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Reevaluation of the Cyanide Resistance of Seed Germination

By Kenneth S. Yu, Cary A. Mitchell and Henry A. Robitaille


Although high levels of KCN (53 micromoles per gram fresh weight of seed, corresponding to 3.2 millimolar) failed to block germination of lettuce seeds incubated in covered Petri dishes, the same levels totally blocked germination in sealed dishes. Inhibition was reversed by removing the seal. Placement of KCN remote from seeds also blocked germination in closed systems. Cyanide effectiveness was enhanced by acidifying the KCN solution but negated by the presence of a trap containing strong alkali. Low levels of aqueous HCN (2.6 micromoles HCN per gram, corresponding to 0.16 millimolar) injected into sealed dishes gave maximal inhibition of germination, suggesting that the effectiveness of KCN was due to formation of HCN in KCN solutions. Studies with nine additional crop species generally supported the interpretation that cyanide inhibition of germination has been underestimated in the past due to escape of volatile HCN from open systems

Topics: Short Communications
Year: 1981
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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