a1 DLO-Centre for Plant Breeding and Reproduction Research, CPRO-DLO, P.O. Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, Netherlands
Morphological changes in tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Moneymaker) seed during osmopriming and imbibition (‘hydropriming’) were followed using X-ray photographs. Embryo, endosperm and free space areas were measured. Both osmopriming and hydropriming resulted in free space development (+ 8.1% and + 10.8% of the whole seed planar area, respectively), almost all at the cost of the endosperm area. Planar dimensions of whole seeds were relatively constant and the dimension perpendicular to the planar surface, the thickness, could account for the volume increase of primed seeds reported in the literature. In dead seeds, only a small amount of free space developed while the planar area of the seed remained the same. In the imbibing viable seeds no deterioration of endosperm could be detected until the moment of root protrusion.
Seeds which were osmoprimed directly after harvest, i.e. in the fresh state, did not showthe induction of any free space, while free space developed normally after dehydration and a second priming treatment. Apparently, a dehydration step prior to the priming treatments is required for the development of free space in osmo- or hydroprimed seed.
X-ray photographs of hydroprimed seeds showed that the radicle tip adhered tightly to theendosperm cap. This results in various forms of damage to the root tips upon redrying. Priming did not introduce cotyledon abnormalities.
(Received September 11 1992)
(Accepted April 09 1993)