Is there a role for oligosaccharides in seed longevity? An assessment of intracellular glass stability

J. Buitink, M.A. Hemminga, F.A. Hoekstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


We examined whether oligosaccharides extend seed longevity by increasing the intracellular glass stability. For that purpose, we used a spin probe technique to measure the molecular mobility and glass transition temperature of the cytoplasm of impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) and bell pepper (Capsicum annuum) seeds that were osmo-primed to change oligosaccharide content and longevity. Using saturation transfer electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy, we found that the rotational correlation time of the polar spin probe 3-carboxy-proxyl in the cytoplasm decreased, together with longevity, as a function of increasing seed water content, suggesting that longevity may indeed be regulated by cytoplasmic mobility. Osmo-priming of the seeds resulted in considerable decreases in longevity and oligosaccharide content, while the sucrose content increased. No difference in the glass transition temperature was found between control and primed impatiens seeds at the same temperature and water content. Similarly, there was no difference in the rotational motion of the spin probe in the cytoplasm between control and primed impatiens and bell pepper seeds. We therefore conclude that oligosaccharides in seeds do not affect the stability of the intracellular glassy state, and that the reduced longevity after priming is not the result of increased molecular mobility in the cytoplasm.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1224
JournalPlant Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2000


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