Effect of Surface Sterilization Fumigation and Gamma Irradiation On the Microflora and Germination of Barley Seeds

Effect of surface sterilization, fumigation and gamma irradiation on the microflora and germination of barley seeds.
Int J Food Microbiol. 1991 May;13(1):47-54.
Ramakrishna N, Lacey J, Smith JE.
A.F.R.C. Institute of Arable Crops Research, Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Hertfordshire,U.K.

Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) and mercuric chloride (HgCl2) surface sterilization, methyl bromide and propylene oxide fumigation and gamma irradiation treatments were compared for their effectiveness in killing microorganisms on or within barley seeds. Surface sterilization with 12.5, 25 or 50% (v/v) NaOCl for 5, 15 or 30 min, decreased Fusarium spp., Epicoccum purpurascens, and Bacillus spp. but did not kill Alternaria alternata. However, surface sterilization with 0.1 or 0.2% (w/v) HgCl2 for 3 min significantly decreased A. alternata, Fusarium spp. and E. purpurascens but Bacillus spp. were only killed by 0.3% (w/v) HgCl2 used for 10 min, which also decreased seed germination. Aspergillus flavus inoculated onto barley seeds as spores, was completely killed by surface sterilization with NaOCl but not with HgCl2, while Fusarium culmorum was killed by both NaOCl and HgCl2 treatments. Fumigation with methyl bromide yielding a concentration-time product of 3000 mg h l-1 or with propylene oxide giving a concentration-time product of 2400 mg h l-1 eliminated all filamentous fungi but Bacillus spp. and yeasts survived, and both treatments adversely affected seed germination. Gamma irradiation at a dose of 4 kGy eliminated most Alternaria, Fusarium and Epicoccum spp. but a dose of 12 kGy was required to kill Bacillus spp., yeasts and Aureobasidium pullulans. Germination was improved slightly up to a dose of 8 kGy but gradually decreased with increase in dosage to 15 kGy of gamma irradiation.

PMID: 1863528 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]