Dormancy and germination responses of halophyte seeds to the application of ethylene

M Ajmal Khan, Raziuddin Ansari, Bilquees Gul, Weiqiang Li
Comptes Rendus Biologies 2009, 332 (9): 806-15
Ethylene is invariably produced during seed germination but its role in regulating seed dormancy and germination is poorly understood. Seeds of 22 halophytic species having different life forms - salt secreting dicots, salt secreting monocots, stem succulents and leaf succulents were germinated in Petri dishes kept in a growth chamber set at 20/30 degrees C (night/day) temperature and a 12 hr light period. Sodium chloride and ethephon were added to the medium from the beginning of the experiment. Seed germination was recorded every other day for twenty days. Application of ethylene did not have any significant effect on releasing seeds from innate dormancy. However, it appeared to have a role in alleviation of salinity effects which varied from negative in certain species to almost complete alleviation of high salinity effects in others. Our data indicates that ethylene appears to have little role in breaking innate seed dormancy however, in most halophyte seeds studied, application of ethylene alleviate the salinity effect to various degrees. Halophyte seeds which could germinate under saline conditions approaching twice the salinity of seawater may offer clues to understand management of seed germination under highly saline conditions.

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