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Acta Agronomica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (3): 726-738.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1006.2022.13016


Relationship between seed morphology, storage substance and chilling tolerance during germination of dominant maize hybrids in Northeast China

SONG Shi-Qin1,2(), YANG Qing-Long1,2, WANG Dan1,2, LYU Yan-Jie2, XU Wen-Hua2, WEI Wen-Wen2, LIU Xiao-Dan2, YAO Fan-Yun2, CAO Yu-Jun2, WANG Yong-Jun1,2,*(), WANG Li-Chun1,2   

  1. 1Agronomy College, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun 130118, Jilin, China
    2Institute of Agricultural Resources and Environment, Jilin Academy of Agriculture Sciences/State Engineering Laboratory of Maize, Changchun 130033, Jilin, China
  • Received:2021-02-25 Accepted:2021-04-26 Online:2022-03-12 Published:2021-06-03
  • Contact: WANG Yong-Jun E-mail:1436199591@qq.com;yjwang2004@126.com
  • Supported by:
    Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program of Jilin Province(CXGC2017JQ006);National Key Research and Development Program of China(2017YFD0300303);National Natural Science Foundation of China (31701349).(31701349)


Seed germination is the initial stage of crop morphology, which is determined by its own properties and environmental factors. Low temperature is one of the most important factors affecting seed germination. It is crucial to explore the relationship between seed properties and germination under low temperature environmental conditions for maize production in Northeast China. In the present study, 36 maize hybrids released in Northeast China were selected and the germination culture experiment was conducted under 6℃ (low temperature stress) and 15℃ (the control). The seedling vigor, seed germination rate, seed morphology and storage substances content were determined. The germination potential and germination rate of 36 maize hybrids were evaluated by the principal component analysis (PCA), the comprehensive evaluation value of cold tolerance (CL-value), and the membership function value (R-value). The relationship between the seed morphology (kernel length, kernel width, kernel thickness, kernel length/kernel width ratio, 100-kernel volume, and 100-kernel weight) and the seed storage substances (starch, protein, and fat) of 36 maize varieties were investigated. The results showed that the seedling vigor and germination rate of 36 maize hybrids were inhibited to some content, and the variation of relative seedling vigor cold injury rate and relative germination cold injury rate was the largest under low temperature stress. There was a significant correlation among the seven individual indicators that characterized cold tolerance. Principal component analysis could transform seven individual indicators into two independent comprehensive indicators. Among them, relative seedling vigor and relative germination rate had the largest positive contribution rate, which could be used as the key indicators for cold resistance evaluation at germination stage in maize. We classified 36 hybrids into four types of strong cold tolerance (19.4%), cold tolerance (30.6%), medium cold tolerance (33.3%), and cold sensitive (16.7%) by cluster analysis. Among them, Jidan 56, Kenji 267, Suiyu 23, Jidan 953, Kenji 268, Jidan 96, and Jidan 95 were strong cold-tolerant hybrids. The correlation analysis revealed that there was no significant correlation between seed morphology and cold tolerance. Starch content was significantly correlated with relative seedling vigor, relative germination rate, relative seedling vigor chilling injury rate, relative germination chilling injury rate, and relative germination time (r = 0.396**, r = 0.404 **, r = -0.401 **, r = -0.391 **, and r = 0.362 **). There was a significant negative correlation between protein content and relative seedling vigor (r = -0.379**). Regression analysis indicated that the types with high starch content had higher relative seedling vigor, relative germination rate, relative germination time, and lower relative seedling vigor, relative germination rate, and chilling injury rate. The regression model demonstrated that the seed starch content was 72.0%-74.0%, the relative seedling vigor was ≥70.0%, the relative germination rate was ≥80.5%, and the chilling injury rate of relative seedling vigor and relative germination rate was ≤50.0% under 6℃ stress. Under low temperature stress, the higher seed starch content was helpful to improve seed germination and reduce chilling injury. The varieties with starch content of 72.0%-74.0% were recommended to meet the requirements of seed germination in Northeast China.

Key words: maize, germination, low temperature stress, seed morphology, storage substance, Northeast China

Table 1

Maize hybrids and their breeding institutes tested in this study"

Hybrid name
Breeding institutes
1 丹玉311 Danyu 311 丹东农业科学院DAAS
2 丹玉336 Danyu 336 丹玉种业科技股份有限公司DST
3 沈玉21 Shenyu 21 沈阳市农业科学院SAAS
4 先玉335 Xianyu 335 铁岭先锋种子研究有限公司TPSR
5 辽单575 Liaodan 575 辽宁省农业科学院LAAS
6 辽单586 Liaodan 586 辽宁省农业科学院LAAS
7 辽单1258 Liaodan 1258 辽宁省农业科学院LAAS
8 辽单1281 Liaodan 1281 辽宁省农业科学院LAAS
9 辽单352 Liaodan 352 辽宁省农业科学院LAAS
10 吉单27 Jidan 27 吉农高新北方农作物优良品种开发中心JHTNCC
11 吉单953 Jidan 953 吉林省农业科学院JAAS
12 吉单50 Jidan 50 吉林省农业科学院JAAS
13 吉单95 Jidan 95 吉林省农业科学院JAAS
14 吉单96 Jidan 96 吉林省农业科学院JAAS
15 吉单56 Jidan 56 吉林省农业科学院JAAS
16 吉单558 Jidan 558 吉林省农业科学院JAAS
17 吉单441 Jidan 441 吉林省农业科学院JAAS
18 原单68 Yuandan 68 吉林省省原种业有限公司JSSI
19 吉东60 Jidong 60 吉东种业有限责任公司JSI
20 吉东66 Jidong 66 吉东种业有限责任公司JSI
21 垦吉267 Kenji 267 吉东种业有限责任公司JSI
22 垦吉268 Kenji 268 吉东种业有限责任公司JSI
23 垦吉269 Kenji 269 吉东种业有限责任公司JSI
24 鑫鑫1号 Xinxin 1 黑龙江省鑫鑫种子有限公司HXS
25 绥玉23 Suiyu 23 黑龙江省农业科学院绥化分院SHAAS
26 绥玉29 Suiyu 29 黑龙江省农业科学院绥化分院SHAAS
Hybrid name
Breeding institutes
27 绥玉35 Suiyu 35 黑龙江省农业科学院绥化分院SHAAS
28 绥玉42 Suiyu 42 黑龙江省农业科学院绥化分院SHAAS
29 克玉19 Keyu 19 黑龙江省农业科学院克山分院KHAAS
30 龙单42 Longdan 42 黑龙江省农业科学院HAAS
31 龙单67 Longdan 67 黑龙江省农业科学院HAAS
32 龙育7号 Longyu 7 黑龙江省农业科学院HAAS
33 嫩单22 Nendan 22 黑龙江省农业科学院齐齐哈尔分院QHAAS
34 垦单15 Kendan 15 黑龙江省农垦科学院HAALRS
35 庆单3号 Qingdan 3 大庆市庆发种业有限责任公司DQS
36 郑单958 Zhengdan 958 河南省农业科学院HNAAS

Table 2

Identification for cold tolerance of maize seed at germination stage"

Max. (%)
Min. (%)
Mean (%)
CV (%)
发芽势SV 适温Ambient temperature 100.0 23.0 76.0 24.0
低温Low temperature 93.0 0 43.0 70.0
发芽率GR 适温Ambient temperature 100.0 62.0 89.0 10.0
低温Low temperature 98.0 1.0 60.0 44.0
相对发芽势RSV 99.0 0 54.0 60.0
相对发芽率RGR 100.0 2.0 67.0 41.0
相对发芽势冷害率RSCR 100.0 1.0 46.0 72.0
相对发芽冷害率RGCR 99.0 0 34.0 79.0
相对发芽时间RGT 77.0 1.0 52.0 41.0

Table 3

Correlation analysis among different estimation indices at seed germination stage under low temperature stress"

指标Index X1 X2 X3 X4 X5 X6 X7
X1 1
X2 0.696** 1
X3 0.911** 0.548** 1
X4 0.712** 0.958** 0.607** 1
X5 -0.945** -0.666** -0.956** -0.718** 1
X6 -0.705** -0.962** -0.585** -0.994** 0.715** 1
X7 0.673** 0.965** 0.522** 0.970** -0.644** -0.976** 1

Table 4

Principal component analysis of different estimation indices at seed germination stage under low temperature stress"

主成分Principal component I II
特征值Eigen value 5.697 1.115
贡献率Variance contribution ratio 81.388 15.924
累积贡献率Accumulated variance contribution ratio 81.388 97.313
向量特征值Eigen vector X1 0.155 -0.369
向量特征值Eigen vector X2 0.162 0.296
向量特征值Eigen vector X3 0.141 -0.513
向量特征值Eigen vector X4 0.167 0.254
向量特征值Eigen vector X5 -0.156 0.393
向量特征值Eigen vector X6 -0.166 -0.270
向量特征值Eigen vector X7 0.160 0.343

Table 5

Comprehensive index (CL), index weight R(i), and D-value of each variety"

品种 Cultivar CL1 CL2 R1 R2 DD-value
吉单56 Jidan 56 0.708 -0.078 1.000 0.463 0.912
垦吉267 Kenji 267 0.690 0.002 0.983 0.508 0.905
绥玉23 Suiyu 23 0.682 0.064 0.974 0.542 0.904
吉单953 Jidan 953 0.660 0.148 0.953 0.589 0.894
垦吉268 Kenji 268 0.655 0.154 0.948 0.593 0.890
吉单96 Jidan 96 0.641 0.132 0.935 0.581 0.877
吉单95 Jidan 95 0.622 0.103 0.916 0.564 0.858
先玉335 Xianyu 335 0.590 -0.078 0.885 0.463 0.816
吉单441 Jidan 441 0.581 -0.076 0.876 0.464 0.808
吉单558 Jidan 558 0.546 0.221 0.841 0.631 0.807
郑单958 Zhengdan 958 0.555 0.026 0.850 0.521 0.796
鑫鑫1号 Xinxin 1 0.539 -0.183 0.834 0.403 0.764
吉东66 Jidong 66 0.450 0.388 0.748 0.724 0.744
丹玉311 Danyu 311 0.519 -0.286 0.815 0.346 0.738
垦吉269 Kenji 269 0.429 0.271 0.727 0.659 0.716
吉东60 Jidong 60 0.428 0.040 0.726 0.529 0.694
龙单42 Longdan 42 0.449 -0.486 0.746 0.233 0.663
绥玉42 Suiyu 42 0.316 0.495 0.616 0.784 0.644
龙育7号 Longyu 7 0.266 0.470 0.567 0.771 0.601
绥玉35 Suiyu 35 0.232 0.536 0.534 0.807 0.579
辽单586 Liaodan 586 0.235 0.383 0.536 0.721 0.567
吉单27 Jidan 27 0.176 0.879 0.479 1.000 0.564
龙单67 Longdan 67 0.373 -0.901 0.672 0.000 0.562
丹玉336 Danyu 336 0.270 -0.030 0.571 0.489 0.558
辽单575 Liaodan 575 0.230 0.310 0.532 0.680 0.557
辽单352 Liaodan 352 0.224 0.350 0.526 0.703 0.555
原单68 Yuandan 68 0.176 0.230 0.479 0.636 0.505
辽单1258 Liaodan 1258 0.205 -0.081 0.508 0.461 0.500
沈玉21 Shenyu 21 0.115 0.208 0.419 0.623 0.452
辽单1281 Liaodan 1281 0.089 0.319 0.394 0.686 0.442
吉单50 Jidan 50 -0.046 0.607 0.262 0.847 0.357
品种 Cultivar CL1 CL2 R1 R2 DD-value
克玉19 Keyu 19 -0.028 0.327 0.279 0.690 0.346
庆单3号 Qingdan 3 -0.069 0.507 0.239 0.791 0.329
绥玉29 Suiyu 29 -0.066 0.309 0.242 0.680 0.313
嫩单22 Nendan 22 -0.288 0.165 0.024 0.599 0.118
垦单15 Kendan 15 -0.313 0.139 0.000 0.585 0.096

Fig. 1

Cluster of cold tolerance of 36 maize hybrids at seed germination stage I: strong cold-tolerant hybrids; II: cold-tolerant hybrids; III: medium-tolerant hybrids; IV: sensitive hybrids."

Fig. 2

Seed morphology of different cold-tolerant varieties in maize I: strong cold-tolerant hybrids; II: cold-tolerant hybrids; III: medium-tolerant hybrids; IV: sensitive hybrids."

Fig. 3

Storage substances of seed storage from different cold-tolerant varieties in maize I: strong cold-tolerant hybrids; II: cold-tolerant hybrids; III: medium-tolerant hybrids; IV: sensitive hybrids."

Fig. 4

Correlation between seed morphology, storage material, and seed cold tolerance RSV: relative seedling vigor; RGR: relative germination rate; RSCR: relative seedling vigor chilling rate; RGCR: relative germination chill rate; RGT: relative germination time; KL: kernel length; KW: kernel width; KT: kernel thickness; KL/KW: kernel length to width ratio; 100-W: 100-kernel weight; 100-VOL: 100-kernel volume; St: starch content (%); Pr: protein content (%); Fa: fat content (%). **: P < 0.01; *: P < 0.05."

Fig. 5

Regression analysis of seed starch content and RSV, RGR (A), seed starch content and RSCR, RGCR (B), seed starch content and RGT (C), seed protein content and RSV (D) RSV: relative seedling vigor; RGR: relative germination rate; RSCR: relative seedling vigor chilling rate; RGCR: relative germination chill rate; RGT: relative germination time."

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