Evaluating the EPPO method for seed longevity analyses in Arabidopsis

Buijs, Gonda; Willems, Leo A.J.; Kodde, Jan; Groot, Steven P.C.; Bentsink, Leónie


Seed longevity (storability) is an important seed quality trait. High seed quality is important in agriculture, for the industry, and for safeguarding biodiversity as many species are stored as seeds in genebanks. To ensure ex-situ seed survival, seeds are mostly stored at low relative humidity and low temperature. Oxidation is the main cause of seed deterioration in these dry storage conditions. The molecular mechanisms underlying dry seed survival remain poorly understood. Research on seed longevity is hampered by the lack of an experimental ageing method that mimics dry ageing well. Here, we propose the Elevated Partial Pressure of Oxygen (EPPO) method as the best available method to mimic and accelerate dry seed ageing. We have tested seed germination in Arabidopsis thaliana after EPPO storage at two different relative humidity (RH) conditions and confirm the large effect of oxygen and the seed moisture content on ageing during dry storage. Comparative Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis shows that EPPO at 55 % RH mimics dry ageing better than the commonly used Artificial Ageing and Controlled Deterioration tests at higher moisture levels.