Seed Science Research

Research Papers

Rice seed quality development and temperature during late development and maturation

Richard H. Ellisa1 c1

a1 Department of Agriculture, University of Reading, Earley Gate, PO Box 237, Reading RG6 6AR, UK


The potential longevity of japonica rice (Oryza sativa L. subsp. japonica) seed is particularly sensitive to high temperature – and thus climate change – during development and maturation. Cultivar Taipei 309 was grown at 28/20°C (12 h/12 h) and then from 19 DAA (days after 50% anthesis), when seeds were just over half filled, at 28/20°C, 30/22°C, 32/24°C or 34/26°C (12 h/12 h). Whereas ability to germinate ex planta had been achieved in almost all seeds by 24 DAA, only half the population were desiccation tolerant. Desiccation tolerance continued to increase over the subsequent 28 d, similarly at all four temperatures. Subsequent longevity, assessed by p50 (period in days to reduce viability to 50% in hermetic storage at 40°C with c. 15% moisture content), increased progressively at 28/20°C until 38 DAA, and remained constant until the final harvest (52 DAA). The three warmer temperature regimes provided similar longevity to 28/20°C at any one harvest, except at 38 DAA where the warmest (34/26°C) was poorer. That temperature regime also provided greater seed-to-seed variability within each survival curve. The results confirm that appreciable improvement in seed quality occurs during seed development and also subsequent maturation in japonica rice, but that increase in temperature from 28/20°C to 34/26°C during late seed filling onwards has comparatively little effect thereon. Comparison with previous investigations suggests that seed quality development may be less sensitive to high temperatures during late development and maturation than during the early seed development that precedes it.

(Received August 16 2010)

(Accepted November 07 2010)

(Online publication January 13 2011)


  • climate change;
  • desiccation tolerance;
  • germination;
  • longevity;
  • Oryza sativa L. subsp. japonica;
  • post-anthesis temperature;
  • seed development


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