Germination, wettability, and imbibition of dormant seeds of Desmanthus virgatus after low-pressure plasma treatment




The use of an alternative technique to increase the germination of an legume species used in animal feed was investigated based on the effects of low-pressure plasma on the wettability, imbibition, and germination of seeds of Desmanthus virgatus. A conventional nitriding reactor with an argon atmosphere (Ar) and controlled temperature at 30º C was used to apply three different exposure times: 1, 3, and 5 minutes, with a set of intact seeds considered as the control. The experimental design was completely randomized, and the means were compared by the Tukey test at 5% probability to analyze the different experimental conditions tested. The statistical analyses were performed with the software Origin 8.0. The apparent contact angle indicated an increase in the wettable surface with the treatment time, verifying the hydrophilic character of the plasma on the seed. Seeds treated for 3 and 5 minutes showed higher germination than the 1-minute treatment and untreated seeds. In the imbibition test, the leached solution showed lower conductivity in the treated samples than in the untreated sample, indicating less nutrient loss to the solution. The pH remained within the neutral range among the treated samples. The superficial changes in the seeds caused significant gains in the germination parameters, promoting improvement in the indices and rate of germination and contributing to the uniformity of the seed lot with the use of low-pressure plasma as a tool for breaking dormancy.


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