Seed ageing of four Western Australian species in relation to storage environment and seed antioxidant activity

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The influence of the storage environment on seed viability and antioxidant potential was examined for four species native to Western Australia: Acacia bivenosa DC., Anigozanthos manglesii D. Don, Banksia ashbyi E.G. Baker, and Mesomelaena tetragona (R. Br.) Benth. Seeds were stored at four water contents (at c. 5%, 11-15%, 20-23% and 50% relative humidity) at each of five temperatures (-196, -18, 5, 23 and 50°C), and seed germination and seedling vigour monitored over an 18-month period. Deterioration was apparent in all species (except A. bivenosa) stored at 50°C, with 11% RH maximizing longevity for B. ashbyi and M. tetragona seeds, and 5% or 11% RH preventing deterioration for A. manglesii seeds. Seed viability generally remained high for all species stored at 23°C or less. Notably, however, germination and seedling vigour of A. manglesii and M. tetragona seeds gradually declined when stored at -18°C, suggesting that storage at this temperature was detrimental. The antioxidant activity of lipid extracts of seeds after 18 months storage at 5, 23 and 50°C was also examined to determine whether the seed viability decline was associated with a loss of antioxidants. Antioxidant activity varied between storage treatments and was not related to seed viability.

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Seed Science Research