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Title: Mathematical approaches to seed germination
Author: Hampstead, Anthony
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 9063
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2014
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Plant seeds progress through specific stages during germination, from quiescence in the dry state through water uptake, testa rupture and finally endosperm rupture. The stages of seed germination are fairly well classified but the underlying biochemical and mechanical processes are unknown. The ability to control a seeds progression through the stages of germination has implications on farming efficiency and so the following thesis explores Arabidopsis thaliana and Lepidium sativum seeds during the germination process. A systematic approach to analysing the shape of cells within the radicle (embryonic root tissue) is developed, using confocal imaging, in order to characterise the shape of cells in the different tissues of the radicle. The cell shape approximations are not refined enough to characterise the different cell tissues. With more data, this approach would hope to find the region in which cells alter through the germination process. Change in the activity of cell wall modifying enzymes within the endosperm, that surrounds the emerging embryo, is a key part of the germination process and temporally and spatially defined high resolution transcriptomics data-sets are available to inform models. Through the course of this thesis, biochemical networks are developed, with ordinary and partial differential equation models being constructed and analysed. The models highlight elements for further investigation as well as differences between the two species considered. The mathematical models, along with data from biomechanical experiments on the endosperm, inform discussion on how the cell wall biochemistry of a cell wall alters the cell wall properties. These discussions focus on cell wall permeability, extensibility and the final cell separation event associated with germination. From the considered proteins, polygalacturonase and pectin lyase arise as the only viable candidates to cause the cell separation event with the model framework.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QK640 Plant anatomy ; QK710 Plant physiology