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Open Access Seed longevity of two nutrient-dense vegetables (Amaranthus spp.)

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For many traditional vegetables, seed longevity is unknown, limiting proper seed bank management. In this study, the comparative seed longevity of two nutrient-dense leafy vegetables, blood amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) and edible amaranth (A. tricolor), was compared together with two reference crops, crookneck squash (Cucurbita moschata) and soya bean (Glycine max). Seed lots of four genebank accessions of the corresponding vegetable species were treated under accelerated ageing (AA) conditions with an average of 41.1°C and an average of 89.9% relative humidity for 33 days to generate single seed survival curves and calculate the time taken for seed viability to fall to 50% (p50). The seed survival curves of all four species had values of goodness to fit (R2) values between 0.43 and 0.85. Seeds of the A. cruentus and A. tricolor accessions had high p50 values of 19.5 and 32.8 days, respectively, compared with the C. moschata and G. max accessions, which returned p50 values of 8.2 and 4.9, respectively. This means that these leafy amaranths have a long seed longevity compared with other vegetable crops. This suggests that properly dried seeds of amaranth crops can be stored for long periods of time at 5°C in aluminium foils.
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Keywords: Amaranthus cruentus; Amaranthus tricolor; accelerated ageing; indigenous vegetables; seed longevity; traditional vegetables

Affiliations: 1: Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station, Council of Agriculture 2: Genetic Resources and Seed Unit, World Vegetable Center, Shanhua 74151, Taiwan

Appeared or available online: January 26, 2021

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