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dc.contributor.advisor Mashela, P. W. Maila, Mmatshelo Yvonne
dc.contributor.other Nzanza, B. 2017-02-14T09:03:09Z 2017-02-14T09:03:09Z 2015
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D. (Plant Production)) -- University of Limpopo, 2015 en_US
dc.description.abstract Wild watermelon (Cucumis africanus LF.) and wild cucumber (Cucumis myriocarpus Naude.) are known for their ethnomedicine, ethnopesticide, ethnonematicide and nutritional properties, along with nematode resistance. The two Cucumis species were successfully used as inter-generic seedling rootstocks for watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thunb.) cultivars, where nematode-resistant genotypes are not available. Also, the two Cucumis species are hardy and resilient to inland South Africa conditions, where temperatures are predicted to increase by 6°C in the year 2030. Seeds in the Cucurbitaceae Family contain high concentration of cucurbitacins, which induce auto-allelopathy that inherently inhibits plant growth and germination. Poor germination and non-uniform stands as a result of seed dormancy are a major challenge in sexual propagation of wild Cucumis species for various potential industries. Generally, true-to-type, uniform and disease-free plants in plant production are asexually-generated through in vitro propagation techniques. This study was therefore, initiated to address seed dormancy and related challenges of sexual propagation in the two wild Cucumis species by determining whether: (1) seed dormancy in C. africanus and C. myiocarpus would be ameliorated to allow for in vitro sexual propagation to establish pathogen-free parent stock, (2) the testa in C. africanus and C. myiocarpus seeds would possess structures, which interfere with imbibition and movement of water to the endosperm, (3) all organs of C. africanus and C. myriocarpus would be suitable for in vitro propagation, (4) suitable potting medium for in vitro propagated plantlets of C. africanus and C. myriocarpus would be available for acclimatisation of plantlets and (5) in vitro-produced xxviii plantlets from nematode-resistant C. africanus and C. myriocarpus would retain their resistance to Meloidogyne incognita race 2 under greenhouse conditions. In vitro and ex vitro experiments were conducted to achieve the stated objectives, with treatments in the laboratory and the greenhouse being arranged in completely randomised and randomised complete block designs, respectively. Validity was primarily ensured through the use of factorial trials, while the reliability of data was ensured by using appropriate levels of statistical significance. Leaching alone in C. africanus improved germination, while in C. myriocarpus this treatment had no effect on germination. The optimum leaching time in leached-control seeds of C. africanus was achieved at 7.1 h, with a 25-day mean germination time (MGT) and 52% optimum germination percentage (GP). In the two Cucumis species, the combined effect of leaching seeds in running tapwater and physical scarification of seeds at the chalaza region escalated germination in both Cucumis species, suggesting that both chemical and physical seed dormancies were involved. In C. africanus, cucurbitacin B (C32H48O8) was deposited exogenously to the testa, whereas in C. myriocarpus cucurbitacin A [cucumin (C27H4009) and leptodermin (C27H3808)], was deposited endogenously to the testa. The optimum leaching time in leached-scarified (LS) seeds of C. africanus was achieved at 5.7 h, with at least 40-day MGT and 89% optimum GP. In contrast, in C. myriocarpus LS seeds had the optimum leaching time of 6.3 h, with at least 41 days MGT and 93% optimum GP. Field emission SEM confirmed that there were two “water-gaps”, one at the micropylar region (hilum end) and the other at chalaza region (abaxial end) of seeds in both Cucumis species. Five distinct testa layers in seeds of C. myriocarpus were observed, namely, (i) epidermis, (ii) hypodermis, (iii) sclerenchyma, (iv) aerenchyma xxix and (v) chlorenchyma. In contrast, C. africanus seeds did not have the hypodermis between the micropylar and chalaza regions, but was present around both regions, which may provide some explanation of sporadic germination in non-leached and non-scarified seeds in this Cucumis species. The most suitable plant propagules for in vitro mass propagation of the two Cucumis species were nodal and apical buds. The optimum PGRs for shoot regeneration using both propagules in C. africanus and C. myriocarpus were at 0.80 and 0.35 μM 6-benzyladeninepurine (BAP), respectively. In contrast, the largest number of roots was regenerated at 0.31 and 0.44 μM indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) for C. africanus and C. myriocarpus, respectively. In vitro-produced plantlets were successfully acclimatised to ex vitro conditions, with sand + compost potting medium being the most suitable growing medium for weaning both Cucumis species. The in vitro-produced plantlets retained their resistance to M. incognita race 2. In conclusion, seeds of C. africanus and C. myriocarpus are structurally and chemically different, with strong evidence of chemical and physical dormancies. Structurally, C. myriocarpus seeds consist of five layers, four lignified and one non-lignified, whereas those of C. africanus have four layers, three lignified and one non-lignified. Evidence suggested that in C. africanus seeds, allelochemicals were primarily deposited outside the testa, whereas in C. myriocarpus they were deposited within the testa. The identified seed dormancies could successfully be ameliorated through combining leaching and scarification in both Cucumis species. The developed in vitro propagation protocols accord the two Cucumis species the potential for use as future crops in the context of climate-smart agriculture and research. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Flemish Interuniversity Council (VLIR) en_US
dc.format.extent xxix, 186 leaves en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.relation.requires Adobe Acrobat Reader, version 6 en_US
dc.subject Seed dormancy en_US
dc.subject In vitro propagation en_US
dc.subject Cucumis species en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Plant propagation -- In vitro. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Seeds -- Dormancy en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Cucumis en_US
dc.title Overcoming seed dormancy and development of In vitro propagation protocols in indigenous cucumis species for use as alternative crops in various industries en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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