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Trichome numbers in naked-oat cultivars



The oat kernel, caryopsis or groat, is generally covered with fine silky hairs termed trichomes. The trichomes of naked oat are partly lost during threshing and handling of grains when the lemma and palea are removed and the surface of the grain is exposed. Trichomes can cause itchiness and more serious reactions in those handling the grains. Trichomes also accumulate and form fine dust and can block up machinery. Trichomes are clearly problematic and growers of naked oat are eager to have oat cultivars with reduced numbers of trichomes. Experiments compared the differences in trichome numbers of naked-oat cultivars and threshing settings. The cultivars differed considerably in pubescence. Cultivars Lisbeth and NK 00117 had most trichomes and cv. Bullion the fewest. Completely bare or polished grains were not observed. Pubescence was not associated with grain weight or test weight. However, grains from the lowermost spikelets of the panicle had fewer trichomes than those from the uppermost spikelets. For cv. Bullion, some threshing settings, including increased cylinder speed, slightly increased grain polishing such that grains had some areas completely free of trichomes. Reduction of the concave clearance in the combine harvester had a similar effect. However, threshing settings did not affect the trichomes of cv. Lisbeth. Adjusting threshing machinery settings was generally not an efficient means of solving the problems associated with naked-oat trichomes, but cultivar differences existed and further efforts in breeding to reduce trichome numbers are required.


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Trichome numbers in naked-oat cultivars



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