Journal Article

Seed storage at elevated partial pressure of oxygen, a fast method for analysing seed ageing under dry conditions

S. P. C. Groot, A. A. Surki, R. C. H. de Vos and J. Kodde

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 110, issue 6, pages 1149-1159
Published in print November 2012 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online September 2012 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcs198

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Despite differences in physiology between dry and relative moist seeds, seed ageing tests most often use a temperature and seed moisture level that are higher than during dry storage used in commercial practice and gene banks. This study aimed to test whether seed ageing under dry conditions can be accelerated by storing under high-pressure oxygen.

Methods

Dry barley (Hordeum vulgare), cabbage (Brassica oleracea), lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and soybean (Glycine max) seeds were stored between 2 and 7 weeks in steel tanks under 18 MPa partial pressure of oxygen. Storage under high-pressure nitrogen gas or under ambient air pressure served as controls. The method was compared with storage at 45 °C after equilibration at 85 % relative humidity and long-term storage at the laboratory bench. Germination behaviour, seedling morphology and tocopherol levels were assessed.

Key Results

The ageing of the dry seeds was indeed accelerated by storing under high-pressure oxygen. The morphological ageing symptoms of the stored seeds resembled those observed after ageing under long-term dry storage conditions. Barley appeared more tolerant of this storage treatment compared with lettuce and soybean. Less-mature harvested cabbage seeds were more sensitive, as was the case for primed compared with non-primed lettuce seeds. Under high-pressure oxygen storage the tocopherol levels of dry seeds decreased, in a linear way with the decline in seed germination, but remained unchanged in seeds deteriorated during storage at 45 °C after equilibration at 85 % RH.

Conclusions

Seed storage under high-pressure oxygen offers a novel and relatively fast method to study the physiology and biochemistry of seed ageing at different seed moisture levels and temperatures, including those that are representative of the dry storage conditions as used in gene banks and commercial practice.

Keywords: Oxidative stress; seed ageing; seed longevity; seed quality; seed storage; seed test; tocopherol

Journal Article.  8129 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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