Seeds of two shrunken-2 (sh2) sweet corn (Zea mays L.) cultivars, Crisp N' Sweet 711 and How Sweet It Is were used to analyze seed quality factor differences between the cultivars. Negative correlations occurred among germination percentage and imbibition, electric conductivity, potassium concentration and total soluble sugars of the seed leachate. Imbibition and total soluble sugar in the leachate significantly increased as imbibition temperature increased from 5°C to 25°C in both cultivars. A significant increase in conductivity of the leachate also occurred in `Crisp N' Sweet 711' when temperature increased. Cracks in the seed coat were more frequent in `How Sweet It Is' than `Crisp N' Sweet 711'. The higher concentrations of soluble sugars in the seed, greater imbibition rate, leakage conductivity, potassium and sugar concentration in the leachate may have been directly related to the poorer seed quality of `How Sweet It Is'. The alteration in cell membrane structure caused by a rapid water uptake in `How Sweet It Is' may have led to the high concentration of electrolytes in the seed leachate. This, in turn, might provide a greater nutritive subtrate for fungi development.