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Effect of climatic conditions on endophyte and seed viability in stored ryegrass seed

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Survival of Neotyphodium fungal endophyte in stored grass seed is a critical component in the supply of quality seed to farmers. From seed harvest to the following spring, endophyte survival is generally maintained as a result of low ambient temperature. However, seed to be sown the following autumn (over 1 year from harvest) has aged and is exposed ambient temperature and relative humidity which may compromise both endophyte and seed viability. To examine this, endophyte-infected ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) seed was stored for up to 1 year at three geographic locations in New Zealand or Australia, which differed in temperature and/or relative humidity. Seed viability showed little or no change at the New Zealand locations, and a moderate decline at the Queensland Australia location. In contrast, endophyte viability declined in a logistic relationship at all locations over time. This decline occurred earlier and was most rapid in Queensland Australia, was least in central New Zealand, and intermediate in northern New Zealand. This corresponded closely with the differing temperatures at each location, and in New Zealand, possibly with relative humidity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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  • Seed Science and Technology (SST) is one of the leading international journals featuring original papers and review articles on seed quality and physiology as related to seed production, harvest, processing, sampling, storage, distribution and testing. This widely recognised journal is designed to meet the needs of researchers, advisers and all those involved in the improvement and technical control of seed quality.
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