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Plant Physiol. 1969 Jun;44(6):907-11.

Imbibition temperature sensitivity of lima bean seeds controlled by initial seed moisture.

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  • 1Crops Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Fort Collins, Colorado 80521.


Excised embryonic axes and whole seeds of Phaseolus lunatus L. were previously shown to be injured if exposed to low (5 degrees -15 degrees ) temperature during the initial stages of imbibition. Present data show that this chilling injury during imbibition of liquid water can be prevented if axes are first allowed to absorb water vapor. The increase of initial water content to 20% increases growth even of unchilled axes, and reduces leaching of 264 mmu absorbing compounds. Protection resulting from increased water content is at first independent of the temperature at which water vapor was absorbed. However, longer exposure of high moisture axes to low temperature results in typical chilling injury. The response to initial seed moisture is repeatedly reversible with changes in water content. Because the same response occurs in intact seeds, it may be possible both to protect them against low temperature injury and to increase vigor by increasing seed water-content prior to planting.

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