Priming Duration Influences Anatomy and Germination Responses of Parsley Mericarps

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 University of Delaware, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Newark, DE 19717-1303
  • | 2 University of Delaware, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Newark, DE 19717-1303

Germination studies indicated that increasing priming duration (-1.0 MPa at 20 °C for 7, 14, or 21 days) increased `Moss Curled' parsley [Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) Nyman ex A.W. Hill] germination rate quadratically and seed moisture content linearly. A histological and anatomical study was conducted to identify and/or quantify principle mericarp organ or tissue volume changes influenced by priming duration. Embryo volume increased as priming duration increased from 7 to 21 days (0.014 to 0.034 mm3), and this was due more to radicle (0.007 to 0.022 mm3) than to cotyledon (0.006 to 0.011 mm3) growth. Concomitant with increased embryo volume was increased volume of the depleted layer (space formation, surrounding the embryo), from 0.038 after 7 days to 0.071 mm3 after 21 days, and increased hydrolysis of central endosperm (a thick-walled endosperm type). In nonprimed mericarps, central endosperm cells constituted 97% of the endosperm volume. The remaining 3% was comprised of 1% depleted layer and 2% distal endosperm (small, thin-walled, and irregularly shaped endosperm cells). During 7 or 21 days of priming, ≈10% or 40%, respectively, of central endosperm cells were hydrolyzed centrifugally around the embryo with a corresponding decrease in volume of central endosperm with thick cell walls. In addition, distal endosperm cells adjacent to the depleted layer, containing reserve materials, were digested of contents following 21 days priming, and sometimes, following 7 days priming. A long priming duration resulted in degradation of pericarp tissues, as indicated visually and by a decline in pericarp volume. We hypothesize that priming duration of parsley primarily influences radicle growth and centrifugal digestion and utilization of central and distal endosperm, resulting in a larger depleted layer required for embryo volume increases. Secondary events influenced by priming duration include cotyledon growth and degradation of pericarp tissues.

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