Priming-induced metabolic changes in sunflower (Helianthus annuus) achenes improve germination and seedling growth

Abdul Wahid*, Asma Noreen, Shahzad M.A. Basra, Sadia Gelani, M. Farooq

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Seed priming improves vigor, but priming agents may differ greatly in their effectiveness. The present study was performed to unravel the physiological basis of vigor improvement by priming sunflower achenes with pre-optimized levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), salicylic acid (SA), thiourea (TU), gibberellic acid (GA3), ascorbic acid (AA), sodium chloride (NaCl), freezing and heating. Most of the treatments induced de novo synthesis of peptides with low (37 kDa for H2O2, SA and NaCl treatments, and 57 kDa for SA and TU treatments) and high (157 kDa for H2O2, SA, TU, GA3 and AA treatments and 167 kDa for SA treatment) molecular mass, reduced solute leakage, and an enhanced soluble sugar pool in the achenes. Priming reduced days to 50% germination (T50) and mean germination time (MGT) and improved germination energy (GE) and final germination percentage (FGP). Shoot length was improved by priming with H2O2, GA3, and NaCl; root length with NaCl and H2O2; shoot and root dry weight with H 2O2, SA and AA. Positive correlations between GE and FGP and expressed peptides, soluble sugars, shoot and root length, and dry weight and negative ones with EC of leachate suggested that pre-germination changes in primed achenes, in addition to improve germination, show lasting effects in promoting seedling growth. Of the treatments, H2O2, SA, TU and GA3 were the most effective. Overall, the effects of priming treatments are related to de novo protein synthesis, an improved repair mechanism, and germination substrates for vigorous and earlier production of seedlings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-350
Number of pages8
JournalBotanical Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008


  • Leachate
  • Protein synthesis
  • Seedling vigor
  • Signaling
  • Sunflower

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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