Seed Set Patterns in East African Highland Cooking Bananas Are Dependent on Weather before, during and after Pollination
Mukasa, Settumba B.
Tugume, Arthur K.
Tushemereirwe, Wilberforce K.
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Seed set in banana is influenced by weather, yet the key weather attributes and the critical period of influence are unknown. We therefore investigated the influence of weather during floral development for a better perspective of seed set increase. Three East African highland cooking bananas (EAHBs) were pollinated with pollen fertile wild banana ‘Calcutta 4'. At full maturity, bunches were harvested, ripened, and seeds extracted from fruit pulp. Pearson’s correlation analysis was then conducted between seed set per 100 fruits per bunch and weather attributes at 15-day intervals from 105 days before pollination (DBP) to 120 days after pollination (DAP). Seed set was positively correlated with average temperature (P < 0.05–P < 0.001, r = 0.196–0.487) and negatively correlated with relative humidity (RH) (P < 0.05–P < 0.001, r = −0.158–−0.438) between 75 DBP and the time of pollination. After pollination, average temperature was negatively correlated with seed set in ‘Mshale’ and ‘Nshonowa’ from 45 to 120 DAP (P < 0.05–P < 0.001, r = −0.213–−0.340). Correlation coefficients were highest at 15 DBP for ‘Mshale’ and ‘Nshonowa’, whereas for ‘Enzirabahima’, the highest were at the time of pollination. Maximum temperature as revealed by principal component analysis at the time of pollination should be the main focus for seed set increase.