The purpose of this study was to determine whether Cercis chinensis seeds contain endogenous germination inhibitors, and if so, to clarify the dynamic changes to the inhibitors during dormancy release. A cabbage seed germination test was conducted to assess the seed extract activities during dormancy release. The endogenous inhibitor components were analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and the dynamic changes to the endogenous inhibitors were analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography. The analyses revealed 1,2,3-benzenetriol (phenolic compound) in the seedcoat is a water-soluble endogenous inhibitor, and the IC50 (the concentration at which 1,2,3-benzenetriol inhibited radicle growth of cabbage seeds by 50%) of 1,2,3-benzenetriol was 51.2 µg⋅mL–1. During dormancy release, the seed 1,2,3-benzenetriol content decreased to 17.7 µg⋅mL–1 (stratified for 60 days) from 561.4 µg⋅mL–1 (control). The abscisic acid (ABA) content exhibited the same tendency, decreasing from 5.6 ng⋅mL–1 to 0.5 ng⋅mL–1 after 60-day stratification. Exogenous ABA was highly inhibitory toward cabbage seed germination, with an IC50 of 1.5 ng⋅mL–1. These results indicate that ABA and 1,2,3-benzenetriol are important endogenous inhibitors in C. chinensis seeds, wherein they regulate seed dormancy, even at low concentrations.
Paeonia ostii is a woody oil crop with potential value as an edible oil. With the aim of acquiring systematic knowledge of the development of P. ostii seeds, the oil content, biomass, and water content of the seeds were determined. Changes in the distribution of hydrogen protons in P. ostii seeds during follicle development were traced using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The formation of oil bodies in the endosperm and embryo was observed using transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Dynamic changes in oleic acid, linoleic acid, and α-linolenic acid contents were assessed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The magnetic resonance images showed that, during early follicle development [45–85 days after flowering (DAF)], a greater quantity of liquid mucus was present within the seeds, and seeds in the same follicle developed at different rates. At 95 to 115 DAF, proton density was distributed evenly in all areas of the seed. A small dark area appeared in the center of the seed, and mucus in the follicles and water in the pericarp disappeared gradually. TEM observations showed that at 45 DAF, a few oil bodies were scattered at the cell periphery in the endosperm, and oil bodies were more numerous in the embryo. With the progression of seed development, the number and size of oil bodies in the embryo and endosperm continued to increase. The fresh and dry mass of P. ostii seeds increased from 45 to 105 DAF, then decreased after 105 DAF. The moisture content decreased, whereas the oil content increased and attained 33.1% at seed maturity. The three predominant unsaturated fatty acids accumulated simultaneously and showed stages of initial accumulation (45–65 DAF) and rapid accumulation (65–105 DAF). The results suggest that 65 to 105 DAF is a critical period for unsaturated fatty acid accumulation in P. ostii seeds.