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posted on 27.02.2018 by Ming Zhao, Hongxiang Zhang, Hong Yan, Lu Qiu, Carol C. Baskin

Since seed reserves can influence seed germination, the quantitative and qualitative differences in seed reserves may relate to the germination characteristics of species. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the correlation between germination and seed reserves, as well as their mobilization during germination of six grassland species (Chloris virgata, Kochia scoparia, Lespedeza hedysaroides, Astragalus adsurgens, Leonurus artemisia, and Dracocephalum moldavica) and compare the results with domesticated species. We measured starch, protein, and fat content in dry seeds and the initial absorption of water during imbibition. Starch, soluble protein, fat, and soluble sugar content also were determined at five stages during germination. Starch, protein, and fat reserves in dry seeds were not significantly correlated with germination percentage and rate (speed), but soluble sugar and soluble protein contents at different germination stages were positively significantly correlated with germination rate for the six species. Starch was mainly used during seed imbibition, and soluble protein was used from the imbibition stage to the highest germination stage. Fat content for all species remained relatively constant throughout germination for six species, regardless of the proportion of other seed reserves in the seeds. Our results for fat utilization differ from those obtained for cultivated grasses and legumes. These results provide new insight on the role of seed reserves as energy resources in germination for wild species.