, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 147-154

Changes in soluble sugars in relation to desiccation tolerance and effects of dehydration on freezing characteristics of Acer platanoides and Acer pseudoplatanus seeds

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The role of soluble sugars in desiccation tolerance was investigated in seeds of two species from the genus Acer: Norway maple (Acer platanoides L.) — tolerant and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus L.) — intolerant to dehydration. During two years of observations it was found that seeds of Norway maple acquire desiccation tolerance at the end of August i.e. about 125 days after flowering (DAF). During seed development, the transition from intolerant to tolerant state in Norway maple seeds was accompanied by the accumulation in seed tissues of raffinose, stachyose and sucrose. The sucrose/raffinose ratio in Norway maple seeds was lower than in sycamore. In mature Norway maple seeds sucrose and raffinose contents were higher than in sycamore. It was concluded, that soluble sugars such as sucrose, raffinose and stachyose may play an important role in desiccation tolerance and/or intolerance of Norway maple and sycamore seeds. Differential thermal analysis (DTA) was used to study the relationship between desiccation sensitivity and the state of water in seed tissues. The level of non-freezable water was the same in both analysed seed species, but the temperature of water crystallization during desiccation was lower in sycamore seeds.