Subjecting seeds to elevated oxygen concentrations may provide a novel method for studying ageing processes. Groot et al. test this hypothesis by storing dry seed of barley (Hordeum vulgare), cabbage (Brassica oleracea), lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and soybean (Glycine max) at 20 °C under 18 MPa partial pressure of oxygen for 2–7 weeks and comparing them with seeds stored under normal warehouse conditions. They find that ageing of seeds is accelerated under high-pressure oxygen, with morphological ageing symptoms resembling those observed after ageing under long-term dry storage conditions. Primed seeds are more sensitive to this hyperbaric storage and show a typical arrest of root meristem growth as would be seen with naturally aged primed seeds. The method provides an addition or alternative to currently used ageing treatments at high humidity and temperature.
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