Seed composition and reserve mobilization were investigated in wild poinsettia (Euphorbia heterophylla L.). Lipids, around 60% of seed dry mass, are the major reserve. Proteins, including albumins (49%), salt insoluble globulins (30%), salt-soluble globulins (21%) and prolamins (0.3%), comprise about a quarter of seed dry mass. Soluble sugars comprise about 3.6% of seed dry mass, sucrose being the predominant sugar. Starch was not detected in the endosperm of E. heterophylla. Lipid depletion starts after initial imbibition, and is completed between 72 and 96 hours. Protein fractions exhibit different degradation patterns, salt-soluble globulins being continuously degraded after the start of imbibition whereas salt insoluble fractions are degraded between 36 and 72 hours, and albumins between 60 and 84 hours. Globulin depletion is accompanied by an increase in free amino acids in the endosperm whereas intense albumin depletion is not. This result suggests that during albumin depletion there is a rapid transfer of amino acids to the growing embryo. Histochemical studies indicated that light accelerates protein degradation in the micropylar area of the seed. Soluble sugars increase in the embryo with no concomitant decrease in the endosperm, suggesting that sugars are mostly originated from the catabolism of lipids.
weed; wild poinsettia; Euphorbiaceae; proteins; lipids; carbohydrates