Submitted to: Seed Science Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2003
Publication Date: 3/1/2004
Citation: Baker, C.J., Roberts, D.P., Mock, N.M., Blount, V.L. 2004. A novel noninvasive technique to monitor real-time oxygen uptake during seed germination. Seed Science Research. 14:17-26.
Interpretive Summary: Vigorous germination is a desirable and necessary seed trait for successful crop production. The germination process begins with rehydration of the dormant seed and is technically complete once the embryo starts growing and emerges. However, the germination process does not lend itself to easy and frequent monitoring. We report here a technique that allows real-time monitoring of oxygen consumption during seed germination. This procedure provides a more precise tool for monitoring germination and is able to distinguish different phases of the process. The procedure should be beneficial to seed physiologists and plant pathologists.
Technical Abstract: We report here a technique that allows real-time monitoring of oxygen consumption during seed germination. Germination, which begins with rehydration of the dormant tissue and is technically complete once embryo growth and emergence occurs, does not lend itself to easy and frequent monitoring. For this technique, seeds are submerged in a continuously aerated aqueous environment and monitored as they germinate. Oxygen electrodes are used to measure the steady state concentration of oxygen in the solution, which continuously indicates the rate of oxygen uptake by the seeds. Because this was an open system and oxygen did not become limiting, experiments could be monitored for more than 24 hr. This technique provides a means to more precisely monitor the two phases of germination: phase 1, characterized by a sharp increase in oxygen uptake during rehydration, and phase 2, characterized by a lag in respiration prior to embryo growth. The current setup simultaneously monitors and compares up to 16 different seed treatments. Experiments with different seed are presented to illustrate potential applications including monitoring microbial/seed interactions. For plants with short germination periods, monitoring of post-germination oxygen uptake just prior to visible signs of embryo emergence was possible.