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Induction of extreme light sensitivity in buried weed seeds and its role in the perception of soil cultivations

Authors

  • A. L. SCOPEL,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departmento de Ecología, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Av. San Martín 4453, (1417) Buenos Aires, Argentina
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  • C. L. BALLARÉ,

    Corresponding author
    1. Departmento de Ecología, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Av. San Martín 4453, (1417) Buenos Aires, Argentina
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  • R. A. SÁNCHEZ

    1. Departmento de Ecología, Facultad de Agronomía, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Av. San Martín 4453, (1417) Buenos Aires, Argentina
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and present address: Ana L. Scopel, Department of Forest Science, College of Forestry, Peavy Hall 154, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-5705, U.S.A.

Abstract

Abstract. Light, probably acting through the photo-receptor phytochrome, promotes germination of weed seeds when the soil is disturbed by tillage operations. A short period of burial is shown to induce an enormous ∼10000-fold increase in light sensitivity in the seeds of the arable weed Datura ferox which is interpreted as a natural transition to the ‘very-low-fluence’ mode of phytochrome action. Field experiments indicated that germination of buried seeds may be triggered by millisecond-exposures to sunlight and suggested a key role for the process of sensitization in the mechanisms whereby light requiring seeds detect the occurrence of soil cultivation events in arable lands.

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