Seeds and their structure:
The seeds are the future plants that are enclosed by a seed coat. They are formed as a part of reproduction and are observed in seed plants, gymnosperms, and angiosperms.
The term â€˜seedâ€™ refers to a substance that can be sown. They are formed by the fertilization of the ovule by the action of the pollen.
Depending on the cotyledons present in the seeds, they are referred to as monocotyledons and dicotyledons. Example- Grains, corn, and onion are monocots whereas peanuts, soybeans, cotton, and tobacco are dicots.
The testa or seed coat forms the outermost covering of the seeds, cotyledons in the case of non-endospermic seeds, and endosperms in the case of endospermic seeds serve as the food storing tissues, the radicle, and plumule that will develop to form the root system, and shoot system respectively are found in the seeds.
The seed coat when unbroken helps in water uptake and regulation. They can be hard as in the lotus seed, pigweeds, and soft like in the peanuts. Hard seeds protect them from external conditions and allow them to persist through the unfavorable conditions and germinate later. The soft seed coats allow the microbes to penetrate and also, may become injured.
From the embryonic axis, the plant can arise.
The hypocotyl and aleurone layers are other parts of the seeds.
Just like the mother feeds her baby in the womb via the placenta, the cotyledons and endosperm provide food and nourish the young plant until it can photosynthesize.
The size and shapes of the seeds very broadly. They can be very tiny to large like that of the coconut. The shapes can be round, simple, winged, hairy, or can have spikes.
The components that are majorly stored in the seeds include the major macromolecules like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and oil.
Development of seed- Pollens on the stamen on getting dispersed by various modes lands on the stigma. When conditions become favorable, the pollen tube grows and fuses with the ovule in the ovary fertilizing it and forming the seeds. Self or cross-pollination is followed by plants.
Seed systems and agriculture:
The genetic resources of the plants form the basis of food and hence are important for all living organisms directly or indirectly. These resources include a variety of seeds and plant-related materials like wild varieties, traditional varieties, modern cultivars, wild plant species, resistant varieties, and others. These are important in the form of food, as animal feed, as fibers for clothing, as energy, and for sheltering purposes.
As the plants are of great importance, this natural resource must be protected and conserved. Plants and trees have a great impact on the ecosystem, soil erosion, climate change, rain, flood, and drought.
Seeds are the most vital elements in agriculture. They are the store-house of the genetic variability and potential of plants. They are selected appropriately and undergo continuous improvements.
The seed plants are potentially beneficial to crop production and for the food requirements. The seed plants improve the economic conditions of the farmers, reduce conditions of poverty, serve as food and income.
Also, the developments of resistant varieties and adaptation varieties have increased the crop yield and are grown in various temperature conditions. Science, food technology, and genetics have contributed to the enhancement of the crop yield.
The seed systems must be sustainable to meet the demands of the farmers, and should be of high quality, and have varieties. They must be at an affordable cost and available to all farmers. Maintaining the diversity of the seed plants and preserving genetic data and traits must be carried out to have genetic diversity and several crops.
Formal seed system- It is highly organized and has a clear distinction between the seeds and grains. A sequence of activities is followed in this system from apt seed selection, breeding, and forming several varieties of plants including the hybrids. The seeds are also certified, their quality is ensured, and the varieties produced are verified.
Local/ traditional/ informal/ farmer seed system- This system is not as organized as the formal system. The farmers decide the seeds, usually pick them up from their harvest or bartend with the neighboring farmers. The activities followed are integrated. They do not have a distinction between the seeds and grains.
Though the governments of different countries maintain the genetic resource of the seeds and have varieties, and certifications, the seeds from the local markets are the ones that are majorly utilized by the farmers.
Several countries exchange their plant genetic resources and are interdependent.
The plant genetic resources obtained by the cultivation of farmers are used for cultivation, in-situ or ex-situ conservation is carried out, and the restored seeds are utilized for seed production and supply chain. The germplasm from seeds are collected and their data stored.
Trials and plant breeding experiments are carried out and the successful hybrids are introduced in the fields.
Government organizations and others are spreading awareness about food security, crop management, and conserving seeds. They provide policy assistance, conservation support, and maintain good information exchange.
The government has established plant protection acts and rights for farmers.
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