This study estimates the efficacy of an attract-and-kill (A&K) technique to control the horse chestnut leaf miner, Cameraria ohridella Deschka and Dimic (Lepidoptera, Gracillariidae), an invasive insect pest of the horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum L. (Hippocastanaceae). The A&K formulation was dispensed as 50 μl droplets of paste-like matrix, containing C. ohridella sex pheromone, (8E,10Z)-tetradeca-8,10-dienal (85% + pure; 0.16% w/w) and a fast acting contact toxicant, pyrocides (94% pure; 6% w/w), applied directly to the bark of the trees. It was tested in 2003 at rates of 30 and 45 droplets/tree at the Ostrobramska site and at rates of 30, 60 and 90 droplets/tree at the Woloska site in Warsaw, Poland, for the first insect generation. A set of untreated plots (0 droplets/tree) was established at each site as well. The treatment efficacy was estimated using two indices: (1) moth catches in pheromone traps and (2) the number of mines per leaf. Trap catches were significantly higher in the untreated plots than in the treated plots regardless of the application rate in all sites. However, there were no significant differences in leaf damage amongst all plots on each site. At the “Lazienki Krolewskie” park the attractiveness of two types of pheromone sources were compared: traps were baited with rubber septum lures or with A&K droplets. The catches of C. ohridella in traps baited with lures were lower than captures in A&K droplet-baited traps, but the difference was not significant. Possible reasons for the low efficacy of the A&K method in management of C. ohridella and reducing leaf damage are discussed.
Cameraria ohridella; Horse chestnut leafminer; Attract-and-kill; Aesculus hippocastanum
Background and Aims
The period during which seeds develop on the parent plant has been found to affect many seed characteristics, including dormancy, through interactions with the environment. Goodenia fascicularis (Goodeniaceae) seeds were used to investigate whether seeds of an Australian native forb, harvested from different environments and produced at different stages of the reproductive period, differ in dormancy status.
During the reproductive phase, plants were grown ex situ in warm (39/21 °C) or cool (26/13 °C) conditions, with adequate or limited water availability. The physiological dormancy of resulting seeds was measured in terms of the germination response to warm stratification (34/20 °C, 100 % RH, darkness).
Plants in the cool environment were tall and had high above-ground biomass, yet yielded fewer seeds over a shorter, later harvest period when compared with plants in the warm environment. Seeds from the cool environment also had higher viability and greater mass, despite a significant proportion (7 % from the cool-wet environment) containing no obvious embryo. In the warm environment, the reproductive phase was accelerated and plants produced more seeds despite being shorter and having lower above-ground biomass than those in the cool environment. Ten weeks of warm stratification alleviated physiological dormancy in seeds from all treatments resulting in 80–100 % germination. Seeds that developed at warm temperatures were less dormant (i.e. germination percentages were higher) than seeds from the cool environment. Water availability had less effect on plant and seed traits than air temperature, although plants with reduced soil moisture were shorter, had lower biomass and produced fewer, less dormant seeds than plants watered regularly.
Goodenia fascicularis seeds are likely to exhibit physiological dormancy regardless of the maternal environment. However, seeds collected from warm, dry environments are likely to be more responsive to warm stratification than seeds from cooler, wetter environments.
Goodenia fascicularis; Goodeniaceae; Australia; physiological dormancy; seeds; temperature; soil moisture; maternal influence; climate
Since its emergence in Northwest Europe as a pathogen that infects trunks and branches of Aesculus spp. (the horse chestnuts) approximately one decade ago, Pseudomonas syringae pv. aesculi has rapidly established itself as major threat to these trees. Infected trees exhibit extensive necrosis of phloem and cambium, which can ultimately lead to dieback. The events after host entry leading to extensive necrosis are not well documented. In this work, the histopathology of this interaction is investigated and heat-treatment is explored as method to eradicate bacteria associated with established infections. The early wound-repair responses of A. hippocastanum, both in absence and presence of P. s. pv. aesculi, included cell wall lignification by a distinct layer of phloem and cortex parenchyma cells. The same cells also deposited suberin lamellae later on, suggesting this layer functions in compartmentalizing healthy from disrupted tissues. However, monitoring bacterial ingress, its construction appeared inadequate to constrain pathogen spread. Microscopic evaluation of bacterial dispersal in situ using immunolabelling and GFP-tagging of P. s. pv. aesculi, revealed two discriminative types of bacterial colonization. The forefront of lesions was found to contain densely packed bacteria, while necrotic areas housed bacterial aggregates with scattered individuals embedded in an extracellular matrix of bacterial origin containing alginate. The endophytic localization and ability of P. s. pv aesculi to create a protective matrix render it poorly accessible for control agents. To circumvent this, a method based on selective bacterial lethality at 39°C was conceived and successfully tested on A. hippocastanum saplings, providing proof of concept for controlling this disease by heat-treatment. This may be applicable for curing other tree cankers, caused by related phytopathogens.
The effect of stratification on dormancy release of grape seeds crossing from the sub- to the supraoptimal range of temperatures and water contents was analysed by modified threshold models. The stratification impacted on dormancy release in three different ways: (i) dormancy was consistently released with prolonged stratification time when stratified at temperatures of <15 °C; (ii) at 15 °C and 20 °C, the stratification effect initially increased, and then decreased with extended time; and (iii) stratification at 25 °C only reduced germinable seeds. These behaviours indicated that stratification could not only release primary dormancy but also induce secondary dormancy in grape seed. The rate of dormancy release changed linearly in two phases, while induction increased exponentially with increasing temperature. The thermal time approaches effectively quantified dormancy release only at suboptimal temperature, but a quantitative method to integrate the occurrence of dormancy release and induction at the same time could describe it well at either sub- or supraoptimal temperatures. The regression with the percentage of germinable seeds versus stratification temperature or water content within both the sub- and supraoptimal range revealed how the optimal temperature (Tso) and water content (Wso) for stratification changed. The Tso moved from 10.6 °C to 5.3 °C with prolonged time, while Wso declined from >0.40 g H2O g DW−1 at 5 °C to ∼0.23 g H2O g DW−1 at 30 °C. Dormancy release in grape seeds can occur across a very wide range of conditions, which has important implications for their ability to adapt to a changeable environment in the wild.
‘Ceiling’ temperature; dormancy induction; optimum temperature; optimum water content; physiological dormancy; thermal time; Vitis
• Background and Aims Seedlings of Acanthocarpus preissii are needed for coastal sand dune restoration in Western Australia. However, seeds of this Western Australian endemic have proven to be very difficult to germinate. The aims of this study were to define a dormancy-breaking protocol, identify time of suitable conditions for dormancy-break in the field and classify the type of seed dormancy in this species.
• Methods Viability, water-uptake (imbibition) and seed and embryo characteristics were assessed for seeds collected in 2003 and in 2004 from two locations. The effects of GA3, smoke-water, GA3 + smoke-water and warm stratification were tested on seed dormancy-break. In a field study, soil temperature and the moisture content of soil and buried seeds were monitored for 1 year.
• Key Results Viability of fresh seeds was >90 %, and they had a fully developed, curved-linear embryo. Fresh seeds imbibed water readily, with mass increasing approx. 52 % in 4 d. Non-treated fresh seeds and those exposed to 1000 ppm GA3, 1 : 10 (v/v) smoke-water/water or 1000 ppm GA3 + 1 : 10 (v/v) smoke-water/water germinated <8 %. Fresh seeds germinated to >80 % when warm-stratified for at least 7 weeks at 18/33 °C and then moved to 7/18 °C, whereas seeds incubated continuously at 7/18 °C germinated to <20 %.
• Conclusions Seeds of A. preisii have non-deep physiological dormancy that is released by a period of warm stratification. Autumn (March/April) is the most likely time for warm stratification of seeds of this species in the field. This is the first report of the requirement for warm stratification for dormancy release in seeds of an Australian species.
Acanthocarpus preissii; Dasypogonaceae; physiological dormancy; seed dormancy; seed germination; warm stratification
Background and Aims
Only very few studies have been carried out on seed dormancy/germination in the large monocot genus Narcissus. A primary aim of this study was to determine the kind of seed dormancy in Narcissus hispanicus and relate the dormancy breaking and germination requirements to the field situation.
Embryo growth, radicle emergence and shoot growth were studied by subjecting seeds with and without an emerged radicle to different periods of warm, cold or warm plus cold in natural temperatures outdoors and under controlled laboratory conditions.
Mean embryo length in fresh seeds was approx. 1·31 mm, and embryos had to grow to 2·21 mm before radicle emergence. Embryos grew to full size and seeds germinated (radicles emerged) when they were warm stratified for 90 d and then incubated at cool temperatures for 30 d. However, the embryos grew only a little and no seeds germinated when they were incubated at 9/5, 10 or 15/4 °C for 30 d following a moist cold pre-treatment at 5, 9/5 or 10 °C. In the natural habitat of N. hispanicus, seeds are dispersed in late May, the embryo elongates in autumn and radicles emerge (seeds germinate) in early November; however, if the seeds are exposed to low temperatures before embryo growth is completed, they re-enter dormancy (secondary dormancy). The shoot does not emerge until March, after germinated seeds are cold stratified in winter.
Seeds of N. hispanicus have deep simple epicotyl morphophysiological dormancy (MPD), with the dormancy formula C1bB(root) – C3(epicotyl). This is the first study on seeds with simple MPD to show that embryos in advanced stages of growth can re-enter dormancy (secondary dormancy).
Dormancy break; embryo growth; epicotyl morphophysiological dormancy; germination; Narcissus hispanicus; phenology; secondary dormancy; shoot emergence
Seed dormancy is controlled by the physiological or structural properties of a seed and the external conditions. It is induced as part of the genetic program of seed development and maturation. Seeds with deep physiological embryo dormancy can be stimulated to germinate by a variety of treatments including cold stratification. Hormonal imbalance between germination inhibitors (e.g. abscisic acid) and growth promoters (e.g. gibberellins) is the main cause of seed dormancy breaking. Differences in the status of hormones would affect expression of genes required for germination. Proteomics offers the opportunity to examine simultaneous changes and to classify temporal patterns of protein accumulation occurring during seed dormancy breaking and germination. Analysis of the functions of the identified proteins and the related metabolic pathways, in conjunction with the plant hormones implicated in seed dormancy breaking, would expand our knowledge about this process.
A proteomic approach was used to analyse the mechanism of dormancy breaking in Norway maple seeds caused by cold stratification, and the participation of the abscisic (ABA) and gibberellic (GA) acids. Forty-four proteins showing significant changes were identified by mass spectrometry. Of these, eight spots were identified as water-responsive, 18 spots were ABA- and nine GA-responsive and nine spots were regulated by both hormones. The classification of proteins showed that most of the proteins associated with dormancy breaking in water were involved in protein destination. Most of the ABA- and GA-responsive proteins were involved in protein destination and energy metabolism.
In this study, ABA was found to mostly down-regulate proteins whereas GA up-regulated proteins abundance. Most of the changes were observed at the end of stratification in the germinated seeds. This is the most active period of dormancy breaking when seeds pass from the quiescent state to germination. Seed dormancy breaking involves proteins of various processes but the proteasome proteins, S-adenosylmethionine synthetase, glycine-rich RNA binding protein, ABI3-interacting protein 1, EF-2 and adenosylhomocysteinase are of particular importance. The effect of exogenously applied hormones was not a determining factor for total inhibition (ABA) or stimulation (GA) of Norway maple seed dormancy breaking and germination but proteomic data has proven these hormones play a role.
The seed is an important organ in higher plants, it is an important organ for plant survival and species dispersion. The transition between seed dormancy and germination represents a critical stage in the plant life cycle and it is an important ecological and commercial trait. A dynamic balance of synthesis and catabolism of two antagonistic hormones, abscisic acid (ABA) and giberellins (GAs), controls the equilibrium between seed dormancy and germination. Embryonic ABA plays a central role in induction and maintenance of seed dormancy and also inhibits the transition from embryonic to germination growth. Therefore, the ABA metabolism must be highly regulated at both temporal and spatial levels during phase of dessication tolerance. On the other hand, the ABA levels do not depend exclusively on the seeds because sometimes it becomes a strong sink and imports it from the roots and rhizosphere through the xylem and/or phloem. These events are discussed in depth here. Likewise, the role of some recently characterized genes belonging to seeds of woody species and related to ABA signaling are also included. Finally, although four possible ABA receptors have been reported, not much is known about how they mediate ABA signaling transduction. However, new publications seem to show that almost all these receptors lack several properties to consider them as such.
ABA/GA balance; ABA in woody plants; ABA-receptors; biosynthetic ABA mutants; rhizosphere ABA; seed dormancy
Background and Aims
Pathogen–seed interactions may involve a race for seed resources, so that seeds that germinate more quickly, mobilizing reserves, will be more likely to escape seed death than slow-germinating seeds. This race-for-survival hypothesis was tested for the North American seed pathogen Pyrenophora semeniperda on seeds of the annual grass Bromus tectorum, an invasive plant in North America. In this species, the seed germination rate varies as a function of dormancy status; dormant seeds germinate slowly if at all, whereas non-dormant seeds germinate quickly.
Three experimental approaches were utilized: (a) artificial inoculations of mature seeds that varied in primary dormancy status and wounding treatment; (b) naturally inoculated undispersed seeds that varied in primary dormancy status; and (c) naturally inoculated seeds from the carry-over seed bank that varied in degree of secondary dormancy, habitat of origin and seed age.
In all three approaches, seeds that germinated slowly were usually killed by the pathogen, whereas seeds that germinated quickly frequently escaped. Pyrenophora semeniperda reduced B. tectorum seed banks. Populations in drier habitats sustained 50 times more seed mortality than a population in a mesic habitat. Older carry-over seeds experienced 30 % more mortality than younger seeds.
Given the dramatic levels of seed death and the ability of this pathogen to reduce seed carry-over, it is intriguing to consider whether P. semeniperda could be used to control B. tectorum through direct reduction of its seed bank.
Biocontrol; biotic resistance; cheatgrass; Drechslera campanulata; invasive species; mycoherbicide; pathogen; seed bank; seed-borne
Background and Aims
Dry fruits remain around the seeds at dispersal in a number of species, especially the Brassicaceae. Explanations for this vary, but usually involve mechanisms of innate dormancy. We speculate that, instead, a persistent fruit may give additional protection through control of dehydration, to species growing in arid or Mediterranean environments where water is sporadic.
X-rays and weight measurements were used to determine the extent to which Raphanus raphanistrum seeds within mature fruits imbibe water, and germination tests determined the roles of the fruit and seed coat in seed dormancy. Rates of water uptake and desiccation, and seedling emergence were compared with and without the fruit. Finally, germinability of seeds extracted from fruits was determined after various periods of moist conditions followed by a range of dry conditions.
Most seeds rapidly take up water within the fruit, but they do not fully imbibe when compared with naked seeds. The seed coat is more important than the dry fruit wall in maintaining seed dormancy. The presence of a dry fruit slows emergence from the soil by up to 6–8 weeks. The fruit slows the rate of desiccation of the seed to a limited extent. The presence of the fruit for a few days during imbibition somehow primes more seeds to germinate than if the fruit is absent; longer moist periods within the pod appear to induce dormancy.
The fruit certainly modifies the seed environment as external conditions change between wet and dry, but not to a great extent. The major role seems to be: (a) the physical restriction of imbibition and germination; and (b) the release and then re-imposition of dormancy within the seed. The ecological significance of the results requires more research under field conditions.
Wild radish; Raphanus raphanistrum; imbibition; desiccation; dry fruit wall; germination; dormancy; X-ray
Background and Aims
Seed physiological dormancy (PD) limits the use and conservation of some of Queensland's (Qld) native forb species. It was hypothesised that optimum dormancy-alleviating treatments would reflect environmental conditions that seeds experience in situ, and this premise was tested for PD seeds of four species native to south-west Qld.
High temperatures and increased rainfall during summer are characteristic of this semi-arid tropical environment. Ex situ treatments were designed to mimic conditions that seeds dispersed in spring experience during the summer months before germinating in cooler autumn temperatures. Seeds received between 4 and 20 weeks of a dry after-ripening (DAR), warm stratification or dry/wet cycling treatment (DAR interspersed with short periods of warm stratification), in darkness, before being transferred to germination test conditions. In addition, natural dormancy alleviation of one of the Goodeniaceae species was investigated in situ.
Dry/wet cycling resulted in higher levels of germination of Actinobole uliginosum (Asteraceae), Goodenia cycloptera and Velleia glabrata (Goodeniaceae) when compared with constant DAR or stratification, while Goodenia fascicularis (Goodeniaceae) responded better to short durations of warm stratification. Long durations of DAR partially alleviated PD of A. uliginosum; however, stratification induced and maintained dormancy of this species. Modifications to the dry/wet cycling treatment and germination test conditions based on data collected in situ enabled germination of G. cycloptera and V. glabrata to be further improved.
Treatments designed using temperature, relative humidity and rainfall data for the period between natural seed dispersal and germination can successfully alleviate PD. Differences between the four species in conditions that resulted in maximum germination indicate that, in addition to responding to broad-scale climate patterns, species may be adapted to particular microsites and/or seasonal conditions.
Seed dormancy; germination; dry after-ripening; dry/wet cycling; south-west Queensland; Australia; semi-arid tropical; Actinobole uliginosum; Asteraceae; Goodenia fascicularis; Goodenia cycloptera; Velleia glabrata; Goodeniaceae
Background and Aims
Jatropha curcas is a drought-resistant tree whose seeds are a good source of oil that can be used for producing biodiesel. A successful crop establishment depends on a rapid and uniform germination of the seed. In this work we aimed to characterize the responses of J. curcas seeds to temperature and water availability, using thermal time and hydrotime analysis,
Thermal and hydrotime analysis was performed on germination data obtained from the incubation of seeds at different temperatures and at different water potentials.
Base and optimum temperatures were 14·4 and 30 °C, respectively. Approximately 20 % of the seed population displayed absolute dormancy and part of it displayed relative dormancy which was progressively expressed in further fractions when incubation temperatures departed from 25 °C. The thermal time model, but not the hydrotime model, failed to describe adequately final germination percentages at temperatures other than 25 °C. The hydrotime constant, θH, was reduced when the incubation temperature was increased up to 30 °C, the base water potential for 50 % germination,Ψb(50), was less negative at 20 and 30 °C than at 25 °C, indicating either expression or induction of dormancy. At 20 °C this less negative Ψb(50) explained satisfactorily the germination curves obtained at all water potentials, while at 30 °C it had to be corrected towards even less negative values to match observed curves at water potentials below 0. Hence, Ψb(50) appeared to have been further displaced to less negative values as exposure to 30 °C was prolonged by osmoticum. These results suggest expression of dormancy at 20 °C and induction of secondary dormancy above 25 °C. This was confirmed by an experiment showing that inhibition of germination imposed by temperatures higher than 30 °C, but not that imposed at 20 °C, is a permanent effect.
This study revealed (a) the extremely narrow thermal range within which dormancy problems (either through expression or induction of dormancy) may not be encountered; and (b) the high sensitivity displayed by these seeds to water shortage. In addition, this work is the first one in which temperature effects on dormancy expression could be discriminated from those on dormancy induction using a hydrotime analysis.
Jatropha curcas; Euphorbiaceae; seed germination; dormancy; thermal time; hydrotime; water potential
The viability of recalcitrant seeds is lost following stress from either drying or freezing. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting from uncontrolled metabolic activity are likely responsible for seed sensitivity to drying. Nitric oxide (NO) and the ascorbate-glutathione cycle can be used for the detoxification of ROS, but their roles in the seed response to desiccation remain poorly understood. Here, we report that desiccation induces rapid accumulation of H2O2, which blocks recalcitrant Antiaris toxicaria seed germination; however, pretreatment with NO increases the activity of antioxidant ascorbate-glutathione pathway enzymes and metabolites, diminishes H2O2 production and assuages the inhibitory effects of desiccation on seed germination. Desiccation increases the protein carbonylation levels and reduces protein S-nitrosylation of these antioxidant enzymes; these effects can be reversed with NO treatment. Antioxidant protein S-nitrosylation levels can be further increased by the application of S-nitrosoglutathione reductase inhibitors, which further enhances NO-induced seed germination rates after desiccation and reduces desiccation-induced H2O2 accumulation. These findings suggest that NO reinforces recalcitrant seed desiccation tolerance by regulating antioxidant enzyme activities to stabilize H2O2 accumulation at an appropriate concentration. During this process, protein carbonylation and S-nitrosylation patterns are used as a specific molecular switch to control antioxidant enzyme activities.
Dormancy release in imbibed annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum Gaud.) seeds is promoted in the dark but inhibited in the light. The role of abscisic acid (ABA) in inhibition of dormancy release was found to be negligible, compared with its subsequent effect on germination of dormant and non-dormant seeds. Inhibitors of ABA metabolism had the expected effects on seed germination but did not influence ABA concentration, suggesting that they act upon other (unknown) factors regulating dormancy. Although gibberellin (GA) synthesis was required for germination, the influence of exogenous GA on both germination and dormancy release was minor or non-existent. Embryo ABA concentration was the same following treatments to promote (dark stratification) and inhibit (light stratification) dormancy release; exogenous ABA had no effect on this process. However, the sensitivity of dark-stratified seeds to ABA supplied during germination was lower than that of light-stratified seeds. Therefore, although ABA definitely plays a role in the germination of annual ryegrass seeds, it is not the major factor mediating inhibition of dormancy release in imbibed seeds.
Abscisic acid; dormancy release; fluridone; germination; gibberellins; Lolium rigidum; seed
Background and Aims
There is considerable confusion in the literature concerning impermeability of seeds with ‘hard’ seed coats, because the ability to take up (imbibe) water has not been tested in most of them. Seeds of Opuntia tomentosa were reported recently to have a water-impermeable seed coat sensu lato (i.e. physical dormancy), in combination with physiological dormancy. However, physical dormancy is not known to occur in Cactaceae. Therefore, the aim of this study was to determine if seeds of O. tomentosa are water-permeable or water-impermeable, i.e. if they have physical dormancy.
The micromorphology of the seed coat and associated structures were characterized by SEM and light microscopy. Permeability of the seed-covering layers was assessed by an increase in mass of seeds on a wet substrate and by dye-tracking and uptake of tritiated water by intact versus scarified seeds.
A germination valve and a water channel are formed in the hilum–micropyle region during dehydration and ageing in seeds of O. tomentosa. The funicular envelope undoubtedly plays a role in germination of Opuntia seeds via restriction of water uptake and mechanical resistance to expansion of the embryo. However, seeds do not exhibit any of three features characteristic of those with physical dormancy. Thus, they do not have a water-impermeable layer(s) of palisade cells (macrosclereids) or a water gap sensu stricto and they imbibe water without the seed coat being disrupted.
Although dormancy in seeds of this species can be broken by scarification, they have physiological dormancy only. Further, based on information in the literature, it is concluded that it is unlikely that any species of Opuntia has physical dormancy. This is the first integrative study of the anatomy, dynamics of water uptake and dormancy in seeds of Cactaceae subfamily Opuntioideae.
México Valley; Opuntia tomentosa; physical dormancy, physiological dormancy; seed anatomy; seed germination; water uptake by seeds
Background and Aims
Seeds of annual halophytes such as Suaeda maritima experience fluctuating salinity, hydration, hypoxia and temperature during dormancy. Germination then occurs in one flush of 2–3 weeks after about 5 months of winter dormancy during which time the seeds can remain in saline, often waterlogged soil. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of simulated natural conditions during dormancy on germination and to compare this with germination following the usual conditions of storing seeds dry. The effects of hydration, salinity, hypoxia and temperature regimes imposed during dormancy on germination were investigated. Also looked at were the effects of seed size on germination and the interaction between salinity during dormancy and salinity at the time of germination.
Various pre-treatments were imposed on samples of seeds that had been stored dry or wet for different periods of time during the 5 months of natural dormancy. Subsequent germination tests were carried out in conditions that simulated those found in the spring when germination occurs naturally. Various salinities were imposed at germination for a test of interaction between storage salinity and salinity at germination.
A temperature of about 15 °C was needed for germination and large seeds germinated earlier and better than small seeds. Cold seawater pre-treatment was necessary for good germination; the longer the saline pre-treatment during the natural dormancy period the better the germination. There appeared to be no effect of any specific ion of the seawater pre-treatment on germination and severe hypoxia did not prevent good germination. A short period of freezing stimulated early germination in dry-stored seed. Storage in cold saline or equivalent osmotic medium appeared to inhibit germination during the natural dormancy period and predispose the seed to germinate when the temperature rose and the salinity fell. Seeds that were stored in cold wet conditions germinated better in saline conditions than those stored dry.
The conditions under which seeds of S. maritima are stored affect their subsequent germination. Under natural conditions seeds remain dormant in highly saline, anoxic mud and then germinate when the temperature rises above about 15 °C and the salinity is reduced.
Suaeda maritima; germination; pre-treatment; salinity; temperature
Background and Aims
The small leafy succulent shrub Halocnemum strobilaceum occurs in saline habitats from northern Africa and Mediterranean Europe to western Asia, and it is a dominant species in salt deserts such as those of north-west China. The effects of temperature, light/darkness and NaCl salinity were tested on seed germination, and the effects of salinity were tested on seed germination recovery, radicle growth and radicle elongation recovery, using seeds from north-west China; the results were compared with those previously reported on this species from ‘salt steppes’ in the Mediterranean region of Spain.
Seed germination was tested over a range of temperatures in light and in darkness and over a range of salinities at 25 °C in the light. Seeds that did not germinate in the NaCl solutions were tested for germination in deionized water. Seeds from which radicles had barely emerged in deionized water were transferred to NaCl solutions for 10 d and then back to deionized water for 10 d to test for radicle growth and recovery.
Seeds germinated to higher percentages in light than in darkness and at high than at low temperatures. Germination percentages decreased with an increase in salinity from 0·1 to 0·75 m NaCl. Seeds that did not germinate in NaCl solutions did so after transfer to deionized water. Radicle elongation was increased by low salinity, and then it decreased with an increase in salinity, being completely inhibited by ≥2·0 m NaCl. Elongation of radicles from salt solutions <3·0 m resumed after seedlings were transferred to deionized water.
The seed and early seedling growth stages of the life cycle of H. strobilaceum are very salt tolerant, and their physiological responses differ somewhat between the Mediterranean ‘salt steppe’ of Spain and the inland cold salt desert of north-west China.
Halocnemum strobilaceum; halophyte; inland salt desert; radicle growth; radicle growth recovery; seed germination; seed germination recovery
Background and Aims
Suaeda aralocaspica is a C4 summer annual halophyte without Kranz anatomy that is restricted to the deserts of central Asia. It produces two distinct types of seeds that differ in colour, shape and size. The primary aims of the present study were to compare the dormancy and germination characteristics of dimorphic seeds of S. aralocaspica and to develop a conceptual model of their dynamics.
Temperatures simulating those in the natural habitat of S. aralocaspica were used to test for primary dormancy and germination behaviour of fresh brown and black seeds. The effects of cold stratification, gibberellic acid, seed coat scarification, seed coat removal and dry storage on dormancy breaking were tested in black seeds. Germination percentage and recovery responses of brown seeds, non-treated black seeds and 8-week cold-stratified black seeds to salt stress were tested.
Brown seeds were non-dormant, whereas black seeds had non-deep Type 2 physiological dormancy (PD). Germination percentage and rate of germination of brown seeds and of variously pretreated black seeds were significantly higher than those of non-pretreated black seeds. Exposure of seeds to various salinities had significant effects on germination, germination recovery and induction into secondary dormancy. A conceptual model is presented that ties these results together and puts them into an ecological context.
The two seed morphs of S. aralocaspica exhibit distinct differences in dormancy and germination characteristics. Suaeda aralocaspica is the first cold desert halophyte for which non-deep Type 2 PD has been documented.
Borszczowia; cold desert halophyte; physiological seed dormancy; seed germination; Suaeda
Seed dormancy offers plants an adaptive advantage that is crucial to their successful colonization of land. The decision to make the transition from a dormant seed to a photoautotrophic seedling is a result of a complex interaction of internal hormonal signals and external stimuli such as water, temperature and light. We recently showed that HY5, a well-characterized component in the light signaling pathway, also mediates abscisic acid (ABA) response during seed germination, early seedling growth and root development in Arabidopsis. We proposed that HY5 regulates these ABA responses partly by directly activating the transcription factor gene ABI5. By analyzing the premature germination of hy5 and abi5 single and double mutants, here we demonstrated that HY5 also positively controls seed maturation and dormancy, likely through direct activation of the ABI5 gene. The contrasting role of light regulation of seed development and germination may be important for the adaptation of plants to the environment.
seed dormancy; light; ABA; HY5; ABI5
We report epicotyl dormancy of two tropical Ceasalpinioid species;
Browneacoccinea, Cynometracauliflora. Heretofore, epicotyl dormancy has
been reported in only one Ceasalpinioid species.The kind of dormancy in seeds of
C. cauliflorawas described with the new formula
Background and aims
Physiological epicotyl dormancy in which the epicotyl elongates inside the seed before
the shoot emerges has been reported for only a few tropical rainforest species, all of
which are trees that produce recalcitrant seeds. In studies on seeds of Fabaceae in Sri
Lanka, we observed a considerable time delay in shoot emergence following root emergence
in seeds of the introduced caesalpinioid legumes Brownea coccinea and
Cynometra cauliflora. Thus, our aim was to determine if seeds of
these two tropical rainforest trees have physiological epicotyl dormancy, and also if
they are recalcitrant, i.e. desiccation sensitive.
Fresh seeds were (i) dried to various moisture levels, and (ii) stored at −1 and
5 °C to determine loss (or not) of viability and thus type of seed storage
behaviour (orthodox, recalcitrant or intermediate). To identify the kind of dormancy, we
tested the effect of scarification on imbibition and monitored radicle emergence and
epicotyl growth (inside the seed) and emergence.
Fresh seeds of both species had high moisture content (MC): 50 % for C.
cauliflora and 30 % for B. coccinea. Further, all
seeds of C. cauliflora and the majority of those of B.
coccinea lost viability when dried to 15 % MC; most seeds of both
species also lost viability during storage at −1 or 5 °C. Intact seeds of
both species were water permeable, and radicles emerged in a high percentage of them in
<30 days. However, shoot emergence lagged behind root emergence by 77 ± 14
days in B. coccinea and by 38 ± 4 days in C.
cauliflora. Further, plumule growth inside seeds of C.
cauliflora began almost immediately after radicle emergence but not until
∼30–35 days in B. coccinea seeds.
Seeds of both species are recalcitrant and have physiological epicotyl dormancy. The
kind of physiological epicotyl dormancy in seeds of C. cauliflora has
not been described previously; the formula is Cnd
Background and Aims
In seeds with deep simple epicotyl morphophysiological dormancy, warm and cold stratification are required to break dormancy of the radicle and shoot, respectively. Although the shoot remains inside the seed all winter, little is known about its growth and morphological development prior to emergence in spring. The aims of the present study were to determine the temperature requirements for radicle and shoot emergence in seeds of Viburnum betulifolium and V. parvifolium and to monitor growth of the epicotyl, plumule and cotyledons in root-emerged seeds.
Fresh and pre-treated seeds of V. betulifolium and V. parvifolium were incubated under various temperature regimes and monitored for radicle and shoot emergence. Growth of the epicotyl and cotyledons at different stages was observed with dissecting and scanning electron microscopes.
The optimum temperature for radicle emergence of seeds of both species, either kept continuously at a single regime or exposed to a sequence of regimes, was 20/10 °C. GA3 had no effect on radicle emergence. Cold stratification (5 °C) was required for shoot emergence. The shoot apical meristem in fresh seeds did not form a bulge until the embryo had grown to the critical length for radicle emergence. After radicle emergence, the epicotyl–plumule and cotyledons grew slowly at 5 and 20/10 °C, and the first pair of true leaves was initiated. However, the shoot emerged only from seeds that received cold stratification.
Seeds of V. betulifolium and V. parvifolium have deep simple epicotyl morphophysiological dormancy, C1bB (root)–C3 (epicotyl). Warm stratification was required to break the first part of physiological dormancy (PD), thereby allowing embryo growth and subsequently radicle emergence. Although cold stratification was not required for differentiation of the epicotyl–plumule, it was required to break the second part of PD, thereby allowing the shoot to emerge in spring.
Epicotyl morphophysiological dormancy; epicotyl–plumule growth; radicle emergence; seed germination; shoot growth; Viburnum
Imbibed seeds integrate environmental and endogenous signals to break dormancy and initiate growth under optimal conditions. Seed maturation plays an important role in determining the survival of germinating seeds, for example one of the roles of dormancy is to stagger germination to prevent mass growth under suboptimal conditions. The B3-domain transcription factor FUSCA3 (FUS3) is a master regulator of seed development and an important node in hormonal interaction networks in Arabidopsis thaliana. Its function has been mainly characterized during embryonic development, where FUS3 is highly expressed to promote seed maturation and dormancy by regulating ABA/GA levels.
In this study, we present evidence for a role of FUS3 in delaying seed germination at supraoptimal temperatures that would be lethal for the developing seedlings. During seed imbibition at supraoptimal temperature, the FUS3 promoter is reactivated and induces de novo synthesis of FUS3 mRNA, followed by FUS3 protein accumulation. Genetic analysis shows that FUS3 contributes to the delay of seed germination at high temperature. Unlike WT, seeds overexpressing FUS3 (ML1:FUS3-GFP) during imbibition are hypersensitive to high temperature and do not germinate, however, they can fully germinate after recovery at control temperature reaching 90% seedling survival. ML1:FUS3-GFP hypersensitivity to high temperature can be partly recovered in the presence of fluridone, an inhibitor of ABA biosynthesis, suggesting this hypersensitivity is due in part to higher ABA level in this mutant. Transcriptomic analysis shows that WT seeds imbibed at supraoptimal temperature activate seed-specific genes and ABA biosynthetic and signaling genes, while inhibiting genes that promote germination and growth, such as GA biosynthetic and signaling genes.
In this study, we have uncovered a novel function for the master regulator of seed maturation, FUS3, in delaying germination at supraoptimal temperature. Physiologically, this is important since delaying germination has a protective role at high temperature. Transcriptomic analysis of seeds imbibed at supraoptimal temperature reveal that a complex program is in place, which involves not only the regulation of heat and dehydration response genes to adjust cellular functions, but also the activation of seed-specific programs and the inhibition of germination-promoting programs to delay germination.
High temperature; FUSCA3; Seed germination; Hormones; ABA; Transcriptome
Arabidopsis FY, a homologue of the yeast RNA 3' processing factor Pfs2p, regulates the autonomous floral transition pathway through its interaction with FCA, an RNA binding protein. It is demonstrated here that FY also influences seed dormancy. Freshly-harvested seed of the Arabidopsis fy-1 mutant germinated readily in the absence of stratification or after-ripening. Furthermore, the fy-1 mutant showed less ABA sensitivity compared with the wild type, Ler, under identical conditions. Freshly-harvested seed of fy-1 had significantly higher ABA levels than Ler, even though Ler was dormant and fy-1 germinated readily. The PPLPP domains of FY, which are required for flowering control, were not essential for the ABA-influenced repression of germination. FLC expression analysis in seeds of different genotypes suggested that the effect of FY on dormancy may not be elicited through FLC. No significant differences in CYP707A1, CYP707A2, NCED9, ABI3, and ABI4 were observed between freshly-harvested Ler and fy-1 imbibed for 48 h. GA3ox1 and GA3ox2 rapidly increased over the 48 h imbibition period for fy-1, with no significant increases in these transcripts for Ler. ABI5 levels were significantly lower in fy-1 over the 48 h imbibition period. The results suggest that FY is involved in the development of dormancy and ABA sensitivity in Arabidopsis seed.
ABA; ABI5; dormancy; flowering; FY; germination
Background and Aims
Diptychocarpus strictus is an annual ephemeral in the cold desert of northwest China that produces heteromorphic fruits and seeds. The primary aims of this study were to characterize the morphology and anatomy of fruits and seeds of this species and compare the role of fruit and seed hetermorphism in dispersal and germination.
Shape, size, mass and dispersal of siliques and seeds and the thickness of the mucilage layer on seeds were measured, and the anatomy of siliques and seeds, the role of seed mucilage in water absorption/dehydration, germination and adherence of seeds to soil particles, the role of pericarp of lower siliques in seed dormancy and seed after-ripening and germination phenology were studied using standard procedures.
Plants produce dehiscent upper siliques with a thin pericarp containing seeds with large wings and a thick mucilage layer and indehiscent lower siliques with a thick pericarp containing nearly wingless seeds with a thin mucilage layer. The dispersal ability of seeds from the upper siliques was much greater than that of intact lower siliques. Mucilage increased the amount of water absorbed by seeds and decreased the rate of dehydration. Seeds with a thick mucilage layer adhered to soil particles much better than those with a thin mucilage layer or those from which mucilage had been removed. Fresh seeds were physiologically dormant and after-ripened during summer. Non-dormant seeds germinated to high percentages in light and in darkness. Germination of seeds from upper siliques is delayed until spring primarily by drought in summer and autumn, whereas the thick, indehiscent pericarp prevents germination for >1 year of seeds retained in lower siliques.
The life cycle of D. strictus is morphologically and physiologically adapted to the cold desert environment in time and space via a combination of characters associated with fruit and seed heteromorphism.
Cold desert annual ephemeral; Diptychocarpus; fruit and seed heteromorphism; non-deep physiological dormancy; seed dispersal; seed germination
Background and Aims
Most studies on seed position-dependent effects have focused on germination characteristics. Our aim was to determine the effects of seed position in the spikelet on differences in timing of germination and on the ecological life history of the grass Eremopyrum distans in its cold desert habitat.
For seeds in three spikelet positions, morphology, mass and dormancy/germination characteristics were determined in the laboratory, and seeds planted in field plots with and without watering were followed to reproduction to investigate seedling emergence and survival, plant size and seed production.
After maturation, of the seeds within the spikelet, basal ones (group 1) are the largest and have the highest proportion with physiological dormancy, while distal ones (group 3) are the smallest and have the highest proportion of non-dormant seeds. A higher percentage of seeds after-ripened in groups 2 and 3 than in group 1. Seeds sown in the field in early summer and watered at short, regular intervals germinated primarily in autumn, while those under natural soil moisture conditions germinated only in spring. Both cohorts completed their life cycle in early summer. Seeds in group 1 had lower percentages of seedling emergence and higher percentages of seedling survival than those in groups 2 and 3. Also, plants from group 1 seeds were larger and produced more seeds per plant than those from groups 2 and 3.
Seed position-dependent mass was associated with quantitative differences in several life history traits of E. distans. The environmentally enforced (low soil moisture) delay of germination from autumn to spring results in a reduction in fitness via reduction in number of seeds produced per plant.
Eremopyrum distans; physiological dormancy; plant size; seed mass; seed position-dependent effects; seed production; seedling survival