This work aimed to characterize the re-induction of desiccation tolerance (DT) in germinated seeds, using polyethylene glycol (PEG 8000). Cell changes were investigated through cytological assays (cell viability and transmission electronic microscopy) as well as DNA integrity during loss and re-establishment of DT. The loss of DT was characterized by drying germinated seeds with different radicle lengths (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 mm) in silica gel, decreasing the moisture content to ten percentage points intervals, followed by pre-humidification (100% RH / 24 h) and rehydration. To re-induce DT, germinated seeds were treated for 72 h with PEG (-2.04 MPa) and PEG (-2.04 MPa) + ABA (100 µM) before dehydration. Germinated seeds did not tolerate desiccation to 10% moisture content, irrespectively of the radicle length. However, when incubated in PEG, those with 1 and 2 mm long radicle attained 71% and 29% survival, respectively. The PEG+ABA treatment was efficient to re-establish DT in seeds with 1 mm long radicles (100% survival). The ultrastructural assays of the cells of germinated seeds with 2 and 5 mm length confirmed the obtained physiological results. Germinated seeds of C. fissilis constitute a useful tool for desiccation tolerance investigations.
cytological alterations; DNA integrity; seedlings; moisture content