Mexico has a great diversity of maize populations (Zea mays), classified in more than 50 races. This diversity is essentially preserved in dryland cultivation areas where inputs are used moderately or not used. Populations characterization has included nutritional quality and tortilla. Seed osmopriming before planting consists of a water imbibition procese, saline solution or other compounds, such as polyethylene glycol (PEG). These treatments increase germination, vigor and seedling establishment in field. In this research, three maize populations response to osmopriming was evaluated. Tuxpeño population osmopriming showed a significant increase in germination, plumule and root length; Celaya population showed no statistical differences with control. PEG 6 h and 12 hr treatments increased Tuxpeño seedling fresh weight; KNO3-AG3 at 6 hr and 9 hr tratments increased Celaya seedling fresh weight; PEG 12 hr treatment increased Tuxpeño seedling dry weight; root dry weigth of Conico Norteño population was increased with KNO3-AG3 at 9 hr and 12 hr; fresh weigth of this organ was increased in Conical Norteño with PEG 9 hr and KNO3-AG3 at 9 hr and 12 hr; nitrate- had the same effect in Celaya at three incubation times (6, 9 and 12 hr). Celaya and Tuxpeño populations osmopriming could be recommended when seed could be subjected to stress such as hypoxia. Conico Norteño germination was not stimulated. There was an increase in plumule, primary and secondary root length for all three populations. Osmopriming is recommended for water stress or hypoxia during planting.
Keywords: germination, gibberellins, imbibition, vigor.