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Germination of fourteen endemic species from the Iberian Peninsula, Canary and Balearic Islands after 32-34 years of storage at low temperature and very low water content

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Final germination percentage and mean germination time of fourteen accessions from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain) seed bank were evaluated after 32-34 years of storage. All the accessions chosen, belonging to fourteen genera and twelve different plant families, are of species endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, Canary or Balearic Islands. Three of these taxa are classified as "vulnerable" and one as "rare" according to the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) criteria. The seeds had been stored at temperatures between -5°C and -10°C in flame sealed vials containing dehydrated (blue) silica gel. Seed water content was in general lower than 3% after storage. The germination trials were carried out under controlled conditions of light and temperature. In half of the accessions, the highest germination percentage was reached by seeds without any pre-sowing treatment (untreated seeds). In the other seven accessions, the germination was significantly enhanced by soaking in gibberellic acid (GA3) or mechanical scarification. In ten of the fourteen accessions the final germination after storage was equal to or higher than 90%; in two accessions it was over 70% and in the remaining two accessions where germination was lower than 55%, tetrazolium test showed that viability was much higher. Therefore, the seed preservation method based on silica gel and relatively low temperature (-5°C and -10°C) has proven to be highly efficient in the endemic species assayed. The results obtained in this work support the possibility of using ultra-dry methods for long-term storage of orthodox seeds from a range of plant families.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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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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