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An experiment... don't throw out your old tomatoes ;)

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An experiment... don't throw out your old tomatoes ;)

Post by Admin on 2nd February 2010, 23:49

I was recently sent a batch of seeds from the U.S. There are some interesting seeds amongst them but they are mainly for playing/experimenting with (while our own seeds are still maturing). So I had a small bag of 100 OP 'Westerland' seeds and I decided I wanted to experiment a little with them. The idea behind it was to see if the outer layer of the rose seed could be digested and remove the need to cold stratify the seeds... greatly reducing the time needed to bring about successive generations...

So I outlined my thought processes on RHA tonight and the following is a transcript of what followed:

Here is my collection of rather random thoughts...

I was reading about the production of biofuels from the fermentation of grasses etc and found that in the production processes the material must first be pretreated and this was traditionally acheived by using acids to break the cellulose and lignin (they called it lignocellulose) down into their monomers subunits before subjecting it to microbial fermentation to produce ethanol. There are also some bacteria and fungi that have been found that will also do the same thing and that these were preferential to using acidic hydrolysis because they didn't produce fermentation inhibitors that needed to be removed making the process less profitable. When pretreatment had been completed the remaining biomass was fermented by both bacterial and fungal processes in much the same way as it occurs in ruminants like cows and sheep and these sugar monomers were metabolised to prodcue ethanol as a byproduct. The inside of a tomato provides an acidic environment and has resident microbes which I was thinking is how the tomato pretreats its seeds to begin the decomposition of the gelatinous placental tissue surrounding the tomato seed. Interestingly I also found that this gelatinous placental tissue in tomatoes is also very acidic... I assume to protect the seed from contamination. Then I found this abstract ( which said that tomato pulp was fermented using Aspergillis niger for the purpose of enzyme production and during production cellulases, pectinases, and lipases were produced. Then I remembered that to save tomato seeds from your own fruit you needed to ferment them to break down the gelatinous placental tissue that surrounds them because it contains germination inhibitors (this gives a nice run-down of the process [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] In their natural habitat, wild tomatoes produce fruit that will fall to the ground if not eaten and the fruit will ferment and decompose leaving behind seeds that have been chemically and microbially scarified and ready to germinate. Similarly if eaten seeds are able to pass through the digestive systems of most animals being expelled sans the gelatinous coating containing the germination inhibitors (as all the cherry tomato plants that pop up around here bare testimony too LOL). Then Larry said that old tomatoes produce pectinases which reminded me of the above... The tomato seeds that came out the other end of the 2 week process looked VERY much 'over processed'... where as the rose seeds came out with the outer coating (which looks waxy in a lot of cases), stripped off. By replenishing the metaboliseable material the process continued for the whole 2 week period whereas sources suggest that otherwise it would stop after 4-5 days.

So the hypotheses I kind of roughly came to were that by mixing the rose seeds in with the tomato pulp and encouraging microbial action followed by fermentation I could encourage the microbes to digest the coating of the rose achenes if I could keep the process going by providing fresh tomato pulp every 4 or 5 days. My next hypothesis I wanted to test was that without this out coating the germination inhibitors could be leached out more effectively and quickly that might remove the need for cold stratification. I was also assuming that the gelatinous placental material was very acidic to protect the seeds from contamination from detrimental microbes and the rose achenes would benefit by association and that by providing fresh material the benefit could be extended to reduce the chances of losing rose seeds to contamination as the thickness of the achene was reduced and the first line defence of the achene were breached. What I noticed was that the mixture remained very clean despite being put outside in warm shady place with a muslin cloth over the container. Fungi did grow that resembled penicillium fungi growth that one would see on old orange skins but it looked to be pretty much a monoculture. This formed a skin over the top of the pulp. It gave off a pretty strong odour but didn't show signs of conventional spoiling.

So yeah... that's my kind of random thought processes that resulted in me chucking a bunch of rose seeds into mashed up tomato LOL

What was even more interesting was the photos:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

The seed on the left was part of the control group that was untreated. The seed on the right was put into the tomato pulp for 2 weeks. It looks as though the outer layer of the achene has been stripped off and the next step is to see if it will now germinate without cold stratification.

Here's a close-up of the seed:

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

I am also wondering whether leaving the seed in there for longer will cause the two halves of the achene to fall apart to release the embryo for a less invassive method of extracting the embryo for culture. Among the other seeds I was sent was a bag of 40 OP 'Baby Love' seeds. I cracked all of these open and have started to try and embryo culture 14 viable embryos. I received the seeds about 3 weeks ago and the embryos were extracted yesterday... and with any luck, if contamination can be avoided, I will have 'Baby Love' seedlings within the week Smile


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Re: An experiment... don't throw out your old tomatoes ;)

Post by Ozeboy on 3rd February 2010, 09:13

Very interesting, will be very anxious to hear more.


Number of posts : 1671
Location : Glenorie, Sydney NSW
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Re: An experiment... don't throw out your old tomatoes ;)

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 11th September 2011, 14:22

Simon, what consistancy of pulp did you use for youe experiment.
On the other hand I have just collected a 2Lt container of 'chook' poo and added 2Lt of rain water to make a slurry, I am goimg to plonk some hips in as is and some seed fro the same unpruned rose to see what happens, I guess about 2 weeks like the Tomato exp.
The Lazy Rosarian

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Age : 64
Location : Mudgee, NSW, Australia
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Re: An experiment... don't throw out your old tomatoes ;)

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