Exogenous antioxidants enhance seedling growth and yield of artificially aged cabbage and lettuce seeds
Adetunji, Ademola Emmanuel
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Aged seeds exhibit compromised vigour in terms of germination, seedling emergence and growth, but this can to some extent be alleviated by invigoration treatments before sowing. This study aimed to investigate ageing rates and patterns in cabbage (Brassica oleraceae) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa) seeds and whether the beneficial effects of invigorating aged seeds with exogenous antioxidants translate to enhanced seedling performance. Seeds were artificially aged to 25% viability before soaking in 0.4 mM glycerol, 0.6 mM GSH and 0.2 mM trolox for cabbage, and 0.6 mM glycerol, GSH and trolox for lettuce; deionised water served as a control. After 14 days of sowing, seedling emergence percentage, mean emergence time, mean daily emergence, and time taken to 25% emergence were computed. Seedling vigour index, root and shoot dry weight, root:shoot ratio, leaf area, leaf area ratio, and leaf chlorophyll content were assessed 6 weeks after sowing. Furthermore, the photosynthetic rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (Gs), transpiration rate (E), and chlorophyll fluorescence were measured 6 weeks after sowing. Notably, ageing resulted in the loss of seed vigour and viability at higher rates in lettuce than cabbage. Seed pretreatment with glycerol promoted seedling growth in both species and shoot dry weight in lettuce, while glycerol and GSH enhanced Pn, Gs and E in lettuce.