Drying method influences the development of germinability, dessication tolerance and subsequent longevity of immature seeds of sumaúma (Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn. [Bombacaceae])
The ability to germinate, tolerate desiccation and survive in air-dry storage was investigated during early seed development in planta and subsequent ex planta maturation of sumaúma (Ceiba pentandra). Immature fruits were collected on three different dates (i.e. from about 5 days before until 7 days after mass maturity). Immature fresh seeds were not able to germinate. Fruits or seeds were subjected immediately after each collection to three different drying treatments with progressively slower rates of dessication: (i) seeds were extracted from the fruits and dried immediately; (ii) fruits were dried in a thin layer; (iii) fruits were dried in a tied polyethylene bag (with 10 holes of 1cm diameter). Drying was in a room maintained at 25°C±3°C and 65%±5% r.h. For treatment (i) the seeds were dried for 6 days in order to reduce moisture content to around 13% (±2%) moisture content. For treatments (ii) and (iii) the fruits were subjected to different periods of drying depending upon collection date. The results of these post-collection treatments showed generally that the more immature the seeds the slower the rate of drying that is required to improve ability to germinate, ability to tolerate desiccation and potential longevity, but at the third harvest, 7 days after mass maturity, the intermediate drying rate treatment was the most beneficial. Thus post fruit collection treatments can be modified depending upon the stage of seed development in order to provide good to high quality seeds of sumauma when collection has to be made at a site with difficult access at less than ideal times. The results are relevant to seed collection practices for both forestry and ex situ plant biodiversity conservation.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: April 1, 2005
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