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The P&PDL Picture of the Week
for 3 March 2003

Tomato Seeds Jumping the Gun

Rosie Lerner, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University

Although not very common, we occasionally get calls regarding tomato fruits that have sprouted seeds inside. The "normal" balance of plant growth regulators (PGR) inside the fruit should inhibit germination until the seeds have been harvested from the pulp. Certain genetic mutations might be lacking in this PGR, or, environmental conditions might interfere with the plant's ability to produce the PGR.

In tomatoes, cool temperatures coupled with low light conditions is thought to inhibit that particular PGR, thus allowing the seeds to germinate inside the moist, warm environment of the tomato fruit. This particular store-bought tomato specimen appears to have had some chilling injury, evident by the water-soaked appearance of the flesh.

Click on the small image to view a larger image.

Sprouting tomato seeds

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Last updated: 3 March 2003/amd
The Plant & Pest Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University