Seed deterioration in the course of storage may involve hydrolytic reactions. Hence, we aimed to evaluate viability, vigour, contents of reserves and metabolites, and activities of hydrolytic enzymes in Moringa oleifera Lam. seeds during storage under controlled conditions. Seeds were packaged in semipermeable plastic and maintained in a growth chamber (27 ± 2 °C and RH 60–65%) and under refrigeration (4 ± 2 °C and RH 20–25%) for 18 months. Samples were taken at the start of the experiment and every 3 months. During the first 12 months, water content, viability, and vigour remained almost unaffected, while the content of neutral lipids, starch, soluble sugars and free amino acids did not reduce in the seeds kept under refrigeration. After this period, the loss of viability and vigour was accompanied by the degradation of storage lipids, storage proteins, and non-reducing sugars associated with the increase of lipase and acid protease activity in both environmental conditions. As the seed water content remained below 8% in the course of the experiment, we suggest that non-enzymatic hydrolysis might play a role in the deterioration of M. oleifera seeds during storage. At least for planting, we recommend that M. oleifera seeds be kept at low relative humidity under refrigeration for up to 12 months.
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We thank Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) for the fellowships and Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte and CNPq (Process 446179/2014-0) for funding. Much of this article is part of the M.Sc. thesis by the first author.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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