Ethylene synthesis and sensitivity, and their relation to germination at supraoptimal temperatures, were investigated in lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) seeds matured at 30/20 °C [12-h day/night, high temperature matured (HTM)] or 20/10 °C [12-h day/night, low temperature matured (LTM)]. HTM seeds of both thermosensitive `Dark Green Boston' (DGB) and thermotolerant `Everglades' (EVE) had greater germination at a supraoptimal temperature (36 °C), in both light or dark, than LTM seeds of DGB and EVE. HTM seeds of DGB and EVE produced more ethylene during germination than LTM seeds, regardless of imbibition conditions. The ethylene action inhibitor, silver thiosulfate, led to reduced germination in both cultivars. The ethylene precursor, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid at 10 mm increased germination of both cultivars at supraoptimal temperatures, whereas germination of HTM seeds was greater than that of LTM seeds. No differences in ethylene perception were detected between HTM and LTM germinating seeds using a triple response bioassay. This study demonstrated that at least one method through which seed maturation temperature influences lettuce germination is by affecting ethylene production.
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