Quality of sesame seeds produced under soil salinity levels1

ABSTRACT Sesame is considered an alternative crop for small and medium farmers in the Brazilian Northeast region. However, under the conditions of the northeastern semi-arid region, the scarcity of good quality water for irrigation may lead to a reduction in the quality of the final product. This study aimed to evaluate the physiological quality of sesame seeds produced under levels of soil salinity. The experiment was carried out in a completely randomized design, in a 5 × 5 factorial scheme, with three replicates, corresponding to sesame cultivars (BRS Seda, BRS G2, BRS G3, BRS G4 and BRS Anahi) and soil salinity levels with the following values for electrical conductivity: 0.6 dS m-1, 1.2 dS m-1, 1.8 dS m-1, 2.4 dS m-1 and 3.0 dS m-1. The physiological quality was characterized based on tests of germination, first germination count, germination speed index, radicle length, seed electrical conductivity, emergence, emergence speed index and seedling dry matter. BRS Seda, BRS G2 and BRS G3, cultivated under salinity levels, present seeds with a better physiological quality, demonstrating a higher tolerance to salt stress conditions. The BRS Seda and BRS G2 cultivars tolerate salinity levels of up to 2.4 dS m-1, while BRS G3 tolerates levels of up to 1.8 dS m-1. BRS G4 and BRS Anahi have the physiological quality of their seeds compromised by the increase in the soil salinity, during their production.