Soon after exposed to moist soil, water moves through the corn kernel pericarp and thin layer of seed coat cells. It is purely a physical phenomenon of water moving from a higher concentration towards a lower concentration. Hydration of organelles in the cells of the scutellum results in activation of enzymes to digest the stored carbohydrates in the scutellum and endosperm and movement to the cells in embryo growing points. Mitochondria are activated with the increased moisture, their membranes beginning the process of releasing the energy in glucose molecules into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the molecule that drives the production of enzymes needed for the construction of structure of new and expanded cells. Water continues to participate in the metabolism, including the release of the energy from ATP. The released energy was holding one of the phosphate molecules to the triphosphate portion of the ATP molecule during construction of a complex compound. As this bonding energy is released, leaving behind adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Cellular respiration in mitochondria uses energy from glucose molecules to add a phosphate molecule back to ADP to form new ATP, allowing continual growth of the embryo.
Appropriate portions of DNA are ‘read’, forming RNA that is moved from the nucleus to ribosomes within cell cytoplasm. The nucleic acid codes are translated into hooking appropriate amino acids into long strings, producing specific proteins used as enzymes for other metabolic activity or construction of cell products.
Corn seed becomes a dynamic place when the water moves in.
Visit us at the ASTA in Chicago, Dec 9-12 (booth G207)
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.