstrated that complete removal of the palea and lemma (husk) maximises germination performance, hence we investigated the effects of complete husk removal on seed handling and germination of four temperate Australian grass species. Three techniques were tested to remove the husk – manual cleaning, flaming or acid digestion (the latter two followed by a manual cleaning step); these techniques were refined and adapted to the selected species, and germination responses were compared. The complete removal of the husk improved seed handling and sowability for all species. Germination was improved in Microlaena stipoides by 19{\%} and in Rytidosperma geniculatum by 11{\%}. Of the husk removal methods tested, flaming was detrimental to seed germination and fatal for one species (R. geniculatum). Compared to manual cleaning, sulphuric acid improved the overall efficacy of the cleaning procedure and increased germination speed (T50) in Austrostipa scabra, Chloris truncata and M. stipoides, and improved final germination in R. geniculatum by 13{\%}. The seed processing methods developed and tested in the present study can be applied to grass species that present similar handling and germination performance impediments. These and other technological developments (seed coating and precision sowing) will facilitate more efficient grassland restoration at large scale.",
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Optimising seed processing techniques to improve germination and sowability of native grasses for ecological restoration. / Pedrini, S.; Lewandrowski, W.; Stevens, J. C.; Dixon, K. W.

In: Plant Biology, Vol. 21, No. 3, 05.2019, p. 415-424.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Optimising seed processing techniques to improve germination and sowability of native grasses for ecological restoration

AU - Pedrini, S.

AU - Lewandrowski, W.

AU - Stevens, J. C.

AU - Dixon, K. W.

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Y1 - 2019/5

N2 - Grasslands across the globe are undergoing expansive degradation due to human impacts and climate change. If restoration of degraded native grassland is to be achieved at the scale now required, cost-effective means for seed-based establishment of grass species is crucial. However, grass seeds present numerous challenges associated with handling and germination performance that must be overcome to improve the efficiency of seeding. Previous research has demonstrated that complete removal of the palea and lemma (husk) maximises germination performance, hence we investigated the effects of complete husk removal on seed handling and germination of four temperate Australian grass species. Three techniques were tested to remove the husk – manual cleaning, flaming or acid digestion (the latter two followed by a manual cleaning step); these techniques were refined and adapted to the selected species, and germination responses were compared. The complete removal of the husk improved seed handling and sowability for all species. Germination was improved in Microlaena stipoides by 19% and in Rytidosperma geniculatum by 11%. Of the husk removal methods tested, flaming was detrimental to seed germination and fatal for one species (R. geniculatum). Compared to manual cleaning, sulphuric acid improved the overall efficacy of the cleaning procedure and increased germination speed (T50) in Austrostipa scabra, Chloris truncata and M. stipoides, and improved final germination in R. geniculatum by 13%. The seed processing methods developed and tested in the present study can be applied to grass species that present similar handling and germination performance impediments. These and other technological developments (seed coating and precision sowing) will facilitate more efficient grassland restoration at large scale.

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KW - Acid digestion

KW - flaming

KW - germination

KW - grassland

KW - native seed

KW - Poaceae

KW - seed enablement

KW - seed technology

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DO - 10.1111/plb.12885

M3 - Article

VL - 21

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EP - 424

JO - Plant Biology

JF - Plant Biology

SN - 1435-8603

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