Processes underlying aging of air-dry seeds were investigated. Naturally aged seeds of pea (Pisum sativum L.), cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), and buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench.) were separated into three fractions of different quality according to their room temperature phosphorescence (RTP): fraction I contained strong seeds; fraction II comprised weak seeds; and fraction III was composed of dead seeds. These seed fractions were used to identify the processes in air-dry seeds that account for the initial deterioration in seed quality at early stages of aging and for the possible transient improvement of seed quality at further aging. Experiments with seed powders showed that the increase in thermochemiluminescence (TCL) in the temperature range of 50–110°C was determined by the presence of lipid peroxidation products. No difference was observed between TCL levels in fraction I and fraction II seeds; hence, lipid peroxidation is not responsible for the transition of strong seeds to the fraction of weak seeds. The TCL intensity monitored upon heating in the range of 50–110°C increased only in the fraction of dead seeds. In fraction II seeds, a twofold increase in TCL upon heating at 150°C was observed in aged seeds; this indicates that the products of oligosaccharide hydrolysis (glucose) were more abundant in fraction II seeds than in fraction I seeds under similar conditions. This assumption was confirmed by direct determination of glucose content with a glucometer. Hence, the transition of air-dry seeds from fraction I (strong seeds) to fraction II (weak seeds) occurred due to the activation of carbohydrate hydrolysis in aging seeds. Since air-dry seeds contain no free water during aging, the seed moisture content decreases during hydrolysis, presumably, because the bound water participates in the hydrolysis reaction. The decrease in “improved” seeds of glucose content and the increase in moisture content suggest the activation of amino-carbonyl reaction. It is proposed that the amino-carbonyl (Amadori-Maillard) reaction is responsible for closing water channels in improved seeds, as well as for the decreased water permeability of cell membranes during seed imbibition.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2012
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