Sobowale AA, Aduramigba AO and Egberongbe HO
The effect of application of 300 kg/ha NPK fertilizer on viability of maize (Zea mays) seeds and incidence of fungi in maize seeds was examined. Fertilizer application was done 2 weeks after planting. Control experiment had no fertilizer application. Maize cobs were harvested 11 weeks after fertilizer application and brought into the laboratory. Plating of seeds and incubation was done for five days and repeated for four weeks. Petri plates were later scored for viability and fungal incidence. Data obtained were subjected to ANOVA (Analysis of Variance) using Generalized Linear Model (SAS). Isolated fungi included F. verticillioides, Fusarium species, A. flavus, and A. niger. For viability, F values for model (P>0.0004) and week (P>0.0001), were highly significant. Viability of treated maize seeds increased significantly at higher weeks of storage (p=0.01) but not significantly different from control (p=0.05). Incidence of all
isolated fungi in treated seeds increased significantly at higher weeks of storage. Incidence of Fusarium species (p=0.01), and A. flavus (p=0.05) in treated seeds were significantly lower than in control. For all isolated fungi, F values for week (P>0.0001), fungus (P>0.0001), treatment (P>0.0003), interaction between treatment and fungus (P>0.0001), and interaction between week and fungus (P>0.0001) were highly significant. Fusarium spp. including F. verticillioides and A. flavus (p=0.01) were prevalent in the stored seeds. Farmers need to pay continuous attention to appropriate measures of NPK fertilizer application, for yield improvement and reduction in fungal incidence. They may be advised to use seeds stored under appropriate conditions for appropriate length of time for planting.