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Open Access Temperature mediated physiological dormancy in dry bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) seeds

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Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) is a vegetable cultivated predominantly in tropical and subtropical Asia for its immature fruits and tender shoot tips. The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Seed Information Database indicates that bitter gourd seeds are orthodox, thus tolerating desiccation and sub-zero temperature. However, genebanks have reported low germination after storage at sub-zero temperatures whereas storage at above 5°C resulted in acceptable germination. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effect of storage temperature on the germination behaviour of the seeds and, as a practical outcome, to develop a successful dormancy breaking protocol for bitter gourd seeds after cold storage.

Results of standard viability and germination tests of two bitter gourd seed lots confirmed that storage of dry seeds at sub-zero temperatures for more than five minutes induced a secondary dormancy in the embryo. A heat treatment of dry seeds at 50°C for at least two minutes could break this dormancy. Temperature cycling showed that dormancy induction and breakage were reversible without any measurable decline in viability. As temperature treatments did not affect seed imbibition behaviour, the mechanism is not hardseededness, but a type of physiological dormancy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2018

This article was made available online on December 14, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Temperature mediated physiological dormancy in dry bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) seeds".

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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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