Phytate related response of maize seed to phosphorus and temperature.
Asanzi, Nafabuanga Mireille.
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The aim of the study was to determine the effect of day/night temperatures (22/l6°C, 2712l oC and 33/27°C) and phosphorus levels (0, 0.12 and 1.2g per 20 kg soil) on seedling establishment and seed viability during three stages of seed development (15, 22 and 33 days after flowering) for seed of normal and quality protein maize cultivars. Soluble carbohydrate accumulation and mineral element content were determined using environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) in relation to seed phytate levels and seed germination capacity at different stages of development. Leaf emergence rate and plant height during seed development were significantly (P < 0.05) influenced by temperature and phosphorus nutrition. Phosphorus in seed is stored primarily in the form of phytic acid, also known as phytate. Accumulation of phytate takes place during maturation phase of seed development. Phosphorus nutrition and temperature also caused a.significant (P < 0.05) increase in seed germination at all stages of seed development. Furthermore, phosphorus nutrition and temperature influenced occurrence of soluble carbohydrates in seeds. Myo-inositol, the sugar alcohol that forms the basic structure of phytate, was increased by P nutrition and increasing growth temperature. Whereas, QPM maize was generally found to perform poorly than normal maize, with respect to phytate content, seed germination and seedling establishment, both cultivars displayed the same responses to phosphorus nutrition and temperature. In both cultivars, globoids, the sites of phytate synthesis and storage, were found only in the embryonic axis. Subsequently, there were significantly low levels of mineral elements (P, Mg and K) found in the endosperm, compared with embryonic axis. This finding suggested that the embryonic axis plays a major role in seed performance, through its effects emanating from phyate metabolism. Myo-inositol plays a role in membrane biogenesis during stress conditions such as temperature by maintaining the integrity of the cell wall and minimizes the leaching of cations essential during germination. Myo-inositol, although it occurs in small concentrations, could be used to indicate seed quality in maize, because its accumulation was found to be associated with enhanced phyate levels and better seed germination in a wide range of temperatures. Low vigour seeds are associated with high electrolyte leakage during imbibition. Mineral elements form a significant portion of the imbibition leachate, which causes seeds to lose nutrients for early seedling growth. This study provided evidence that phosphorus nutrition can alleviate poor seed vigour of maize by improving phytate levels.