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Uptake of systemic seed treatments by maize evaluated with fluorescent tracers

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Uptake of systemic seed treatment compounds by maize seeds was studied during imbibition using fluorescent tracers. Two moderately lipophilic fluorescent compounds, coumarin 151 (nonionic) and rhodamine B (ionic) were co-applied as dry seed treatments to 27 selected maize lines that represented a diversity of maize endosperm types (dent, flint, sweet corn and popcorn). A commercial hybrid was used to evaluate the effect of mechanical damage of the pericarp using tracer uptake as indicators. Tracer treated seeds were sown in moistened sand and maintained at 20°C for specified durations. Seeds were then removed from the sand, dissected and the fluorescence pattern (staining) imaged with fluorescence microscopy. In each line, nonionic coumarin was able to diffuse through the pericarp to reach the endosperm and embryo tissues within 24 to 48 hours. In contrast, the ionic rhodamine was retained by the intact pericarp. Mechanical damage altered pericarp integrity and thus allowed perfusion of rhodamine. Collectively, maize seeds have selective seed coat (pericarp) permeability, a characteristic defined as the ability of nonionic compounds to diffuse through the seed coat while ionic compounds are restricted.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2014

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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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