Reduced metabolic rate indicates declining viability in seed collections: an experimental proof-of-concept

Emma L. Dalziell, Sean Tomlinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is increasing investment globally in seed storage facilities for a wide array of purposes, from food security to biodiversity conservation. Best practice when storing seeds in this manner is to periodically test collections for viability, such that declining viability can be used as a trigger for management actions. Typically, viability testing is time consuming and/or destructive, involving germination testing, cut-testing or a range of potential biochemical indicators. Given that respiration (i.e. metabolic activity) is the basic chemical reaction common to all forms of life, measuring metabolic rate should provide a less-destructive, simple and repeatable correlate of seed viability. We compared the viability of seed collections of known proportions of alive and dead seeds to their metabolic rates, calculated as CO2 production (VCO2) measured using flow through respirometery. To maximize the activity of the seeds and our likelihood of measuring metabolic rates, we imbibed the seeds from 12 species of angiosperms, and measured them using an open system respirometer. Measuring metabolic rate in seeds from diverse evolutionary and ecological backgrounds required us to adopt an allometric approach to account for the effects of seed size upon metabolic rate. After doing so, however, we found significant linear relationships between the known viability of our seed collections and their metabolic rates, but these relationships were unique for each species measured. These data provide substantial support to the prospect that measuring metabolic rates can be used to estimate viability of seeds in storage, however, we advocate the development and adoption of more sensitive respirometry equipment, specifically engineered for this purpose in order to achieve truly non-destructive measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number058
Number of pages10
JournalConservation Physiology
Volume5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2017

Cite this

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title = "Reduced metabolic rate indicates declining viability in seed collections: an experimental proof-of-concept",
abstract = "There is increasing investment globally in seed storage facilities for a wide array of purposes, from food security to biodiversity conservation. Best practice when storing seeds in this manner is to periodically test collections for viability, such that declining viability can be used as a trigger for management actions. Typically, viability testing is time consuming and/or destructive, involving germination testing, cut-testing or a range of potential biochemical indicators. Given that respiration (i.e. metabolic activity) is the basic chemical reaction common to all forms of life, measuring metabolic rate should provide a less-destructive, simple and repeatable correlate of seed viability. We compared the viability of seed collections of known proportions of alive and dead seeds to their metabolic rates, calculated as CO2 production (VCO2) measured using flow through respirometery. To maximize the activity of the seeds and our likelihood of measuring metabolic rates, we imbibed the seeds from 12 species of angiosperms, and measured them using an open system respirometer. Measuring metabolic rate in seeds from diverse evolutionary and ecological backgrounds required us to adopt an allometric approach to account for the effects of seed size upon metabolic rate. After doing so, however, we found significant linear relationships between the known viability of our seed collections and their metabolic rates, but these relationships were unique for each species measured. These data provide substantial support to the prospect that measuring metabolic rates can be used to estimate viability of seeds in storage, however, we advocate the development and adoption of more sensitive respirometry equipment, specifically engineered for this purpose in order to achieve truly non-destructive measurements.",
keywords = "Allometry, ex situ storage, genebank, orthodox storage behaviour, seed conservation, viability monitoring, RESPIRATION, DORMANCY, DETERIORATION, CONSUMPTION, GERMINATION, ORGANISMS, ALLOMETRY, ECOLOGY, QUALITY, STORAGE",
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year = "2017",
month = "10",
day = "17",
doi = "10.1093/conphys/cox058",
language = "English",
volume = "5",
journal = "Conservation Physiology",
issn = "2051-1434",
publisher = "OXFORD UNIV PRESS UNITED KINGDOM",

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Reduced metabolic rate indicates declining viability in seed collections : an experimental proof-of-concept. / Dalziell, Emma L.; Tomlinson, Sean.

In: Conservation Physiology, Vol. 5, 058, 17.10.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Reduced metabolic rate indicates declining viability in seed collections

T2 - an experimental proof-of-concept

AU - Dalziell, Emma L.

AU - Tomlinson, Sean

PY - 2017/10/17

Y1 - 2017/10/17

N2 - There is increasing investment globally in seed storage facilities for a wide array of purposes, from food security to biodiversity conservation. Best practice when storing seeds in this manner is to periodically test collections for viability, such that declining viability can be used as a trigger for management actions. Typically, viability testing is time consuming and/or destructive, involving germination testing, cut-testing or a range of potential biochemical indicators. Given that respiration (i.e. metabolic activity) is the basic chemical reaction common to all forms of life, measuring metabolic rate should provide a less-destructive, simple and repeatable correlate of seed viability. We compared the viability of seed collections of known proportions of alive and dead seeds to their metabolic rates, calculated as CO2 production (VCO2) measured using flow through respirometery. To maximize the activity of the seeds and our likelihood of measuring metabolic rates, we imbibed the seeds from 12 species of angiosperms, and measured them using an open system respirometer. Measuring metabolic rate in seeds from diverse evolutionary and ecological backgrounds required us to adopt an allometric approach to account for the effects of seed size upon metabolic rate. After doing so, however, we found significant linear relationships between the known viability of our seed collections and their metabolic rates, but these relationships were unique for each species measured. These data provide substantial support to the prospect that measuring metabolic rates can be used to estimate viability of seeds in storage, however, we advocate the development and adoption of more sensitive respirometry equipment, specifically engineered for this purpose in order to achieve truly non-destructive measurements.

AB - There is increasing investment globally in seed storage facilities for a wide array of purposes, from food security to biodiversity conservation. Best practice when storing seeds in this manner is to periodically test collections for viability, such that declining viability can be used as a trigger for management actions. Typically, viability testing is time consuming and/or destructive, involving germination testing, cut-testing or a range of potential biochemical indicators. Given that respiration (i.e. metabolic activity) is the basic chemical reaction common to all forms of life, measuring metabolic rate should provide a less-destructive, simple and repeatable correlate of seed viability. We compared the viability of seed collections of known proportions of alive and dead seeds to their metabolic rates, calculated as CO2 production (VCO2) measured using flow through respirometery. To maximize the activity of the seeds and our likelihood of measuring metabolic rates, we imbibed the seeds from 12 species of angiosperms, and measured them using an open system respirometer. Measuring metabolic rate in seeds from diverse evolutionary and ecological backgrounds required us to adopt an allometric approach to account for the effects of seed size upon metabolic rate. After doing so, however, we found significant linear relationships between the known viability of our seed collections and their metabolic rates, but these relationships were unique for each species measured. These data provide substantial support to the prospect that measuring metabolic rates can be used to estimate viability of seeds in storage, however, we advocate the development and adoption of more sensitive respirometry equipment, specifically engineered for this purpose in order to achieve truly non-destructive measurements.

KW - Allometry

KW - ex situ storage

KW - genebank

KW - orthodox storage behaviour

KW - seed conservation

KW - viability monitoring

KW - RESPIRATION

KW - DORMANCY

KW - DETERIORATION

KW - CONSUMPTION

KW - GERMINATION

KW - ORGANISMS

KW - ALLOMETRY

KW - ECOLOGY

KW - QUALITY

KW - STORAGE

U2 - 10.1093/conphys/cox058

DO - 10.1093/conphys/cox058

M3 - Article

VL - 5

JO - Conservation Physiology

JF - Conservation Physiology

SN - 2051-1434

M1 - 058

ER -