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Seeds and Seed Germination
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
Seed structure
Cotyledon
Plumule
Radicle
Micropyle
Seed coat or
testa
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
Seed maturation
 Takes place in the fruit on the parent plant
 Endospermous seeds: Retain the endosperm
tissue, which eventually dies but it is
surrounded by a layer of living cells, the
aleurone layer.
 Non-endospermous seeds: The endosperm
tissue is absorbed by the cotyledons. These
then become the food reserve for the seed.
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
Dormancy
 Metabolism falls
 Number of organelles per cell falls
 Dehydration – water content falls
 Vacuoles in cells deflate
 Food reserves become dense crystalline
bodies
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
Maintaining dormancy
 Physical barriers
The seed coat (testa) is waxy = waterproof
and impermeable to oxygen
 Physical state – dehydrated
 Chemical inhibitors present e.g. salts,
mustard oils, organic acids, alkaloids
 Growth promoters absent
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
Seed viability
 Viability: When a seed is capable of germinating
after all the necessary environmental conditions are
met.
 Average life span of a seed 10 to 15 years.
 Some are very short-lived e.g. willow (< 1 week)
 Some are very long-lived e.g. mimosa 221 years
 Conditions are very important for longevity
 Cold, dry, anaerobic conditions
 These are the conditions which are maintained in
seed banks
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
Germination: The breaking of dormancy
The growth of the embryo and its penetration of the seed coat
Break down of barriers
Abrasion of seed coat (soil
particles)
Decomposition of seed coat
(soil microbes, gut enzymes)
Cracking of seed coat (fire) Change in physical state -
rehydration
Destruction and dilution of
inhibitors
Light, temperature, water
Production of growth
promoters© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
Germination
STAGE EVENTS
PREGERMINATION (a) Rehydration – imbibition of water.
(b) RNA & protein synthesis stimulated.
(c) Increased metabolism – increased respiration.
(d) Hydrolysis (digestion) of food reserves by
enzymes.
(e) Changes in cell ultrastructure.
(f) Induction of cell division & cell growth.
GERMINATION (a) Rupture of seed coat.
(b) Emergence of seedling, usually radicle first.
POST GERMINATION (a) Controlled growth of root and shoot axis.
(b) Controlled transport of materials from food
stores to growing axis.
(c) Senescence (aging) of food storage tissues.
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
Stages leading to cell division
Mitchondria
reconstituted Soluble sugars
Respiration
Initially anaerobic
Later aerobic
ATP
RNA activated
Polysomes
Protein synthesis (0.5h)
Enzymes (proteins)
Mitosis (70h)
DNA synthesis (45h)
http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
The control of food reserve hydrolysis
 Control by growth promotors such as
gibberellin and growth inhibitors such as
abscisic acid
 These directly affect the genes for enzyme
synthesis or the activity of the enzymes
themselves
 The growth substances are affected by
environmental factors (e.g. light,
temperature, humidity)
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
The control of food reserve hydrolysis
 Negative feedback control of enzymes
 The action of the enzyme also limited by substrate
 Once all the starch in an amyloplast is hydrolysed
the enzyme stops work
Therefore the release of the stored food is adjusted
to suite the demand
Starch + H20 Maltose
α - amylase
Negative
feedback
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
Carbohydrates Starches
(amylopectin &
amylose)
Amylases
Maltose and
glucose
Proteins e.g. Zein Proteases Amino acids
Lipids Oils Lipases Fatty acids &
glycerol
The mobilisation of food reserves
 The food reserves are stored as large
insoluble macromolecules
 They are hydrolysed using enzymes to
smaller soluble molecules for transport
© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS

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SEEDGERMINATION

  • 1. Seeds and Seed Germination © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 3. Seed maturation  Takes place in the fruit on the parent plant  Endospermous seeds: Retain the endosperm tissue, which eventually dies but it is surrounded by a layer of living cells, the aleurone layer.  Non-endospermous seeds: The endosperm tissue is absorbed by the cotyledons. These then become the food reserve for the seed. © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 4. Dormancy  Metabolism falls  Number of organelles per cell falls  Dehydration – water content falls  Vacuoles in cells deflate  Food reserves become dense crystalline bodies © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 5. Maintaining dormancy  Physical barriers The seed coat (testa) is waxy = waterproof and impermeable to oxygen  Physical state – dehydrated  Chemical inhibitors present e.g. salts, mustard oils, organic acids, alkaloids  Growth promoters absent © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 6. Seed viability  Viability: When a seed is capable of germinating after all the necessary environmental conditions are met.  Average life span of a seed 10 to 15 years.  Some are very short-lived e.g. willow (< 1 week)  Some are very long-lived e.g. mimosa 221 years  Conditions are very important for longevity  Cold, dry, anaerobic conditions  These are the conditions which are maintained in seed banks © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 7. Germination: The breaking of dormancy The growth of the embryo and its penetration of the seed coat Break down of barriers Abrasion of seed coat (soil particles) Decomposition of seed coat (soil microbes, gut enzymes) Cracking of seed coat (fire) Change in physical state - rehydration Destruction and dilution of inhibitors Light, temperature, water Production of growth promoters© 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 8. Germination STAGE EVENTS PREGERMINATION (a) Rehydration – imbibition of water. (b) RNA & protein synthesis stimulated. (c) Increased metabolism – increased respiration. (d) Hydrolysis (digestion) of food reserves by enzymes. (e) Changes in cell ultrastructure. (f) Induction of cell division & cell growth. GERMINATION (a) Rupture of seed coat. (b) Emergence of seedling, usually radicle first. POST GERMINATION (a) Controlled growth of root and shoot axis. (b) Controlled transport of materials from food stores to growing axis. (c) Senescence (aging) of food storage tissues. © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 9. Stages leading to cell division Mitchondria reconstituted Soluble sugars Respiration Initially anaerobic Later aerobic ATP RNA activated Polysomes Protein synthesis (0.5h) Enzymes (proteins) Mitosis (70h) DNA synthesis (45h) http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/ © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 10. The control of food reserve hydrolysis  Control by growth promotors such as gibberellin and growth inhibitors such as abscisic acid  These directly affect the genes for enzyme synthesis or the activity of the enzymes themselves  The growth substances are affected by environmental factors (e.g. light, temperature, humidity) © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 11. The control of food reserve hydrolysis  Negative feedback control of enzymes  The action of the enzyme also limited by substrate  Once all the starch in an amyloplast is hydrolysed the enzyme stops work Therefore the release of the stored food is adjusted to suite the demand Starch + H20 Maltose α - amylase Negative feedback © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS
  • 12. Carbohydrates Starches (amylopectin & amylose) Amylases Maltose and glucose Proteins e.g. Zein Proteases Amino acids Lipids Oils Lipases Fatty acids & glycerol The mobilisation of food reserves  The food reserves are stored as large insoluble macromolecules  They are hydrolysed using enzymes to smaller soluble molecules for transport © 2008 Paul Billiet ODWS