New Forests

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 429–440 | Cite as

Morphological and biochemical changes of Aesculus chinensis seeds in the process of maturation

  • Fangyuan YuEmail author
  • Shufen Chen


Morphological and biochemical changes of Chinese horse chestnut (Aesculus chinensis Bge.) seeds were studied during the process of maturation. Fruit and seed diameter increased linearly from DPA (Days Post Anthesis) 60 to DPA 150 and were stable thereafter. The weight of fruit and seed increased sigmoidally between DPA 100 and DPA 160. The water contents of whole seeds, axes and cotyledons had a sharp reduction from DPA 110 to DPA 130 but changed little after DPA 130. The water contents of whole seeds, axes and cotyledons were 1.42, 1.93 and 1.30 g g−1DW, respectively at the end of maturation. The starch content of cotyledons from mature seeds was high on a dry weight basis (31.4%) while the total soluble sugar content varied between 12 and 20%. In both axes and cotyledons, the total soluble sugar content decreased during the process of maturation, as did all five soluble sugar components measured (glucose, sucrose, trehalose, raffinose and stachyose). Sucrose and stachyose contents remained relatively high at the time of seed maturation, followed by glucose and a trace level of trehalose. The oligosaccharide/disaccharide (O/D) ratio in the axes was 3.1 at DPA 140. The high level of sucrose and stachyose might contribute to the greater desiccation tolerance of Aesculus chinensis seeds relative to typical recalcitrant tropical seeds. High levels of ABA content in seed coats and a low GA3/ABA ratio in both seed coats and axes might also influence the desiccation tolerance and shallow dormancy of mature Aesculus chinensis seeds.


Aesculus chinensis seeds Water content Starch content Sugar contents GA3 and ABA contents Seed development 



This work was supported by a grant from National Nature Science Foundation of China (No. 30271076). We thank associate Prof. Feng Ying and Gu Xiaotian from Nanjing Normal University for sugar measurements. We are indebted to Prof. Robert D. Guy, The University of British Columbia, Canada, for carefully revising our manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Forest Resources and EnvironmentNanjing Forestry UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

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