Evaluation of Induced Mutagenesis Effects of Gamma Irradiation on the Morphology and Yield of three Nigerian Peppers (C. annuum)
This study was aimed at inducing mutation on three cultivars of Capsicum annuum L. to source for new favourable genetic variations that could be exploited for better agronomic and nutritional traits. Mutation was induced by exposing seeds of Shombo, Tatase and Nsukka yellow pepper to gamma irradiation with varied dosages (50, 100, 150 and 200 Gy from 60Co source) and evaluated in the Botanic Garden of the University of Nigeria.
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Pepper fruits of three cultivars (Tatase, Shombo and Nsukka yellow pepper) were obtained from a local farm in Ibagwa Nkwo in Igbo – Eze South Local Government Area of Enugu State. The seeds were divided into five sets and exposed to varied gamma irradiation concentrations of 0, 50, 100, 150 and 200 Gy (Grey) in the Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF), Nuclear Technology Centre (NTC), Sheda Science and Technology Complex, Abuja. Nurseries of the exposed seeds were raised according to the separate treatments during the 2016 planting season in nursery baskets filled with well-filtered topsoil mix according to the specification of Uguru (1999). Seedlings were then transplanted at 6 weeks when the seedlings were 5 to 10 cm tall to individual polybags filled with well-filtered topsoil in the Botanical Garden of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The experiment was carried out using a 3 x 5 factorial experimental design laid out in a completely randomized design (CRD). Days to 50% seedling emergence after planting was estimated as the seedlings emerged, plant height, internode length, petiole length, leaf length, leaf width and pedicel length were measured using a measuring tape in centimetres while the number of branches, leaves and average number of fruits per plant were numerically counted. The number of days after planting to 50% flower bud initiation and fruit ripening were closely monitored, the single fresh fruit weight was measured using a digital weighing balance, while fruit length, diameter, pericarp thickness were measured using a Vanier calliper. Fruit yield per plant was estimated by adding all the fruits harvested per plant (express per hectare) by the average single fruit weight expressed in kilogram.