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Camellia sinensis seeds are desiccation-tolerant but do not store well at sub-zero temperatures

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Tea seeds are mostly reported to be recalcitrant, i.e. desiccation-sensitive, because drying to 20-30% moisture content on fresh weight basis (MC) results in mortality. Fully-mature seeds, collected at the time of natural dispersal (mid-November) from Hangzhou, China, were cold-stratified at 4°C for two month and dried in air-tight containers containing silica gel (1:5 ratio). The MC of the seeds at the time of collection and after twomonth cold-stratification was 43 and 37%, respectively. These two-month cold-stratified seeds were dried to 7.9% with 71.7% viability, indicating the seeds were not recalcitrant. Two month cold-stratified seeds dried to 7.9% and stored at -20°C did not germinate after three months. Seed survival at this moisture content was above 70% at various low temperatures when no storage was applied, i.e. if they were warmed immediately, except at liquid nitrogen, where only 56.7% germination was obtained. However, two-month storage resulted in significant viability loss at low temperatures, whereas seeds stored in liquid nitrogen for one week and three months had 26.7 and 23.3% germination, respectively, suggesting that some seeds are able to survive cryopreservation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2017

This article was made available online on October 12, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Camellia sinensis seeds are desiccation-tolerant but do not store well at sub-zero temperatures".

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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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