Pollen Analysis in Sunflower

Why is it Important to Measure Sunflower Pollen Quality?

Pollen viability and pollen amount are essential for a high seed set and indispensable for a cost-efficient seed production. Identifying high pollen quality lines as early as during the breeding process saves both time and resources not only in breeding but also later in production research and seed production. Additionally, this valuable analysis provides breeders with an in-depth knowledge about the genotype-phenotype interaction, helps avoid environmentally induced plant stress by suggesting the proper line placement in respect to the climate zones; and decreases the chance of unsuccessful pollination.

Our specific sunflower chip features automated data analysis of pollen viability and quantity. In combination with our portable Amphasys P20 Pollen Analyzer, this revolutionary technology enables instant results due to easy, crop-specific, and time and resource efficient measurements directly in the field.

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Identification of the best pollinators

    • Characterize pollen viability
    • Determine pollen quantity

Improvement of sunflower seed production

    • Avoid pollination deficiencies by improving seed production planning
    • Preserve pollen and increase success in artificial pollination

Identification of the Best Pollinators

Viable pollen paired with high pollen amount is a pre-requisite for a successful pollination in sunflower. Screening and monitoring of viable and aberrant pollen cells, as well as measuring the number of pollen grains, require a fast, easy, and reliable solution. Our new sunflower chip with automated data analysis provides all of this and more.

Line-screening in Sunflower

In a trial, pollen of different varieties was analysed. The illustration shows the variation of pollen viability across 20 different lines. Various lines show high pollen viability in combination with a very low amount of aberrant cells. Other lines even show a higher amount of aberrant cells than viable pollen. These lines should not be considered in the further breeding process as they will never provide a high seed set.

Line screening in sunflower

Determination of Pollen Quantity in Sunflower

The figure shows the amount of sunflower pollen collected from different lines, during the flowering period. We can observe a clear difference in pollen amount across lines.

Graph of Sunflower Pollen Count

Improvement in Sunflower Seed Production

Yield in seed production is strongly influenced by environmental factors, such as heat and drought stress. The appearance and amount of aberrant cells, which are aborted cells during pollen development, is a strong indicator for abiotic stress. The measurement of pollen viability and determination of aberrant cells with our technology should therefore be a standard parameter in line characterization and considered for purposeful crop-placement.

Detection of Stressed Lines

The plot represents the difference between a heat-stressed and non-stressed line. The large proportion of aberrant cells in the stressed line goes in parallel with a much lower number of viable cells and indicates a much lower tolerance to the climatic conditions. Seed production of this line should therefore take place under more moderate conditions or should not be considered further in the seed production.

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Viability & Count Application Review
Corn Pollen Application Review
PLOS Article on Pollen Analysis
Chapter 25 on Analysis Protocols