Biologia Plantarum

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 777–781 | Cite as

Pepper seed germination assessed by combined X-radiography and computer-aided imaging analysis

  • A. Dell’Aquila
Brief Communication


A lot of pepper seeds having 87 % germination were subjected to X-ray inspection using a non lethal dose of radiation. Seeds with less than 2.7 % (on the basis of total seed area) of free space area, i.e. the spaces between embryo and endosperm, were classified as highly viable seeds (97–100 % germination) with the lowest level of abnormal seedlings. Seeds X-ray classified as good were subjected to a computerised image analysis to study seed imbibition and radicle elongation. The patterns of seed area increase, chosen as the most accurate indicator of seed swelling, resembled the triphasic curve of water uptake. The first phase was completed at 9 h followed by a second phase that varied widely in time until completion of germination between 52 and 96 h. The proportion of seeds with radicle protrusion between 52–56 h and 64–72 h assessed with the image analysis was significantly higher than that recorded using a conventional germination test. In addition, the rate of increase of seed area during the third phase of imbibition, mostly due to protrusion of the radicle tip and its growth, was highly correlated with the corresponding radicle elongation rate.

Additional key words

Capsicum annuuminternal seed morphology seed swelling 



tagged image file format




mean germination time


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Copyright information

© Institute of Experimental Botany, ASCR 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plant GeneticsCNRBariItaly

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