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Water Relations Of Seed Development And Germination In Muskmelon (Cucumis Melo L.) : I. Water Relations Of Seed And Fruit Development.

G. Welbaum, K. Bradford
Published 1988 · Biology, Medicine

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Total water potential (psi), solute potential, and turgor potential of field-grown muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.) fruit tissue (pericarp) and seeds were determined by thermocouple psychrometry at 5-day intervals from 10 to 65 days after anthesis (DAA). Fruit maturity occurred between 44 and 49 DAA, and seed germination ability developed between 35 and 45 DAA. Pericarp psi was essentially constant at approximately -0.75 megapascal (MPa) from 10 to 25 DAA, then decreased to a minimum value of -1.89 MPa at 50 DAA before increasing to -1.58 MPa at 65 DAA. Seed psi remained relatively constant at approximately -0.5 MPa from 10 to 30 DAA then decreased to -2.26 MPa at 50 to 60 DAA before increasing to -2.01 MPa at 65 DAA. After a rapid increase to 20 DAA, seed fresh weight declined until 30 DAA due to net water loss, despite continuing dry weight gain. As fruit and seed growth rates decreased, turgor potential initially increased, then declined to small values when growth ceased. A disequilibrium in psi was measured between seeds and pericarp both early and late in development. From 20 to 40 DAA, the psi gradient was from the seed to the tissue, coinciding with water loss from the seeds. From 50 to 65 DAA, seed psi decreased, causing a reversal of the psi gradient and a slight increase in seed water content. The partitioning of solutes between symplast and apoplast may create and maintain psi gradients between the pericarp and seed. The low solute potential within the pericarp due to solute accumulation and loss of cellular compartmentation during ripening and sensecence may be involved in prevention of precocious germination of mature seeds.

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