Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 63, Issue 1, pp 89–99 | Cite as

Examining the interaction of light, nutrients and carbohydrates on seed germination and early seedling development of Bletia purpurea (Orchidaceae)

  • Timothy R. JohnsonEmail author
  • Michael E. Kane
  • Hector E. Pérez
Original Research


The effects of carbohydrate availability, carbohydrate source, nutrient availability and illumination on germination and early development of Bletia purpurea (Orchidaceae) seeds were investigated using asymbiotic seed germination. Of special interest was determining the minimum nutritional and light requirements for the completion of germination. Germination and development was limited when seeds were cultured in darkness without sucrose. Seeds were able to germinate under illuminated conditions even in the absence of sucrose and this effect was enhanced when mineral nutrients were incorporated into media. Sucrose, fructose, glucose and trehalose enhanced germination and seedling development while mannitol and sorbitol did not. These data suggest that carbohydrates, either as products of photosynthesis, from symbiotic fungi in situ or as exogenously supplied sugars in vitro, play an important role in regulating seed germination by fulfilling an energy requirement. This hypothesis has been often expressed but rarely satisfactorily tested. Mineral nutrients appear to be less important for germination than carbohydrates. The differential effect of sucrose, fructose, glucose and trehalose at two different concentrations on rhizoid production indicates carbohydrates may play a role in regulating rhizoid production.


Nutrition Photoblastic Rhizoid Seed physiology Seedling development 



The authors thank Dr. Phil Kauth and Nancy Philman (University of Florida; Plant Restoration, Conservation, and Propagation Biotechnology Laboratory) for assistance with the preparation of this manuscript and assistance in the field. The authors also thank Meghan Brennan from the University of Florida department of Statistics in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences for assistance with statistical analysis, as well as Larry Richardson (US Fish and Wildlife Service) for field assistance. This research was supported in part by a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy R. Johnson
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Michael E. Kane
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hector E. Pérez
    • 2
  1. 1.Plant Restoration, Conservation & Propagation Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Environmental HorticultureUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Plant Restoration and Conservation Horticulture Consortium, Department of Environmental HorticultureUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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