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Acta Botanica Brasilica

Print version ISSN 0102-3306On-line version ISSN 1677-941X


AMARAL, Lourdes I. V. do; PEREIRA, Maria de Fátima D. A.  and  CORTELAZZO, Ângelo L.. Formation of reserve substances during the development of annatto, Bixa orellana L. - Bixaceae, seeds. Acta bot. bras. [online]. 2001, vol.15, n.1, pp.125-132. ISSN 1677-941X.

Annatto seeds do not germinate during early stages of their development because of insufficient reserve substances. In situ analysis showed that the principal reserves are proteins and starch, deposited in endosperm cells. During the early stages of development, the starch grains were elliptic, because amylose was the minor component. During development, these grains became more spherical due to an increase in amylose relative to amylopectin. Endosperm cells do not contain protein bodies, but they accumulate proteins dispersed in the cytoplasm. At the final stage of development the proteins became compacted due to the dehydration of the seeds wich is part of the global process of orthodox seeds maturation. Natural fluorescence revealed aromatic amino acids, principally tryptophan and tyrosine in the proteins. The seeds reached their maximum dry weight after moisture contents had declined to around 60%. At this point the seeds presented maximum germination capacity.

Keywords : protein; starch; annatto; seeds; maturation; Bixa.

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