Germination of Crotalaria and Lupinus (Fabaceae) seeds submitted to different pre-germination treatments and their effect on enzymatic activity during early germination

Abstract Most of the wild and native legume seeds has a hard and impermeable testa, which causes physical dormancy and prevents them from germinating even when environmental conditions are favorable. The study evaluated the effect of scarification treatments on germination and enzymatic activity of Crotalaria longirostrata (Cl) and Lupinus exaltatus (Le) seeds. After scarification treatments, germination percentage (GP) and rate (GR) were assessed during 30 days after seeding (DAS); and water absorption (WA) and specific enzymatic activity (SEA) during early germination (0, 6, 18, 36, 72, 120 h) in a growing chamber at 25 °C and photoperiod of 12 h. Scarification with 98% H2SO4 15 min increased GP and GR in both species. At 30 DAS, GP and GR of Le seeds were 34% and 0.97 seeds day-1, respectively. In Cl seeds, GP was 64% and GR 0.90 seeds day-1. Scarification with H2O at 80 °C 1 min also promoted germination in Cl (52%). At 120 h after seeding, Le and Cl seeds showed already a high GP with acid scarification (31% and 48%, respectively). In seeds of both species, scarification treatments affected WA and SEA during early germination. During this period, scarification treatments that increased GP also showed a higher α-D-galactosidase activity. The maximum enzyme activity was observed 72 h after hot water scarification in Cl (82.6 U/mg total protein), followed by acid scarification (54.5 U/mg total protein). In Le, the activity peak was 36 h after acid scarification (9.5 U/mg total protein). No relationship was observed between β-glucosidase activity and GP in both species. In conclusion, during early germination of both species, the increase in GP is accompanied by a rise in α-D-galactosidase activity between 36 and 72 h after seeding; and in Cl seeds, an alternative scarification treatment to increase GP may be the use of hot water.