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  Eur.J.Hortic.Sci. 81 (1) 44-48 | DOI: 10.17660/eJHS.2016/81.1.6
ISSN 1611-4426 print and 1611-4434 online | © ISHS 2016 | European Journal of Horticultural Science | Original article

Seed viability tests for Acer pictum and A. rubrum

Q.Y. Ma, L. Chen, J. Hou, H.L. Liu and S.X. Li
The Southern Modern Forestry Collaborative Innovation Center, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, China

Seed viability is commonly used to rapidly evaluate the seed quality, especially for the seeds with deep dormancies. To establish the experimental protocol that could obtain reliable seed viability for Acer pictum and A. rubrum, different treatments were examined in excised embryo and tetrazolium (TZ) tests. In the excised embryo test, it was found that sterilization could get a significantly higher viability for both species. No significant difference was observed between seed viability and seed germination percentage when the excised embryos were sterilized following the protocol established in this study, indicating it was appropriate for evaluation of seed quality of these two maples. In the TZ test, we examined the effect of GA3 and stratification treatment on seed viability for these two species. For seeds of A. pictum, no significant difference was detected between the viabilities of seeds merely rehydrated with water and those rehydrated with GA3 and stratification. Both protocols yielded seed viabilities that deviated insignificantly from the seed germination percentage. Thus, additional treatments other than water immersion were unnecessary to measure the seeds viability of A. pictum. By contrast, significant difference was observed for seed viabilities of A. rubrum under the above different rehydration methods. Only when seeds were rehydrated with GA3 and stratification after water immersion yielded seed viability that was insignificantly different from seed germination percentage. Therefore, besides water immersion, additional treatments were compulsory for seed viability evaluation of A. rubrum. In this study, we also found that the radicle tip of a high percentage of A. rubrum embryos could only be partially stained in the TZ test, and this scenario was not related to the embryo colors of A. rubrum.

Keywords Acer pictum, Acer rubrum, excised embryo test, seed viability, tetrazolium test

Significance of this study

What is already known on this subject?

  • Seed viability is commonly used to evaluate the seed quality rapidly, especially for the seeds that have deep dormancy. Tetrazolium (TZ) and excised embryo tests are widely adopted methods to measure the viability. However, ISTA only recommended optimized protocols for limited plant species and part of maple plants were included in.
What are the new findings?
  • During the excised embryo tests sterilization could get a significantly higher viability for both species. We also found that the radicle tip of a high percentage of A. rubrum embryos could only be partially stained in the TZ test, and this phenomenon was consistent between the yellow and green embryos.
What is the expected impact on horticulture?
  • It was important to evaluate seed viability exactly. It was necessary to establish reliable protocol by experiments for measuring seed viability that was uncovered by ISTA Rules.

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Received: 11 April 2015 | Revised: 21 July 2015 | Accepted: 15 September 2015 | Published: 22 February 2016 | Available online: 22 February 2016

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