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Evolution of weed beet (Beta vulgaris L.) seed bank : Quantification of seed survival, dormancy, germination and pre-emergence growth

Sester M., Dürr C., Darmency H., Colbach N.. 2006. European Journal of Agronomy, 24 (1) : p. 19-25.

DOI: 10.1016/j.eja.2005.04.001

Weed beet is an important weed of sugar beet crops. Weed and cropped beets can cross easily and the management of weed beet is therefore crucial in the case of the advent of GM sugar beet, especially herbicide-tolerant cultivars, in order to ensure the co-existence of GM and non-GM crops and to avoid the appearance of herbicide-resistant weed beet. The inability of weed beet to compete in most other crops of the rotation makes the seed bank evolution a crucial stage of the life-cycle because in the rotation, sugar beet is at the most cultivated only every 3 years. The present study used seed burial experiments and laboratory analyses to characterise each step of the evolution of the weed beet seed bank and the external factors that could modify seed persistence in the soil. A monthly seed mortality of 10% was observed between October and December, while mortality was nil during the other seasons. Equations were then developed to describe the observed seasonal variations in seed survival. Seed dormancy also varied with season: the proportion of non-dormant seeds increased during winter (appearance of secondary dormancy) and decreased during the remaining seasons (loss of dormancy). In addition, the germinating seeds decreased with seed age and seed depth, while the presence of light stimulated germination. These observations were also translated into equations. Last, the pre-emergence hypocotyl growth and its variability were studied according to seed age, but no significant effect was observed. The results confirm the importance of the effects of cropping system on the evolution of the weed seed bank, especially the effect of soil tillage, which determines the date and conditions of seed burial, seed excavation and germination stimulation.

Mots-clés : beta vulgaris; mauvaise herbe; germination; dormance; modèle; collection de matériel génétique; travail du sol; facteur du milieu; Émergence

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