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Accumulation of sugars in cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) seeds of three genetic origins and its relationship to desiccation tolerance

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The main characteristic of recalcitrant seeds is their sensitivity to desiccation, but this sensitivity may vary, depending on genetic and environmental factors, and physiological and biochemical parameters, such as the presence of oligosaccharides of the storage tissue. In this study, tolerance of different cacao genotypes to desiccation was assessed and related to the concentrations of oligosaccharides in their seeds. Fruits of Pound 7 (Forastero), UF668 (Trinitario) and Carmelo (Criollo) were collected from a field plantation of the National Institute of Research in Forestry, Agriculture and Livestock, state of Tabasco, Mexico at 5, 6 and 7 months after flowering (maf). The seeds were dried to 300 g H2O kg−1 fw, and seeds recently extracted from fruits (646 g H2O·kg−1 fw) were used as controls. Sensitivity to desiccation was measured as seed germination (%) and raffinose, stachyose, sucrose, glucose, fructose, arabinose, sorbitol, galactose and mannitol were quantified in the embryonic axes and cotyledons using high precision liquid chromatography. Initial germination was 93%, which decreased 50% on average at 300 g H2O·kg−1fw. The proportions of raffinose : sucrose differed; the genotypes UF668 and Pound 7, and seeds from the second harvest (six maf) had higher proportions of 0.25, 0.22 and 0.28 respectively, which were directly related to higher germination. We conclude that the proportion of raffinose : sucrose has a positive influence in sensitivity to desiccation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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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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