Respiratory activity in wheat seeds as related to physiological quality


  • Juliana Dode Centro de Referência em Saúde do Trabalhado
  • Andreia da Silva Almeida Universidade Federal de Pelotas
  • Cristiane Deuner Universidade Federal de Pelotas
  • Carolina Terra Borges Universidade Federal de Pelotas
  • Géri Eduardo Meneghello Universidade Federal de Pelotas
  • Francisco Amaral Villela Universidade Federal de Pelotas
  • Dario Munt de Moraes Instituto de Biologia, Pelotas



Seeds are a very important input for crops, and the use of low quality seeds and/or inadequate management affects the germination and hampers seedling emergence, which reduces the plant stand. There is a critical need for the development of rapid methods, which are both reliable and easy to perform, for evaluating the physiological potential of seeds. This would streamline the decision-making process regarding the management of lots and allow for the identification of seed lots of inadequate quality in the seed processing unit, which could then be discarded, and would consequently result in reduced costs associated with unnecessary processing. However, it is important that these methods are low cost and quick to perform. The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation of respiratory activity of wheat seed, through Pettenkofer test, with tests that evaluate seeds physiological quality. We selected a seed lot of high physiological quality, then subjected the seeds to adverse temperature and relative humidity conditions to obtain different vigor levels. The adverse conditions used were 42ºC and 100% relative humidity, for periods of 6, 36, 66 and 96 hours. This process obtained seeds of five vigor levels which were subjected to the following tests: germination, field emergence, electrical conductivity, shoot and root length, total dry mass and respiratory activity. The results showed a negative correlation between respiratory activity and germination, emergence, shoot and root length and dry weight, whereas germination and emergence were strongly correlated with respiratory activity, r = -0.86 and r = -0.81, respectively. There was a significant positive correlation between conductivity and respiratory activity. Therefore, the respiratory activity test using the Pettenkofer method was correlated with other vigor tests, and allowed the classification of wheat seeds into lots of different levels of quality.


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How to Cite

DODE, J., ALMEIDA, A. da S., DEUNER, C., BORGES, C.T., MENEGHELLO, G.E., VILLELA, F.A. and MORAES, D.M. de, 2016. Respiratory activity in wheat seeds as related to physiological quality . Bioscience Journal [online], vol. 32, no. 5, pp. 1246–1253. [Accessed8 December 2022]. DOI 10.14393/BJ-v32n5a2016-33001. Available from:



Agricultural Sciences