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Seed aging

Artificial seed aging

Vigor testing by aging tests was elaborated by Delouche and Baskin (1973) for estimating the storage potential of seed lots and is now accepted for all species with orthodox storage behavior. Later, aging tests were also shown to indicate the relative field emergence of seed lots of numerous species. The principle of aging tests is to expose seed samples for a defined period of time to an unfavorable environment of high temperature and high seed moisture content. After this aging period, high vigor seeds are expected to still show high germination, whereas low vigor seeds are expected to show a considerable decrease in germination (Kruse, 1999).

The controlled deterioration test, known as CDT is presumed to mimic natural seed aging (Clerkx et al., 2004). CDT is widely used as a vigor assay for numerous seed species and has been described fro Arabidopsis seeds by Tesnier et al. (2002). We have used this protocol to deteriorate in a controlled manner Arabidopsis or sugarbeet seeds (Rajjou et al., 2007, 2008). Seeds are equilibrated at 85% relative humidity (20°C), and day 0 controls are immediately dried back at 32% relative humidity. Treatment is done by storing the seeds (at 85% relative humidity) for 7 d at 40 C. Then these seeds are also dried back at 32% relative humidity (20°C) during 3 d.

Germination curves for Arabidopsis seeds submitted to the CTD for various periods of time. (○) Control seeds; CDT for 4h (▲), CDT for 16h (●), CDT for 1j (♦), CDT for 2j (◊), CDT for 3j (■), CDT for 5j (□) and CDT for 7j (►). Germination assays are carried out under standard germination conditions: 25°C, with 16 h light/8 h dark daily, on three sheets of absorbent paper wetted with 1.3 ml of distilled water, in covered plastic boxes. Data from Rajjou et al. (2007).


Clerkx EJM, El-Lithy ME, Vierling E, Ruys GJ, Blankestijn-De Vries H, Groot SPC, Vreugdenhil D, Koornneef M (2004) Analysis of natural allelic variation of Arabidopsis seed germination and seed longevity traits between the accessions Landsberg erecta and Shakdara, using a new recombinant inbred line population. Plant Physiology 135, 432–443.

Delouche JC, Baskin CC (1973) Accelerated aging techniques for predicting the relative storability of seed lots. Seed Science and Technology 1, 427–452.

Kruse M (1999) Application of the normal distribution for testing the potential of the controlled deterioration test. Crop Science 39, 1125-1129.

Rajjou L, Lovigny Y, Job C, Belghazi M, Groot S, Job D (2007) Seed quality and germination. In Seeds: Biology, Development and Ecology (eds S
Adkins, S Ashmore, SC Navie). CAB International 2007, pp 324-332.

Rajjou L, Lovigny Y, Groot SP, Belghazi M, Job C, Job D (2008) Proteome-wide characterization of seed aging in Arabidopsis. A comparison between artificial and natural aging protocols. Plant Physiology, in press - PMID: 18599647

Tesnier K, Strookman-Donkers HM, van Pijlen JG, van der Geest AHM, Bino RJ, Groot SPC (2002) A controlled deterioration test of Arabidopsis thaliana reveals genetic variation in seed quality. Seed Science and Technology 30, 149–165.

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