Endoreduplication in cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seeds during development, after processing and storage, and during germination


Dr E. Sliwinska, Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, University of Technology and Life Sciences, Kaliskiego Ave. 7, 85-789 Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Email: elwira@utp.edu.pl


Flow cytometry was used to study endoreduplication in developing, stored and germinating seeds of cucumber (Cucumis sativus). Fruits growing in a commercial seed production field were collected every 7 days, starting 14 days after pollination (DAP) up to 63 DAP (commercial harvest time). Seeds were isolated and the proportion of nuclei with different DNA contents in the whole seeds and in the embryos was analysed. Germination capacity of fresh and dried seeds at 25°C was established. In addition, the same analyses were performed on the seeds after processing (fermentation, drying and cleaning), following 1 and 2 years of storage, and after imbibition for 3, 6 and 12 h. In the young developing seeds, endoreduplication up to 128C occurred but this decreased to 8C by maturity. The proportion of endosperm nuclei was the highest at 21 DAP (30%) and then decreased to below 14% at harvest and 8% after processing. In the mature processed seeds, the majority of embryo nuclei (about 80%) contained 2C DNA; however, about 2% of endoreduplicated (8C) nuclei were still present. Seeds did not show any germination capacity up to 21 DAP; then it gradually increased to reach 100% as early as 49 DAP, 2 weeks before commercial harvest time. The relationship between seed maturity, germination and cell cycle status is discussed. The mean C-value of the seed cells as well as the (4C + 8C + 16C)/2C ratio are recommended as markers of cucumber seed maturity and the advancement of germination/priming (the stage of germination sensu stricto).