Cryo-tolerance of zygotic embryos from recalcitrant seeds in relation to oxidative stress—a case study on two amaryllid species

Sershen, Boby Varghese, N W Pammenter, Patricia Berjak
Journal of Plant Physiology 2012 July 1, 169 (10): 999-1011
Oxidative stress is a major component of cryoinjury in plant tissues. This study investigated the ability of recalcitrant (i.e. desiccation sensitive) Amaryllis belladonna L. and Haemanthus montanus Baker zygotic embryos to survive cryopreservation, in relation to oxidative stress. The study also investigated whether glycerol cryoprotection promoted embryo post-cryo survival by protecting enzymic antioxidant activities. Zygotic embryos excised from hydrated stored seeds were subjected to various combinations of rapid dehydration (to < or >0.4 g g⁻¹ [dmb]), cryoprotection (with sucrose or glycerol), and cooling (either rapidly or slowly), and were thereafter assessed for viability, extracellular superoxide (·O₂⁻) production, lipid peroxidation (TBARS) and antioxidant enzyme activities. Short-term hydrated storage of whole seeds was accompanied by ·O₂⁻ production and lipid peroxidation, but ·O₂⁻ levels were lower than in dehydrated and cooled embryos and viability was 100%, possibly associated with the high activities of certain antioxidant enzymes. Partial dehydration and cryoprotection (in H. montanus only) increased ·O₂⁻ production (especially in cryoprotected-dried embryos) and was associated with some viability loss, but this was not correlated with enhanced lipid peroxidation. Cooling was generally accompanied by the greatest increase in ·O₂⁻ production, and with a decline in viability. In A. belladonna only, post-cryo TBARS levels were generally higher than for fresh and pre-conditioned embryos. Partial dehydration and cooling decreased antioxidant activities, but these were consistently less severe in glycerol cryoprotected-dried, as opposed to non-cryoprotected-dried embryos. Post-cryo viability retention for glycerol cryoprotected-dried embryos was significantly higher than for non-cryoprotected-dried embryos, possibly facilitated by relatively low post-drying TBARS levels and high post-drying and post-rewarming activities of some antioxidant enzymes in the former. Pre-conditioning treatments such as glycerol cryoprotection, when used in combination with partial drying, may enhance post-cryo viability retention in recalcitrant zygotic embryos by protecting the activities of certain antioxidant enzymes during pre-conditioning for, and after retrieval from, cryostorage.

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