Since seed reserves can influence seed germination, the quantitative and qualitative differences in seed reserves may relate to the germination characteristics of species. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the correlation between germination and seed reserves, as well as their mobilization during germination of six grassland species (Chloris virgata, Kochia scoparia, Lespedeza hedysaroides, Astragalus adsurgens, Leonurus artemisia, and Dracocephalum moldavica) and compare the results with domesticated species. We measured starch, protein, and fat content in dry seeds and the initial absorption of water during imbibition. Starch, soluble protein, fat, and soluble sugar content also were determined at five stages during germination. Starch, protein, and fat reserves in dry seeds were not significantly correlated with germination percentage and rate (speed), but soluble sugar and soluble protein contents at different germination stages were positively significantly correlated with germination rate for the six species. Starch was mainly used during seed imbibition, and soluble protein was used from the imbibition stage to the highest germination stage. Fat content for all species remained relatively constant throughout germination for six species, regardless of the proportion of other seed reserves in the seeds. Our results for fat utilization differ from those obtained for cultivated grasses and legumes. These results provide new insight on the role of seed reserves as energy resources in germination for wild species.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in Frontiers in Plant Science, v. 9, article 234, p. 1-11.

© 2018 Zhao, Zhang, Yan, Qiu and Baskin.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41571055) and the National Basic Research Program of China (2015CB150800).

Related Content

The Supplementary Material for this article can be found online at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2018.00234/full#supplementary-material.

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Table S4.