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Background: The germination ecology of P. guajava seeds collected in two regions of Brazil was investigated aiming to (1) characterize the seed batches; (2) determine the best temperature for germination; and (3) assess variations in seed desiccation tolerance (DT). For each batch, we determined seed water content and initial germination. To evaluate temperature effects, we tested seed germination. After, we generated the imbibition curves for the two provenance. To evaluate the loss of DT, the seeds were left to germinate along different time intervals. We monitored water loss by regularly weighing the seeds until achieving stabilization, keeping them under these conditions for 72 hours. After drying, the seeds were pre-hydrated and submitted to the germination test. Results: We identified variations in physiological characteristics between the seeds from north and southeast batches. At the temperature extremes, the seeds from both provenance failed to germinate. The highest germination percentages were observed at 20 and 25 °C (constant) and between 20-30 °C (alternating) for the two batches and, for the southeast batch specifically, at 30 °C. The imbibition curve displayed a triphasic pattern with a rapid increase in seed fresh weight in the first 48 hours.
Conclusion: The southeast provenance seeds lost DT abruptly, until its complete loss after radicle protrusion, which occurred in both batches. The highest values of germination speed index (GSI) of both provenance were observed after a 9-day imbibition period, suggesting seed hydration memory. Drying resulted in necrosis of the root tissue and death of the seeds with visible roots.
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