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Climate Change Affects Seed Aging? Initiation Mechanism And Consequences Of Loss Of Forest Tree Seed Viability

Joanna Kijowska-Oberc, Aleksandra M. Staszak, Ewelina Ratajczak

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Abstract Key message Environmental stress resulting from rapid climate changes leads to the initiation of the seed aging process in mitochondria and peroxisomes. Seed storage methods limiting germinability loss are fundamental for forest future. Abstract Seed aging is a natural process. It decreases the seed germination rate, i.e. the process is essential for the plant’s life cycle. Aging involves a progressive accumulation of oxidative damage over time. One of the main plant responses to stress is an excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), such as O 2 −• , H2O2 and OH. If the concentration of ROS is too high, it causes damage of the structure of lipid membranes, proteins, carbohydrates, and DNA. Climate changes affect tree reproduction and may have long-term consequences in the form of reduced species dispersal and acquisition of new habitats. High temperatures accelerate the aging of seeds and decrease their viability. There is, therefore, an indisputable need to store forest reproductive material to maintain continuity of regeneration in farm forests. The quality of seeds subjected to long-term storage correlates negatively with ROS concentration, as ROS accumulation typically occurs in tissues experiencing oxidative stress. Therefore, to preserve forest genetic resources, it is particularly important to know the causes and sites of initiation of the aging process in seed cells, as well as to prevent the germination rate decrease by developing appropriate storage methods. The main organelles responsible for intracellular ROS production are mitochondria and peroxisomes. This article aims at verifying the causes of seed aging and determining its consequences for future forest regeneration due to climate changes. We review the literature on oxidative stress, as well as the sites where the tree seed aging process originates, such as mitochondria and peroxisomes.