Responses Associated with Low Temperature Seed Germinating Ability in Tomato1

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907


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.

Contributor Notes

Received for publication July 26, 1979. Portion of a Thesis submitted by the senior author in partial fulfillment for the M.S. degree.

The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under postal regulations, this paper must therefore be hereby marked advertisement solely to indicate this fact.

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.