Effect of Ethyl Methanesulfonate (EMS) on the Germination, Growth and Yield of Two Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) Varieties

The study was conducted to investigate the effect of different concentrations of ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS) on the growth and yield of two okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L. Moench) varieties (V35 and Clemson spineless). The experiment was conducted in the screen house and field at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State. The screen house experiment was set up in a complete randomized design (CRD) with three replications. The field trial was set up in randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications. Hundred (100) healthy seeds of each variety were selected in the 6 beakers well labeled. Seeds were pre-soaked in distilled water and allowed to stand for 4 hours. Different concentrations of EMS (0.0 %, 0.1 %, 0.2 %, 0.3 %, 0.4 % and 0.5 %) were freshly prepared. The pre-soaked seeds were transferred into the different EMS concentrations and allowed for 4 hours. Fifty (50) seeds were sown in a plastic Petri dish for germination test whereas the remaining seeds were sown in planting bags and kept in the screen house for  preliminary investigation. From the result obtained, three concentrations (0.3 %, 0.4 % and 0.5 %) were then chosen for field trial. the result obtained on seed germination showed a concentration-dependent effect with an increase in EMS doses. Germination percentage was the maximum under the untreated seeds (99.00 % and 95.00 %) in both okra varieties. The concentration of EMS (0.5 %) significantly reduced seed germination (57.00 % and 57.00 % respectively. Shoot length and root length were also reduced with increased EMS concentrations. The result obtained on the growth parameters showed that the treatments significantly affected all the growth variables measured. Treatment 0.3 % EMS recorded a significant increase in all the growth traits in V35 whereas 0.4 % EMS enhanced growth in Clemson spineless variety. The result obtained from the yield parameters showed that 0.5 % and 0.4 % EMS positively affected the yield traits in the okra varieties. The result of this study has shown that EMS could be utilized in the mutation breeding of okra with optimum concentration at 0.3 % and 0.5% for improved agronomic qualities. It is therefore recommended that further study should be conducted on the M2 to observe more variations that could be useful for plant breeders.

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