Environmental and Genetic Determinants of Seed Quality and Performance
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The goal of vegetable nurseries is to provide high quality transplants for growers. Growing high-quality transplants requires a thorough knowledge of the seed quality factors affecting germination and emergence under diverse nursery conditions and a broad understanding of the physiological processes underlying transplant growth and morphology in a ''root-confinement'' environment. Transplant quality will affect how seedlings respond to abiotic stresses; this is particularly important in Texas and other regions of southern U.S., where drought and heat stresses cause significant economic losses.Despite the technological advances made by the seed and transplant industry during the last two decades, vegetable nurseries continue experimenting and adapting the two major growing factors (irrigation and N fertilization) affecting the rate of seedling development. Dramatic genetic improvements have been achieved through conventional and modern breeding and now hybrid cultivars present ''target'' traits that may have the potential to modify the phenotype through improvements in resource use capture (water, nutrients, light) and indirectly modify their stress tolerance mechanisms. PGRs, bio-stimulants and grafting technologies offer the potential to modulate seedling root-shoot responses and improve transplant quality, especially for newly developed hybrids and/or novel crops, including hemp.