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Maize seedlings produced from dry seeds exposed to liquid nitrogen display altered levels of shikimate pathway compounds

  • Pereira, Rosmery1
  • Arguedas, Melissa1
  • Martínez, Julia1
  • Hernández, Lázaro1
  • Zevallos, Byron Enrique2
  • Marcos Martinez Montero1
  • Yabor, Lourdes1
  • Sershen,3
  • Lorenzo, José Carlos1
Published Article
In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Plant
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Jul 02, 2019
DOI: 10.1007/s11627-019-09995-1


In light of climate change and risks of food insecurity, it is becoming increasingly important to preserve plant germplasm in genebanks. Storage of seeds, particularly via cryopreservation, is one of the most proficient methods for ex situ plant germplasm conservation. Whilst seed cryo-banking can have little, to no, or even beneficial effects on subsequent seedling vigor in some species, it can lead to a number of plant abnormalities (morphological and physiological). This study investigated the effects of maize seed cryopreservation on seedling growth (until 14 d) and levels of selected amino acids produced in the shikimate pathway, a major link between primary and secondary metabolism. Seed cryopreservation reduced FW in recovered seedlings, reduced caffeic acid (2.5-fold decrease), and increased levels of all other shikimate pathway–related compounds assessed: phenylalanine (2.9-fold increase), tyrosine (2.6-fold increase), and shikimic (2.1-fold increase) and protocathecuic (3.1-fold increase) acids in cotyledons. Our results suggest that maize seed cryopreservation results in seedlings that exhibit signs of an ‘overly’ efficient and caffeic acid–deficient shikimate pathway, possibly related to their reduced growth during a highly vulnerable growth stage. However, these metabolic abnormalities manifested most severely in the maternal (cotyledonary), as opposed to vegetative (roots, stems, and leaves), tissues and hence are likely to disappear when the seedlings shed the cotyledons and become completely autotrophic.

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