Effects of drying temperature on viability of macaw palm (Acrocomia aculeata) zygotic embryos
In response to a growing interest in improving seedling production of oilseed species (like macaw palm), a fruit drying protocol for facilitating seed extraction was proposed. This enabled the production of macaw palm seedlings, but the temperature most suitable for seed extraction without losing its physiological quality is unknown. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of different drying temperatures on the physiological quality of macaw palm zygotic embryos to improve previously published drying methods. Fruits were dried in a forced-air drying oven at 57 or 37°C at different time periods (zero, two, four, six and eight days). Following each drying period, the fruits were removed from the drying oven, and the water content of the fruits and seeds were measured in addition to embryo viability and in vitro germination. Seed water content could be estimated based on fruit water content at both drying temperatures, eliminating the need to remove the seeds from the fruit. Drying at 57°C decreased the drying time by 50% compared to drying at 37°C; however, it was detrimental to embryo viability and germination. Therefore, drying of fruit at 37°C is recommended. Embryos dried at this temperature were still able to germinate after 16-day drying period, which corresponded to a decrease of 24.8% in the initial fruit water content.
Key words: Arecaceae, biodiesel, dehydration, physiological quality, propagation