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Yuting Zou, Yanan Wang, Mingwei Zhu, Shuxian Li and Qiuyue Ma

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.

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Hailin Liu, Cunmeng Qian, Jian Zhou, Xiaoyan Zhang, Qiuyue Ma and Shuxian Li

Cornus florida seeds show strong dormancy. In this study, we investigated the causes of the dormancy by assessing the permeability of the stony endocarp, the germination of seeds after mechanical dissection, and the effect of endogenous inhibitors. Water uptake by intact and cracked seeds during imbibition showed that the endocarp formed a strong barrier for water absorption. Meanwhile, extracts from endocarp decreased the germination frequency of chinese cabbage seeds from 99.3% (control) to 2.7%. Therefore, the endocarp was the mechanical barrier and contained endogenous inhibitors for seed germination. However, the germination percentage of decoated seeds and dissected seeds with the exposed radicle were only 13.3% and 28.7%, respectively. It was found that the endosperm also played a role in seed dormancy. Extracts from endosperm decreased the germination frequency of chinese cabbage seeds from 99.3% (control) to 53.0%. By contrast, extracts from embryo did not affect the germination of chinese cabbage seeds. When tested with the excised embryos, germination percentage was up to 85.3% at the 16th day of incubation. Taking these results together, we concluded that the endocarp and endosperm were responsible for seed dormancy in C. florida. To break the seed dormancy of C. florida, stratification and soaking in sulfuric acid are the effective means. The highest germination frequency was achieved by immersing seeds in 98% sulfuric acid for 10 minutes, then soaking the seeds in 500 mg·L−1 gibberellic acid (GA3) for 72 hours before cold stratification at 5 °C for 60 days.

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Young-Hwan Shin, Rui Yang, Yun-Long Shi, Xu-Min Li, Qiu-Yue Fu, Jian-Liang Lu, Jian-Hui Ye, Kai-Rong Wang, Shi-Cheng Ma, Xin-Qiang Zheng and Yue-Rong Liang

Albino tea plants are mutants that grow albino young leaves owing to lack of chlorophylls under certain environmental conditions. There are two types of albino tea plants grown in production, i.e., light- and temperature-sensitive albino tea cultivars. The former grows albino leaves in yellow color under intensive sunlight conditions and the later grows albino leaves with white mesophyll and greenish vein as the environmental temperature is below 20 °C. Both albino teas attract great attention because of their high levels of amino acids and the “umami” taste. There have been many studies focusing on the temperature-sensitive albino tea plants, whereas little attention has been given to the light-sensitive albino tea cultivars. The characteristics of the albino tea cultivars and the mechanism underlying them were reviewed in the present article based on the published literatures, including chemical compositions, morphological characteristics, and molecular genetic mechanism.