Computer-Assisted recovery of threatened plants: Keys for breaking seed dormancy of Eryngium viviparum

Ayuso, M., Ramil-Rego, P., Landin, M., Gallego, P.P., Barreal, M.E. (2017). Computer-Assisted Recovery of Threatened Plants: Keys for Breaking Seed Dormancy of Eryngium viviparum. Frontiers in Plant Science, 12: 2092. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2017.02092.

Abstract: Many endangered plants such as Eryngium viviparum (Apiaceae) present a poor germination rate. This fact could be due to intrinsic and extrinsic seed variability influencing germination and dormancy of seeds. The objective of this study is to better understand the physiological mechanism of seed latency and, through artificial intelligence models, to determine the factors that stimulate germination rates of E. viviparum seeds. This description could be essential to prevent the disappearance of endangered plants. Germination in vitro was carried out under different dormancy breaking and incubation procedures. Percentages of germination, viability and E:S ratio were calculated and seeds were dissected at the end of each assay to describe embryo development. The database obtained was modeled using neurofuzzy logic technology. We have found that the most of Eryngium seeds (62.6%) were non-viable seeds (fully empty or without embryos). Excluding those, we have established the germination conditions to break seed dormancy that allow obtaining a real germination rate of 100%. Advantageously, the best conditions pointed out by neurofuzzy logic model for embryo growth were the combination of 1 mg L−1 GA3 (Gibberellic Acid) and high incubation temperature and for germination the combination of long incubation and short warm stratification periods. Our results suggest that E. viviparum seeds present morphophysiological dormancy, which reduce the rate of germination. The knowledge provided by the neurofuzzy logic model makes possible not just break the physiological component of dormancy, but stimulate the embryo development increasing the rate of germination. Undoubtedly, the strategy developed in this work can be useful to recover other endangered plants by improving their germination rate and uniformity favoring their ex vitro conservation.

Keywords: Apiaceae, artificial intelligence, conservation, germination, dormancy, endemic plant, embryo seed ratio, underdeveloped embryo
Computer-Assisted recovery of threatened plants: Keys for breaking seed dormancy of Eryngium viviparum