Seed quality is vital to sustainable crop production and food security. Seed enhancements include physical, physiological and biological treatments to overcome germination constraints by uniform stands, earlier crop development and better yields. Improved germination rates and seedling vigour are due to reduced emergence time by earlier start of metabolic activities of hydrolytic enzymes and resource mobilization. Nutrient homeostasis, ion uptake, hormonal regulation, activation of antioxidant defence system, reduced lipid peroxidation and accumulation of compatible solutes are some mechanisms conferring biotic and abiotic stress tolerance. Several transcription factors for aquaporins, imbibitions, osmotic adjustment, antioxidant defence and phenylpropanoid pathway have been identified. However, the knowledge of molecular pathways elucidating mode of action of these effects, reduced longevity of primed or other physical and biological agents for seed treatments and market availability of high-quality seeds are some of the challenges for scientists and seed industry. In this scenario, there is need to minimize the factors associated with reduced vigour during seed production, improve seed storage and handling, develop high-tech seeds by seed industry at appropriate rates and integrate agronomic, physiological and molecular seed research for the effective regulation of high-quality seed delivery over next generations.
Part of the book: New Challenges in Seed Biology