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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 18:16 (article 7) 1995

The Relationship Between Storage Time and Viability of Cucumber Seeds (Cucumis sativus L.)

Huanwen Meng, Zhihui Cheng, Hongwen Cui and Engrang Zhang

Department of Horticulture, Northwestern Agricultural University, Yang Ling, Saanxi 712100, P.R. China

Introduction. Although it is well known that plant seeds will lose their vigor and viability during storage, there is a saying in China that the potential value of the new seeds is higher than that of the old seeds. How long will the viability of cucumber seed remain high and what is the optimum storage period for cucumber? This study was designed to answer these questions.

Material and Methods. The seeds of cucumber cv. No. 4 were stored under room temperature for 0, 1, 2, 3, or 4 years. Seed vigor was examined by germinating seed at 25C and estimating seed catalase activity during germination at 24 hr.

Results and Discussion. Catalase activity (SSR Test) in seeds decreased gradually with increased storage period (years) (Table 1). The SSR test shows that there were no significant differences in seed catalase activity between storage years 1 and 2m and 2 and 3. However, when the storage period reached 4 years, the catalase activity in seeds was significantly (P = 0.01%) lower than that of seeds stored for 1, 2 or 3 years. The catalase activity in new seeds was significantly (P = 0.05%) lower than that in seeds stored for 1 year and higher (P = 0.01) than that of seeds stored for 4 years.

There was also a trend that germination percentage, germination energy and germination index decreased with the increasing storage (Table 1). Although the SSR test showed differences between seeds stored for 1, 2 or 3 years, the catalase activity of seeds stored for 4 years was significantly lower than nay other storage period. These data indicate that seeds stored under room temperature for 4 years may have lost a significant portion of their potential viability. Although there was no significant difference in the percent germination among seeds stored for 1, 2, and 3 years, the germination index of the seeds stored for 2 or 3 years was significantly lower than that of the seeds stored for 1 year. Although the germinating percentage and germinating energy of new seed was higher than that of the stored seed, the germination index and the mean days of germination was not significantly different than seed stored for 1 year. As the storage years increased from 1 to 4 years, the mean days of germination increased.

Correlation analysis showed that percent germination and catalase activity (r2 = 0.87) were positively correlated with the percent germination. Moreover, germinating energy (r2 - 0.98) and the germination index (r2 - 0.90), were correlated with mean days to germination. A t-test showed that the correlation between catalase activity and the mean days of germination (P - 0.05) and the germination index (P = 0.01) were significant.

In summary, catalase activity and the germinating index were the highest in the seeds stored for 1 year among all the treatments. The seeds stored for 4 years under room temperature lost viability.

Table 1. Relationships between seed storage years, catalase activity, and the seed vigor index in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.)

Seed storage (years)
Catalase activity H2 O2 mg g-1
Germination
Germination energy (%)
Germination index
Mean days to germination
4
196.9 cB
46.0 bB
29.3 cB .
7.9 cB
1.7 a A
3
372.4 bA
91.2 aA
67.3 bA
14.0 bA
14.6 ab A
2
453.4 abA
92.6 aA
81.4 abA
16.5 bA
1.5 ab A
1
531.6 a A
91.9 aA
88.7 abA
19.3 aA
1.2 b A
0
413.2 bA
100 aA
100 a A
17.2 bA
1.4 ab A
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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
Created by T.C. Wehner and T. Ng, 1 June 2005; design by C.T. Glenn;
send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 15 December, 2009