Application of morpho-anatomical traits of maize plant to quality control and quality assurance in maize seed system
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Good seed quality can be obtained through control of the entire seed production process. There are emerging issues in the seed sector due to seed quality in market. In many countries seed and planting materials available to farmers are often of insufficient quality, thus undermining the potential performance of crops. The objective this study was to use morpho-anatomical traits to determine the levels of maize hybrid seed purity on the market in Uganda. A total of 120 samples of four popular commercial maize hybrid were collected from agro-dealers in 13 districts, representing 3 seed companies’ distribution network. The samples were planted and evaluated based on their descriptors, using an Alpha Lattice Design, with two replications at the National Crops Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), Namulonge. Data were collected for 33 morpho-anatomical traits. Results showed significant (P<0.05) differences within hybrids, and sources of seed among districts. Among the test materials, only Longe 9H had no significant (P<0.05) difference within traits but others had some levels of significant (P<0.05) differences. The principal component analysis of quantitative traits resulted in four components for each variety, with the explanation total of 53.3% for Longe 6H, 51.1% for Longe 7H, and 92.8% for Longe 9H and 39.1% for Longe 10%. There were varying levels of contamination of commercial hybrids based on morphoanatomical traits diversity within hybrids, compared to their descriptors for the traits evaluated. Hence, there is need to strengthen the quality control sub-sector for improved productivity at farmer levels.