Honey bees are the main pollinators of onion crops for seed production, but owing to low attractiveness of flowers, pollination is often inadequate. Pollination problems result in low seed yields. This problem is accentuated when male sterile lines (MSL) are used to produce hybrid onion seeds. In this study, the effect of floral attributes and nectar composition on the preference of honey bees of four MSLs and one onion open pollinated cultivar were assessed. The chemical composition of nectar was described through the analysis of sugars, trace elements, volatile organic compounds, and phenol compounds. The samples studied showed qualitative and quantitative differences in the analyzed traits of flowers and nectar among the different lines. Furthermore, field observations showed a great difference on the number of bee visits and seed yield among the onion lines analyzed. For the first time, this study demonstrates that there are marked differences in the chemical composition of nectar and floral morphology between open pollinated and MSLs and also within MSLs. In addition, these differences were correlated with the number of visits and seed yield. Therefore, it would be possible to select indirectly the most promising productive MSL using simple determinations of chemical compounds or floral morphological characters.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 106 • No. 3