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Brazilian Journal of Biology

versão impressa ISSN 1519-6984versão On-line ISSN 1678-4375


GARCIA, I. S. et al. Changes in soluble carbohydrates during storage of Caesalpinia echinata LAM. (Brazilwood) seeds, an endangered leguminous tree from the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Braz. J. Biol. [online]. 2006, vol.66, n.2b, pp.739-745. ISSN 1519-6984.

Caesalpinia echinata seeds stored in laboratory environmental conditions lose their viability in one month whilst under low temperatures germination is maintained for 18 months of storage. These seeds are tolerant to desiccation, keeping their viability up to 0.08 gH2O.gDW-1. Since soluble carbohydrates are believed to be involved with desiccation tolerance and seed storability, the aim of this work is to analyze the content and composition of soluble carbohydrates in C. echinata seeds during storage in paper bags (PB) and glass flasks (GF) at laboratory room (RT) and cool (CT) temperatures. In freshly harvested seeds, total soluble carbohydrates comprised approximately 10% of the dry weight, decreasing to ca. 8% over 18 months of storage at RT. In seeds stored at CT, sugars varied differently decreasing initially and being restored at the end of the analysis period. The main neutral sugars in seeds from all treatments were sucrose, fructose and glucose. Raffinose and stachyose were present as traces. Free myo-inositol and other cyclitols were also detected. The main tendency observed was the variation in levels of both glucose and fructose in relation to sucrose, the highest levels of monosaccharides which were found in seeds stored at CT. The values of glucose and fructose were practically constant in seeds stored in paper bags for 18 months at CT, decreasing consistently in the other treatments, mainly at RT. Sucrose contents remained relatively stable. Changes in soluble sugars during storage suggest that the loss of germinability of seeds of C. echinata could be associated with low levels of glucose and fructose in relation to sucrose.

Palavras-chave : seed longevity; desiccation tolerance; pernambuco; soluble sugars; cyclitols.

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