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  • Author or Editor: J. Prusinski x
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Water is pervasively involved in the life cycle of seeds. Water in the environment, either as a vapor or liquid, directly affects seed moisture status. This article is devoted to the study of seed moisture status in postharvest events. Two topics are discussed: imbibitional chilling injury and upgrading of primed seeds. Imbibitional chilling injury is a physiological disorder that occurs in large-seeded legumes as well as other important agronomic seeds. Imbibitional chilling injury has been shown to reduce the survival rate of seedlings. Surviving seedlings have less emergence force per seedling and require a longer period to generate maximum force. Rapid hydration has been shown to induce injury at a particular seed moisture level. Methods of regulating the hydration rate were explored to alleviate chilling injury in snap beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) Plant breeding lines with the semihard seed characteristic delayed the onset of imbibition when the initial moisture level was low (8%). Coating seeds with polymeric films to complement the permeable testa retarded the imbibition rates. Both approaches alleviated chilling injury and improved seedling establishment under stressful conditions. Seed priming is a technique for elevation of seed moisture content before sowing. Primed seeds generally emerge more quickly than nonprimed seeds, especially under stressful environmental conditions. An additional merit of this technique is that it gives access to seeds with elevated moisture content. Various approaches may be employed to condition seeds after priming, but before redesiccation. Discarding the low-density fractions of primed tomato and lettuce seeds improved the percentage of germination compared with nonprimed seeds. Physiological mechanisms are presented to explain the association of density with seed viability in lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.).

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