Three pollination control tents (PCTs) made from novel nonwoven synthetic fabrics with more open pore structure (DWB10, DWB23 and DWB24) were compared with the standard DWB01 fabric for pollen proofing in sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) at the research station of Lion Seed Ltd Essex, UK in 2019. PCTs of 63.5 x 63.5 cm footprint accommodated single potted plants. A completely randomised trial with five replications including an open pollinated control was conducted using cytoplasmic male sterile line 1TM37. Analysis was computed for (a) full data and (b) excluding three DWB23 defective tents. Differences among treatments were non-significant for all morphological traits except for number of secondary branches in (a) only. There was thus no micro-climatic difference among treatments for morphological traits of the 1TM37 CMS line. Among the seed related traits, 1000-seed weight and 10-day germination (%) were significant between treatments in (a) but only 1000-seed weight in (b). The mean 1000-seed weight was significantly higher for the open control than all other PCT treatment means which did not differ significantly from zero. Therefore, all four fabrics of PCTs were equally pollen proof in preventing pollen contamination. It is concluded for the first time that mini-tents of these novel nonwoven fabrics, engineered for both larger pores for air permeability and fibre architecture to prevent pollen transmission, adequately eliminated cross-pollination while maintaining ambient environmental conditions and are effective for sugar beet breeding. The PCT technology may be equally usefully deployed in other traditional, commercial and fibre crops for hybrid seed production.
Key words: Sugar beet, nonwoven synthetic fabric, pollination control tent, male sterility.
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