Submitted to: Free Radical Biology and Medicine
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 15, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Germination is basically a reversal of maturation involving rehydration and reactivation of metabolism and meristematic growth. During the early phase of germination, 0-24 hr after planting, many soil-borne pathogens can attack the seed and cause devastating diseases. Changes in metabolic activity during different stages of germination are subtle and difficult to detect. Here we describe a noninvasive technique for monitoring seed metabolism during the early stages of germination. It was developed to study and compare the effect of various biocontrol agents as seed protectants. Seeds were submerged and allowed to germinate in aerated aqueous solutions. Oxygen electrodes were used to measure changes in the steady state concentration of oxygen in the solution. These changes could be related to rates of oxygen consumption based on standard curves. Because this was an open system and therefore oxygen did not become limiting, experiments could be monitored for more than 24 hr. We found that this technique was very sensitive and allowed us to detect and quantify the effects of various seed treatments within minutes of application, well before any visible signs of growth were apparent.