Imbibition of water into dry maize seed occurs within a few hours after exposure, initiating cellular activity, initially in the mitochondria. Examination of mitochondria structure using electron microscopy show poor developed membrane structures in the dry seed. Mitochondria in dry seed have very low amount of oxygen uptake and low activation of enzymes. These characters change with imbibition.
Following 24 hours of imbibition, the mitochondrial membranes show more normal structures. Among the mitochondria, however, there are some that appear to not recover normal structures and function. It is easy to conjecture that these not recovering were either inadequately formed or were damaged during drying process. This may be related to either the nuclear genetics or mitochondrial genetics of the seed parent. Enzymes needed for membrane synthesis in the mitochondria is synthesized in ribosomes and thus dependent upon nuclear DNA and thus indicative of the significance of both hybrid parent genetics, but the mitochondrial DNA is only from the female parent.
These numerous organelles in each cell activated after imbibition become drivers of cell elongation to push the first root tissue to emerge from the seed. More info on this initial activity can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC64868/
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About Corn Journal
The purpose of this blog is to share perspectives of the biology of corn, its seed and diseases in a mix of technical and not so technical terms with all who are interested in this major crop. With more technical references to any of the topics easily available on the web with a search of key words, the blog will rarely cite references but will attempt to be accurate. Comments are welcome but will be screened before publishing. Comments and questions directed to the author by emails are encouraged.