a1 GEVES, Station Nationale d'Essais de Semences, rue G. Morel, 49071 Beaucouzé, France
a2 GEVES, rue G. Morel BP 90024, 49071 Beaucouzé, France
Winter rape has a life cycle which necessitates rapid testing of seed quality for the seed production sector, namely between July after harvest of the previous crop and August when the next crop establishment begins. As this crop is the fourth most important crop in France, and the most important oilseed crop, the French seed testing station GEVES has managed several research programmes to study seed quality in this species. These collaborative programmes have not only associated seed science with seed technology but also informatics and electronic engineering to provide seed testing tools that are already used by the seed sector, such as conductivity, or innovative tools, such as germination time courses monitored by computer imaging. Forthcoming tools have also been looked at in order to control seed storage potential, which is often used nowadays to anticipate the next season. Biochemical markers have been studied, including seed-specific biotinylated proteins or enzymes involved in free radical (reactive oxygen species) scavenging, such as catalase. Both are well correlated with seed ageing and have been tested to provide an ELISA-like assay for seed testing laboratories. Germination monitoring by computer imaging is now used by research and breeding institutes to phenotype varying seed material, including genotype or mutant collections, primed or ageing seed lots, etc. The next step in seed quality testing in oilseed rape is to characterize variation in germination and seed vigour in order to stabilize optimal yield. This aim constitutes a new international project involving high-throughput phenotyping and genotyping of a large collection of genetically diverse rapeseed genotypes (double haploid populations or diverse cultivars).
(Received June 23 2011)
(Accepted July 26 2011)