Environmental stresses such as drought, salinity and both high and low temperature are frequently faced by crops all over the world and can be considered major limiting factors for plant geographical distribution and productivity. Breeding has allowed creation of crops more adapted to some of the adverse environmental conditions and to overcome the geographical limitation without major consequences to productivity. However, due to the climate changes observed in the last few decades, some agricultural areas have experienced the “green seed problem” characterized by chlorophyll retention in mature seeds. This is problematic in oil seed crops such as soybean and canola since it is related to lower seed and oil quality, resulting in serious financial losses. Besides the environmental factors, there are also genetic components controlling the susceptibility of different cultivars to green seed production. Understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling chlorophyll retention in seeds is crucial to allow advanced molecular breeding techniques and genetic engineering as a way to increase tolerance to this growing problem.
We have used maturing soybean seeds of the cultivar MG/BR 46, harvested in R6, R7 and R8, produced under non-stressed and stressed environmental conditions, to understand he molecular basis of chlorophyll degradation and, consequently, its retention during soybean seed maturation.