Healthy seed material ? a myth or possibility?
Keywords:Seed health, seed-borne pathogens, seed treatment, management methods
AbstractThe primary spread of disease often happens through seed-borne pathogens. Though it appears to be insignificant when compared to the amount of pathogen- inoculum load present in the soil or growth medium, in a real sense it contributes to the very starting point of various infections and infestations. There are several bacteria, fungi and viruses that are seed-borne or carried through the seed materials, both internally and externally. Careful inspection of source plants for seed extraction, simple methods of monitoring and seed treatment can vertically reduce the spread of pathogens through seed materials. In the Caribbean, the common practise of farmers is to buy seed material from the open market from external sources. Even with reliable sources, there is often less guarantee for seeds to be free from pathogens though they are assumed to be healthy. Preventative treatment methods including chemical and biological methods and production of healthy seedlings can warrant availability of disease-free seed material for planting. This paper discusses various strategies which could be adopted at the farmer?s level towards production and use of disease-free seed material for planting.