Factors contributing to genetic differences in low temperature seed germination of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) were examined by comparing the cold germinating (CG) accession PI 341985 the non-cold germinating (NCG) ‘Centennial’ and random F4 lines with varying low temperature germinating abilities. Rate of radicle elongation at 10°C was similar for both parental genotypes indicating that differences in emergence at 10° are not due to growth rates, but rather to more rapid initiation of germination activities in CG. Preincubation of seeds in hypertonic salt solutions enhanced rate of germination at 10°C equally in both lines, but did not substitute for the genetically based cold germinating ability. Low temperature germinating ability is associated with sprouting at high osmotic concentrations, and with a several fold higher rate of increase in peroxidase activity during the first 10 days of incubation at 10°. Germination at 10° of the NCG lines is improved by activated carbon in the germination media whereas no enhancement occurred in CG lines. Inhibition and/or delay in germination at 10° in NCG lines is due, in part, to low temperature induced formation of activated carbon adsorbable inhibitors of seed germination.
Received for publication July 26, 1979. Portion of a Thesis submitted by the senior author in partial fulfillment for the M.S. degree.
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Graduate student and Professor, respectively. We are grateful to EMBRAPA/Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture for the financial support during the senior author's graduate studies.