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Seed aging affects ethylene production and endo-β-mannanase activity during lettuce seed germination at high temperature

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The lettuce endosperm can delay or prevent germination, acting as a physical barrier to radicle protrusion, especially under high temperatures. Weakening of the endosperm layer of lettuce seeds is a prerequisite to radicle protrusion at high temperatures. Cell wall-associated endo-β-mannanase was expressed in lettuce seed endosperm prior to radicle protrusion. Ethylene overcomes thermoinhibition of lettuce seeds. The involvement of ethylene and endo-β-mannanase during germination of lettuce seeds was investigated by a gel-diffusion assay. Thermotolerant 'Everglades' lettuce seeds were aged at 41°C and 100% humidity for 0, 1, 3 and 5 days and examined for germination capacity at 20 and 35°C. At 20°C, all seeds germinated 100%. At 35°C, germination was lowest in seeds aged 3 or 5 days. Aged seeds produced low ethylene levels, whereas non-aged seeds produced high ethylene levels at 35°C. Higher endo-β-mannanase activity before radicle protrusion was observed in nonaged seeds. Seed aging can lead to some physiological and biochemical changes such as reduced ethylene and endo-β-mannanase activity and thus lead to thermoinhibition in lettuce seed germination.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2005

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  • Seed Science and Technology (SST) is one of the leading international journals featuring original papers and review articles on seed quality and physiology as related to seed production, harvest, processing, sampling, storage, distribution and testing. This widely recognised journal is designed to meet the needs of researchers, advisers and all those involved in the improvement and technical control of seed quality.
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