A System for Controlling Water Potential in Seed Germination Research

in HortScience
Authors:
Phil S. AllenDepartment of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108

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Donald B. WhiteDepartment of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108

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Karl RusserDepartment of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108

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Dave OlsonDepartment of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108

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An inexpensive system for maintaining desired water potentials throughout seed germination was developed. During hydration, a water reservoir at the base of inclined petri dishes allowed continual saturation of filter paper on which seeds were placed. During dehydration, seeds were exposed to equilibrium vapor pressures above saturated salt solutions. Constant temperature, necessary to prevent condensation of water vapor, was achieved via a small (0.2 A) fan that furnished and circulated heat throughout an insulated chamber in which salt solutions were placed. By operating the chamber above ambient laboratory temperature, interior cooling was not required. The system allowed manipulation of the rate, degree, and frequency of dehydration episodes to which germinating seeds were exposed.

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