Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary The zone of endosperm breakdown in the germinated date seed (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is a narrow area immediately adjacent to the surface of the enlarging cotyledon, or haustorium. The zone width is correlated with the amount of cell division in the adjacent region of the haustorium. The sequence of endosperm breakdown is: 1. protein bodies vacuolate, 2. storage cell walls become electron-transparent immediately adjacent to the protoplast of each endosperm cell, 3. all remaining cytoplasm and lipid bodies disappear, and 4. the remaining cell walls become electron-transparent and collapse against the haustorium surface. Two cell wall hydrolases are present—endo-Βmannanase (EC188.8.131.52) and Β-mannosidase (EC184.108.40.206). Β-mannosidase is detectable in the endosperm before germination. At germination, the major portion of activity is found in the softened endosperm. Β-mannanase is only detectable from germination and there is always hundreds of fold greater activity in the softened endosperm than elsewhere. Proteinase is detectable in trace amounts at germination in the softened endosperm but is also found in the haustorium at later stages. Isolated haustoria, incubated in extracted ivory nut (Phytelephas macrocarpa) mannan in buffer, cause no mannan breakdown. Haustoria, incubated in a solution of locust bean galactomannan, cause no decrease in galactomannan viscosity. Our observations suggest that although haustoria probably regulate mannan breakdown in the endosperm, they do not seem to secrete the hydrolytic enzymes concerned.
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