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Dormancy and Seed Germination: M.Sc Thesis

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Studies on dormancy and seed germination of four different plant species of the family leguminosae which includes, Centrosama pubescens, Sesbania sesban. Sesbania rostrata and Clitoria ternatea were carried out. This involves the use of dormancy-releasing methods like the use of the chemicals; Sulphuric Acid (H2 SO4 ), Hydrogen Peroxide (H2 O2), Ethanol (C2 H5 OH), Methanol (CH3 OH), and Potassium nitrate (KNO3), Hot water treatment, and hormones like Gibberellins and Kinetin. The preliminary germination test on intact seeds in hot water for two minutes before germination for Centrosena pubescens and Sesbania sesban and fifteen minutes for Clitoria ternatea and Sesbania rostrata recorded the highest percentage of germination when compared to the control. Treatment of intact seeds with chemicals especially sulphuric acid and hydrogen peroxide were more efficient in breaking seed dormancy while the use of kinetin as a hormone has an edge over gibberellins in the breaking of seed dormancy. The presence of cuticle, macrosclereids, and osteosclereids which are impermeable to water and gas immensely contributed to the high level of dormancy in the seeds as seen in the research. The information gathered in this research will go a long way in eradicating or tackling the problems of dormancy or improving the propagative methods of most forest plants. All these will help the foresters to have access to producing the seedlings to meet the population demands.

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In plants, seed germination must occur in the right place and at the right time, for this reason, most species have mechanisms that delay germination, such as seed dormancy (Fenner and Thompson, 2005). The definitions of dormancy in seeds have been a source of controversy (Fenner and Thompson, 2005; Finch-Savage and Leubner-Metzger, 2006). The definition of dormancy that has been proposed recently is that dormancy is an innate seed property determined by genetics that defines the environmental conditions in which the seed can germinate (Finch-Savage and Leubner-Metzger, 2006). Five classes of seed dormancy are recognized, and one of them is physical dormancy (Baskin and Baskin, 2004), which is caused by the seed coat that prevents imbibition of water (Morrison et al., 1998;  Smith et al., 2002).

Physical dormancy refers to seeds that are water-impermeable and is known to occur in 17 families of angiosperms, including the Fabaceae (Baskin and Baskin, 2000; Funes and Venier, 2006).