Biophysical, biochemical, and genetic factors governing seed desiccation tolerance and longevity were determined in mutant soybean plants with altered accumulation of raffinose, stachyose, and phytin in seeds. The effects of these alterations on biosynthesis and accumulation of cyclitols and galactosyl cyclitols in seeds and the effect of altering seed composition on seed and seedling performance including seed desiccation tolerance, germination, vigor, and storability were determined. Changes in cyclitols, galactosyl cyclitols, raffinose and stachyose were assayed by gas chromatography analysis of seed extracts.
Genes associated with seed development, germination, vigor and dormancy, were studied by feeding various substrates to isolated immature embryos and stem-leaf-pod explants of soybean with low-raffinose and low-stachyose or low-raffinose, low-stachyose, and low-phytin. The accumulated substrates and products, including sucrose, free cyclitols, galactosyl cyclitols, raffinose, and stachyose were determined in precociously matured seeds that carried genes regulating the accumulation of cyclitols, galactosyl cyclitols, raffinose, and stachyose.
The role of specific genes in seed maturation, desiccation tolerance, and seed and seedling performance were extrapolated from the results. The results demonstrated that certain low-raffinose, low-stachyose modifications to soybean seed can be developed for improved feeding value to non-ruminant animals without loss in germination and agronomic seed performance. Thirteen undergraduate students and one graduate student were trained in research, thereby providing society ready graduates.
impact statement issue
Edible crop seeds contain soluble carbohydrates that are essential to seed maturation, tolerance to drying, seed storability, seed quality, and germplasm preservation. At the same time, these compounds provide essential nutritional and health-related benefits to both humans and animals that consume seeds as food and feed.
Understanding the genetic and biochemical mechanisms responsible for the synthesis and utilization of these components is necessary for improving the quality of seeds for farmers, the seed industry, and preservation of genetic resources, as well as for the feed industry, nutrition, and human health.
impact statement response
Genetic modification of seed components for nutritional and pharmaceutical purposes contributes to altered seed performance including germination, vigor, storability, and field performance. This project examines nutritional and health-related components in seeds that correlate with altered seed performance.
Results were disseminated by publication of a PhD thesis, an undergraduate honors thesis, published abstracts and oral presentations at international conferences, abstracts and oral presentations at the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board Spring Forum, technical reports to cooperating private sector plant breeders, and preparation of manuscripts for submission to prominent international research journals.
International patenting activities and licensing activities on health-related buckwheat fagopyritols continued with both private and public sector participants providing information of interest to buckwheat breeders and millers, to the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries, and to public and private sector individuals interested in extending this information in outreach to public sector end-users.
impact statement summary
Identify genes associated with seed development, germination, vigor, and dormancy