Seed germination ecology of Ageratum houstonianum: A major invasive weed in Nepal.
ABSTRACT: In recent years, spread of invasive alien plant species (IAPS) has been a major concern in Nepal. One such IAPS is Ageratum houstonianum, an Asteraceae, that is a prolific seed producer and difficult-to-control in farmland and various ecological regions causing crop yield and biodiversity losses. However, very little information is available on the germination biology and ecology of this species. Therefore, experiments were conducted to assess the effect of water stress, pH level, and light requirement on seed germination, and the effect of seed burial depth on seedling emergence. Water stress was simulated by polyethylene glycol solutions ranging from 0-5.56 MPa and pH solutions ranging from 4 to 9 were prepared using hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide. Germination tests were conducted in petri dishes lined with filter paper and placed in a controlled environment chamber set at 20° C. Light requirement comparisons were made by having petri dishes wrapped with aluminum foil or left unwrapped. Seedling emergence was evaluated by placing seeds at depths ranging from 0 to 20 mm in the soil. Results indicated that this species was moderately drought-tolerant because germination ceased beyond 0.51 MPa. Greater germination occurred at neutral to acidic than at alkaline pH levels. The seeds were positively photoblastic because no germination occurred under dark condition. No seedlings emerged from seeds placed more than 2 mm deep in the soil, indicating that this is a primarily surface germinating species. These findings will help predict future invasions and in development of management strategies for this IAPS.
Project description:Seed dispersal plays a significant role in forest regeneration and maintenance. Flying foxes are often posited as effective long-distance seed dispersers due to their large home ranges and ability to disperse seeds when flying. We evaluate the importance of the Madagascan flying fox Pteropus rufus in the maintenance and regeneration of forests in one of the world's priority conservation areas. We tested germination success of over 20,000 seeds from the figs Ficus polita, F. grevei and F. lutea extracted from bat faeces and ripe fruits under progressively more natural conditions, ranging from petri-dishes to outdoor environments. Seeds from all fig species showed increased germination success after passing through the bats' digestive tracts. Outside, germination success in F. polita was highest in faecal seeds grown under semi-shaded conditions, and seeds that passed through bats showed increased seedling establishment success. We used data from feeding trials and GPS tracking to construct seed shadow maps to visualize seed dispersal patterns. The models use Gaussian probability density functions to predict the likelihood of defecation events occurring after feeding. In captivity, bats had short gut retention times (often < 30 mins), but were sometimes able to retain seeds for over 24h. In the wild, bats travelled 3-5 km within 24-280 min after feeding, when defecation of ingested seeds is very likely. They produced extensive seed shadows (11 bats potentially dispersing seeds over 58,000 ha over 45 total days of tracking) when feeding on figs within their large foraging areas and dispersed the seeds in habitats that were often partially shaded and hence would facilitate germination up to 20 km from the feeding tree. Because figs are important pioneer species, P. rufus is an important dispersal vector that makes a vital contribution to the regeneration and maintenance of highly fragmented forest patches in Madagascar.
Project description:In this study, the phytotoxic effects caused by the exposure to five different concentrations of two veterinary antibiotics (Tylosin, and Enrofloxacin) that are commonly used for the treatment of farm animals as antibacterial agents were considered. The impact of antibiotic residues was evaluated on the germination percentage, accumulation, and seedling elongation of the barley seeds using Petri dishes under controlled environmental conditions. The treatments were distributed randomly using Completely Randomized Design (CRD). The germination percentage was significantly inhibited with the increasing Enrofloxacin dose concentrations, while, it was to some extent on the contrary in the case of Tylosin, where seed germination was enhanced as a result of increasing Tylosin concentrations. Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry LC/MS-MS was used to detect and quantify the uptake dosage after drying and extracting the antibiotic compounds from the seedling.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Seed germination is a critical stage in plant life, and recent practices use nanomaterials for the improvement of plant seed germination indices. This study was conducted to assess the effect of laboratory prepared zinc oxide nanoparticles on the physiological and biochemical changes of lettuce seeds.<h4>Methods</h4>Lettuce seeds were soaked in a suspension of moderately polydisperse zinc oxide nanoparticles at two different concentrations (25 ppm or 50 ppm) and shaken for 3 h at 25 °C. Seeds treatment was followed subsequently by two to three days drying at ambient conditions. Treated seeds were stored for 3-4 weeks, at ambient conditions and then tested for germination in petri dishes. Germination was observed on daily basis and seedling length was measured. After imbibition and before the start of the visible germination, seeds were examined for topography and surface analysis using the scanning electron microscope and zinc uptake was measured by using the atomic absorption spectrometry and the energy dispersive X-ray. The pattern of mobilization of biomolecules was analyzed to detect any differences among different seed groups.<h4>Results</h4>There was no loss of viability for the nanoparticles treated seeds. Indeed their germination was enhanced and their biomass increased. The activated performance of the nanoparticles imbibed seeds has been found to be correlated with an increased level of Zn inside lettuce seeds. The recorded measurements show a significant enhancement of seedling length. Interaction of zinc oxide nanoparticles with lettuce seeds mediates a variation in the biochemical processes. Changes detected in treated seeds were as following: reduced levels of the total carbohydrates (including simple saccharides and polysaccharides), higher capacity of protein synthesis, an elevated level of starch as well as an increased activity of antioxidant enzymes.<h4>Discussion and conclusion</h4>Lettuce seeds primed with ZnO nanoparticles were found not only to maintain seed viability but even to exhibit a detectable level of germination enhancement compared to the control seeds. Overall, the promoted response of lettuce seeds during early stages of seed growth is encouraging for the application of ZnO NPs for seed priming for better germination indices.
Project description:Two Solanaceae invasive plant species (Physalis angulata L. and P. philadelphica Lam. var. immaculata Waterfall) infest several arable crops and natural habitats in Southeastern Anatolia region, Turkey. However, almost no information is available regarding germination biology of both species. We performed several experiments to infer the effects of environmental factors on seed germination and seedling emergence of different populations of both species collected from various locations with different elevations and habitat characteristics. Seed dormancy level of all populations was decreased with increasing age of the seeds. Seed dormancy of freshly harvested and aged seeds of all populations was effectively released by running tap water. Germination was slightly affected by photoperiods, which suggests that seeds are slightly photoblastic. All seeds germinated under wide range of temperature (15-40?°C), pH (4-10), osmotic potential (0 to -1.2?MPa) and salinity (0-400?mM sodium chloride) levels. The germination ability of both plant species under wide range of environmental conditions suggests further invasion potential towards non-infested areas in the country. Increasing seed burial depth significantly reduced the seedling emergence, and seeds buried below 4?cm of soil surface were unable to emerge. In arable lands, soil inversion to maximum depth of emergence (i.e., 6?cm) followed by conservational tillage could be utilized as a viable management option.
Project description:Seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana (ecotype Columbia) were surface-sterilized inbayrochlore/ethanol (1:1, v/v), rinsed in absolute ethanol and dried overnight. Germination and growth were carried out under axenic conditions in square Petri dishes. After seeds were sowed, Petri dishes were placed at 4°C for 48 h in order to break dormancy and homogenize germination, and then transferred to a control growth chamber at 22°C under a 16-h light period regime at 4500 lux for 4 weeks. Growth medium consisted of 0.8% (w/v) agar in 1x Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal salt mix (Sigma, St. Louis, MO, USA) adjusted to pH 5.7. After 4 weeks of cultivation on vertical plates plantlets were transferred on fresh medium complemented with atrazine 10 µM and with sucrose 80mM or mannitol 80 mM which were directly added during preparation of agar-MS media prior to sterilisation. Atrazine was sterilized by microfiltration through 0.2 µm cellulose acetate filters (Polylabo, Strasbourg, France) and then axenically added to melted agar-MS medium prior to pouring into Petri dishes. Then plantlets were harvested after 12, 24 and 48 hours of transfer and extracted for RNA. Plantlets grown on MS medium were harvested and extracted for RNA as control.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Assessment of seed germination is an essential task for seed researchers to measure the quality and performance of seeds. Usually, seed assessments are done manually, which is a cumbersome, time consuming and error-prone process. Classical image analyses methods are not well suited for large-scale germination experiments, because they often rely on manual adjustments of color-based thresholds. We here propose a machine learning approach using modern artificial neural networks with region proposals for accurate seed germination detection and high-throughput seed germination experiments.<h4>Results</h4>We generated labeled imaging data of the germination process of more than 2400 seeds for three different crops, Zea mays (maize), Secale cereale (rye) and Pennisetum glaucum (pearl millet), with a total of more than 23,000 images. Different state-of-the-art convolutional neural network (CNN) architectures with region proposals have been trained using transfer learning to automatically identify seeds within petri dishes and to predict whether the seeds germinated or not. Our proposed models achieved a high mean average precision (mAP) on a hold-out test data set of approximately 97.9%, 94.2% and 94.3% for Zea mays, Secale cereale and Pennisetum glaucum respectively. Further, various single-value germination indices, such as Mean Germination Time and Germination Uncertainty, can be computed more accurately with the predictions of our proposed model compared to manual countings.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our proposed machine learning-based method can help to speed up the assessment of seed germination experiments for different seed cultivars. It has lower error rates and a higher performance compared to conventional and manual methods, leading to more accurate germination indices and quality assessments of seeds.
Project description:Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by rhizobacteria have been proven to stimulate plant growth during germination and seedling stages. However, the modulating effect of bacterial volatiles on the germination of seeds subjected to heavy metal stress is scarcely studied. In this work, the ability of volatiles released by Bacillus sp. MH778713 to induce seed dormancy breakage in Prosopis laevigata and Arabidopsis thaliana seeds were examined. The minimal inhibitory concentration of chromium (Cr) VI that prevents seed germination of P. laevigata and A. thaliana on water-Cr-agar plates was 2500 and 100 mg L-1, respectively. Remarkably, partitioned Petri-dish co-cultivation of Bacillus sp. MH778713 and plant seeds under Cr-stress showed the beneficial effect of volatiles emitted by Bacillus sp. MH778713, helping plant seeds to overcome Cr-stress. Among the metabolites emitted by Bacillus sp. MH778713, octadecane, heneicosane, 2,4-di-tert-butylphenol, hexadecane, eicosane, octacosane, and tetratriacontane were the most abundant. To confirm that these long-chain compounds produced by Bacillus sp. MH778713 could be responsible for the seed dormancy breakage, high pure organic compounds (2,4-di-tert-butylphenol, heneicosane, hentriacontane, and tetracosane) were used directly in germination assays of P. laevigata and A. thaliana seeds instead of volatiles emitted by Bacillus sp. MH778713. All organic compounds allowed Prosopis and Arabidopsis seeds to overcome Cr-toxicity and germinate. The results of this study provide new insight into the role of long-chain bacterial compounds produced by Bacillus sp. MH778713 as triggers of seed abiotic stress tolerance, surmounting chromium stress and stimulating seedling development.
Project description:Conyza sumatrensis (Retz.) E. H. Walker is an obnoxious weed, emerging as an invasive species globally. Seed germination biology of four populations of the species stemming from arid, semi-arid, temperate, and humid regions was determined in this study. Seed germination was recorded under six different environmental cues (i.e., light/dark periods, constant and alternating day and night temperatures, pH, salinity, and osmotic potential levels) in separate experiment for each cue. Populations were main factor, whereas levels of each environmental cue were considered as sub-factor. The impact of seed burial depths on seedling emergence was inferred in a greenhouse pot experiment. Seed germination was recorded daily and four germination indices, i.e., seed germination percentage, mean germination time, time to reach 50% germination, and mean daily germination were computed. Tested populations and levels of different environmental cues had significant impact on various seed germination indices. Overall, seeds stemming from arid and semi-arid regions had higher seed germination potential under stressful and benign environmental conditions compared to temperate and humid populations. Seed of all populations required a definite light period for germination and 12 hours alternating light and dark period resulted in the highest seed germination. Seed germination of all populations occurred under 5-30°C constant and all tested alternate day and night temperatures. However, the highest seed germination was recorded under 20°C. Seeds of arid and semi-arid populations exhibited higher germination under increased temperature, salinity and osmotic potential levels indicating that maternal environment strongly affected germination traits of the tested populations. The highest seed germination of the tested populations was noted under neutral pH, while higher and lower pH than neutral had negative impact on seed germination. Arid and semi-arid populations exhibited higher seed germination under increased pH compared to temperate and humid populations. Seed burial depth had a significant effect on the seedling emergence of all tested populations. An initial increase was noted in seedling emergence percentage with increasing soil depth. However, a steep decline was recorded after 2 cm seed burial depth. These results indicate that maternal environment strongly mediates germination traits of different populations. Lower emergence from >4 cm seed burial depth warrants that deep burial of seeds and subsequent zero or minimum soil disturbance could aid the management of the species in agricultural habitats. However, management strategies should be developed for other habitats to halt the spread of the species.
Project description:Growth in the presence of sucrose was shown to confer to Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings, under conditions of in vitro culture, a very high level of tolerance to the herbicide atrazine and to other photosynthesis inhibitors (Sulmon et al., 2004). The CATMA investigation will be useful to reveal the gene networks implicated in the mechanisms of xenobiotics tolerance. Seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana (ecotype Columbia) were surface-sterilized inbayrochlore/ethanol (1:1, v/v), rinsed in absolute ethanol and dried overnight. Germination and growth were carried out under axenic conditions in square Petri dishes. After seeds were sowed, Petri dishes were placed at 4 C for 48 h in order to break dormancy and homogenize germination, and then transferred to a control growth chamber at 22°C under a 16-h light period regime at 4500 lux for 4 weeks. Growth medium consisted of 0.8% (w/v) agar in 1x Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal salt mix (Sigma, St. Louis, MO, USA) adjusted to pH 5.7. After 4 weeks of cultivation on vertical plates plantlets were transferred on fresh medium complemented or not with atrazine 10 uM and with sucrose 80mM or mannitol 80 mM which were directly added during preparation of agar-MS media prior to sterilisation. Atrazine was sterilized by microfiltration through 0.2 um cellulose acetate filters (Polylabo, Strasbourg, France) and then axenically added to melted agar-MS medium prior to pouring into Petri dishes. Then plantlets were harvested after 24 hours of transfer and extracted for RNA.
Project description:Scatter hoarding of seeds by animals contributes significantly to forest-level processes, including plant recruitment and forest community composition. However, the potential positive and negative effects of caching on seed survival, germination success, and seedling survival have rarely been assessed through experimental studies. Here, I tested the hypothesis that seed burial mimicking caches made by scatter hoarding Central American agoutis (Dasyprocta punctate) enhances seed survival, germination, and growth by protecting seeds from seed predators and providing favorable microhabitats for germination. In a series of experiments, I used simulated agouti seed caches to assess how hoarding affects seed predation by ground-dwelling invertebrates and vertebrates for four plant species. I tracked germination and seedling growth of intact and beetle-infested seeds and, using exclosures, monitored the effects of mammals on seedling survival through time. All experiments were conducted over three years in a lowland wet forest in Costa Rica. The majority of hoarded palm seeds escaped predation by both invertebrates and vertebrates while exposed seeds suffered high levels of infestation and removal. Hoarding had no effect on infestation rates of D. panamensis, but burial negatively affected germination success by preventing endocarp dehiscence. Non-infested palm seeds had higher germination success and produced larger seedlings than infested seeds. Seedlings of A. alatum and I. deltoidea suffered high mortality by seed-eating mammals. Hoarding protected most seeds from predators and enhanced germination success (except for D. panamensis) and seedling growth, although mammals killed many seedlings of two plant species; all seedling deaths were due to seed removal from the plant base. Using experimental caches, this study shows that scatter hoarding is beneficial to most seeds and may positively affect plant propagation in tropical forests, although tradeoffs in seed survival do exist.