Strategy for selection of soybean genotypes tolerant to drought during germination.
Water deficit is the main reason for instability in the context of soybean culture. The development of strategies for the selection of more tolerant genotypes is necessary. These strategies include the use of polyethylene glycol 6000 solutions (PEG-6000) for conducting the germination test under conditions of water restriction. Thus, the objective of this study was to determine the osmotic potential and the main characteristics that promote the discrimination of soybean genotypes with regard to water stress tolerance during germination and the vigor test. Thirteen soybean cultivars were used. The seeds were allowed to germinate on sheets of germitest paper moistened in solution with PEG-6000, simulating different levels of water availability, which is expressed as osmotic potential (0.0, -0.2, -0.4, and -0.6 MPa). We assessed germination, length, and dry mass for seedlings and seeds, as well as reserve dynamics. Germination and variables related to the dynamics of reservation have great influence on the expression of variability in environments under stress. Among the different osmotic potentials, the -0.2 MPa was the most efficient for the expression of genetic variability among the cultivars. Conducting the germination test with PEG-6000 solution to -0.2 MPa was efficient for selecting soybean cultivars tolerant to water stress. This was accomplished by evaluating the percentage of germination, along with variables related to the dynamics of reservation.