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  • Author or Editor: Sharon Sowa x
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Infrared spectroscopy was used to measure biochemical changes during bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) seed imbibition. Transmission spectroscopy of excised embryonic axes revealed changes in lipid phase (gel to liquid crystalline) and protein secondary structure within the first 15 min of hydration. Spectral changes in seed coats, cotyledons, and axes during the first 2 hr of imbibition (measured in vivo) were detected using photoacoustic sensing. Onset of seed respiration could be detected as early as 15 min after addition of water. CO2 production, demonstrated by the appearance of a double peak centered at 2350 cm-1, increased with time of imbibition. Infrared photoacoustic spectroscopy of intact seeds holds promise as a method for non-invasive viability assessment.

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Seeds of the recalcitrant species Litch i chinénis and Euphoria longan were stored in humid conditions at 8-10C under three different atmospheres: air, 80% nitrous oxide (N20)/20 % oxygen, and 100% nitrous oxide. The combination of anesthetic and oxygen extended storage longevity of both species. Oxygen was required for maintenance of viability; seeds stored under 100% N20 lost germinability at the most rapid rate. Lychee seeds retained 92% of control germination after 12 weeks under 80% N20/20% 02, while those under air lost 56% viability. Longan seeds lost all viability after 7 weeks under air, yet retained 70% of their control germination under 80% N20/20% 02. The combination of anesthetic and oxygen atmospheres could provide a new approach to recalcitrant seed storage.

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Seeds of the recalcitrant species lychee (Litchi chinénsis Sonn.) and longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour.) were stored near 100% relative humidity at 8 to 10C in air, 80% nitrous oxide (N2O) plus 20% oxygen, or 100% nitrous oxide. The combination of anesthetic and oxygen extended storage longevity of both species. Seeds stored in 100% N2O lost terminability at the same rate as those stored in air. Lychee seeds retained 92% of initial germination after 12 weeks under 80% N2O/20% O2, while those under air retained only 44%. Longan seeds failed to germinate after 7 weeks under air, yet retained 70% of their initial germination under 809” N2O/20% O2. The combination of anesthetic and oxygen atmospheres could provide a new approach to recalcitrant seed storage.

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Short term soaking of seeds does not appear to be detrimental to seed viability and may provide a means of testing seed viability non-destructively. Seeds of corn (Zea mays L.) and rice (Oryza sativa L.), differing in viability, were soaked for 0.5, 1, 2 and 4 hr in distilled water at room temperature. Analyses of pH, protein/polypeptides (BCA assay and absorbance at 280 nm), and potassium (and other metals), were done on individual seed leachates. After each time period seeds were germinated for 7 d to determine viability. For both corn and rice, pH remained constant between 0.5 and 4 hr of soaking. Protein concentration gradually increased during the 4 hr soak in both corn and rice, but varied with seed lot. Potassium was the most common metal excreted and increased 3 to 4 fold between 0.5 and 4 hr of soaking. Although seed to seed variability in any given lot was high, in general, low viability seeds lost more cellular constituents than high viability seeds.

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A pollen grain undergoes a series of biochemical changes during germination. The technique of cylindrical internal reflectance FTIR was used to examine spectral frequencies associated with respiration, lipid and protein structure, polysaccharide content, and phosphate-containing metabolizes in pollen from pecan, blue spruce, cattail, and pine. Samples of both pollen and germination medium were analyzed at timed intervals. A microscopic evaluation of percent germination was also made at each sampling time. Preliminary analyses indicate that changes in respiration occur as evidenced by the presence of gaseous CO2, and that quantitative changes in lipid and protein occur. FTIR spectroscopy provides a noninvasive method to directly and quantitatively measure metabolic changes associated with pollen germination.

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