New Forests

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 281–291 | Cite as

Petroleum flotation technique upgrades the germinability of Casuarina equisetifolia seed lots

  • V. Sivakumar
  • R. Anandalakshmi
  • R. R. Warrier
  • B. G. Singh
  • Mulualem Tigabu
  • P. C. Odén
Original Paper


The germination of Casuarina equisetifolia Forst seed lots is low (40–50%) even when freshly collected. This study aimed at upgrading the germination performance by removing non-germinable seeds using petroleum flotation technique. Seeds collected from 19 individual trees in seedling seed orchards in India were assessed using X-ray to determine the proportion of different seed lot fractions. The feasibility of petroleum ether as a separation medium was tested. Morphological characters of floating and sunken seeds were further studied using image analysis technique to examine their effects on the separation efficiency. The X-ray analysis revealed a large quantity of shrivelled, empty and insect-damaged seeds, altogether accounting 50%, which were the causes of low percentage germination of un-graded seed lots (48%). Petroleum flotation resulted in 90% germination in the sunken fraction and 4% in the floating fraction. The separation was distinct for most seed lots, except few seed lots that had relatively low germination in the sunken fractions and more than 10% germination in the floating fractions. As a whole, petroleum flotation appears to be a feasible technique to upgrade the germination of C. equisetifolia seed lots, and its efficacy is influenced by wing surface area, seed density and wing quotient of filled and empty seeds.


Empty seeds Filled seeds Specific density Seed lot enhancement 



Authors are grateful to Mr. B. Nagarajan and Mr. A. Nicodemus for reading the draft manuscript and providing valuable suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Sivakumar
    • 1
  • R. Anandalakshmi
    • 1
  • R. R. Warrier
    • 1
  • B. G. Singh
    • 1
  • Mulualem Tigabu
    • 2
  • P. C. Odén
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Seed Technology, Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree BreedingIndian Council of Forestry Research and EducationCoimbatoreIndia
  2. 2.Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology, Seed Laboratory and Tropical Silviculture GroupSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUmeaSweden

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