seed germination inside tomato fruit

reginald_25(5)October 6, 2006

Hi,

I heard of this before but have not seen it. Neighbor told me today that she bought some tomatoes a few days back and upon slicing them open, some of their seeds had started to germinate.

I would like to know why this happens. My presumption here is that this type germination would not be conducive to survival assuming that the seedlings' sources of nutrients would be more-or-less consumed before it would have become established in ground. And so there must be a bio mechanism (gel ?) that inhibits germination until such inhibitions have been removed. And thus this protection from pre-mature germination was somehow circumvented.

Reg

ps: she implored me for some ripe ones for BLT's her family had planned, request of which I fully complied

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dangsr2

Hi right back at you, I just read your thoughts on seed in a tomato and thought I would tell you what I did, my wife sliced one and comented about the seed looking like they were sprouting, so that didnt keep ue from enjoying them, but there was one slice left, I took it out put it in a pot covered about half inch of soil, watered good. Well about 3 days I had 11plants and next day another 14. They will sure sprout while in the slice. Thought you would like to know.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 8:04PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

It's fairly common to find germinated seeds inside store tomatoes and it's b'c they've been held at cool temps for a very long time.

The gold/red bicolors are also prone to germionating seeds inside the flesh.

Yes, there is a germonation inhibitor in the gel sac around each seed but its purpose is in the natural life cycle of the tomato. Meaning, when fruits fall to the ground in the Fall that inhibitor prevents the seeds from germinating but come Spring when conditions are more favorable we see those germinated seeds as volunteers. Only a small percentage of those overwintered seeds end up as volunteers/

Carolyn

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 8:40PM
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reginald_25(5)

It's fairly common to find germinated seeds inside store tomatoes and it's b'c they've been held at cool temps for a very long time...

Yes these were "supermarket" toms (what a shame, I had so many good and vine-ripe ones when they bought these a day or two ago).

OK, now above statement still begs question as to why holding at cool temps (for extended time periods, and granted under rather fully hydrated conditions) promotes tomato seed germination.

And furthermore may I assume that your premise was that the fruits were harvested in a rather unripened state and kept preserved by cooling and that is what promoted this as opposed to having greenies (that do not exhibit this) left on vine in cool weather but vine-ripened at some later point (albeit, mayhaps this same thing occurs with green-on-vine ones but is not noticed because they are generally just discarded, and/or, in any case, were not purchased)?

Even so, just makes empirical remark, does not advance a reason, but that is OK with me.

Reg

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 9:29PM
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gardenboy85

I've also noticed seeds in early germination while in fruit - also storebought, although I try and limit that to only during the winter. Unfortunately, Reg, trying to decipher your last post requires way too much thought for me. So I'll just leave it at that. Good night, and good luck :)

GB85

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 10:43PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

(OK, now above statement still begs question as to why holding at cool temps (for extended time periods, and granted under rather fully hydrated conditions) promotes tomato seed germination. )

You just answered your own questions Reg. Cool storage conditions for a long time mimic the conditions found in the Spring that allow for germination of seeds. And yes, the hydration part is important.

(And furthermore may I assume that your premise was that the fruits were harvested in a rather unripened state and kept preserved by cooling and that is what promoted this as opposed to having greenies (that do not exhibit this) left on vine in cool weather but vine-ripened at some later point (albeit, mayhaps this same thing occurs with green-on-vine ones but is not noticed because they are generally just discarded, and/or, in any case, were not purchased)?)

The assumption is that the fruits were harvested at the breaker 2 or 3 stage where there is a blush on the fruits and then ripened as most store tomatoes are, that is by gassing with ethylene gas to ripen them.

The seeds in an unripened tomato, as in what you refer to as greenies, are not mature enough to germinate.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 1:32AM
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thisbud4u(San Diego)

Most likely what you have are viviporous mutants. If you're interested in the science behind them, see the work of Dr. Don McCarty, University of Florida.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 2:20AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

(Most likely what you have are viviporous mutants. If you're interested in the science behind them, see the work of Dr. Don McCarty, University of Florida.)

I am interested in the science behind them and wonder what advantage(s) might be obtained with such mutants.

But I Googled "viviporous tomato mutants" and "Dr. Don McCarty" and couldn't find any specific material that detailed these types of mutants. Maize and snails and Aradopsis yes, just a mention, but not tomatoes.

Could you please provide a link to such work?

Thanks

Carolyn

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 8:58AM
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reginald_25(5)

the conditions found in the Spring that allow for germination of seeds. And yes, the hydration part is important...

Hi Carolyn,

Now that makes sense to me and also provides some explanation of why many fewer tomato volunteers report topside in spring than one would expect... i.e., a large portion of the seeds are germinated (sometime in fall) because their expectation is such that suitable weather conditions are approaching over the near horizon. But then said horizon's season really turns out to be the beginnings of, well, winter.

Thanks,
Reg

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 11:14AM
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sari_walker_yahoo_com

Googled this myself because we cut open a store bought tomato and experienced the same phenomena. The search term is 'viviparous'. You'll find lots of info on tomato genetics.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 2:15PM
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gonefishin(z7bTx)

Man! Now that is gross. Probably harmless if you raked the seeds and sprouts out, but I would not eat anything like that.
Bill P.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 3:38PM
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belindach(9A)

Gross.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 4:40PM
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tessa74(8)

Ha Ha! that was my first thought upon seeing the photo. Gross!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 10:22PM
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yogagardengirl

Once i planted one of these sprouts from a cherry tom. and it grew into a mutant looking seedling; it looked like about 10 seedling stalks were coming out of one base. Wierd!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 7:50AM
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liz_h(7/8 DFW Texas)

Interesting discussion here. I had two of these recently. The first tomato came from my organic produce co-op. The flavor was a bit dull, and could well have seen some time in cold storage. The 2nd one was purchased at a small town grocery store, and labeled "locally grown tomatoes". It was bursting with flavor. I didn't think tomatoes could taste that good after cold storage. No idea what the variety was, though the tomato was red, round, the size of a tennis ball or a bit less.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2008 at 4:01PM
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lilacs_of_may

That's one of the most bizarre things I've ever seen.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2008 at 3:20AM
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queenbeemartin_yahoo_com

I just ran across this site because I was looking for a cause of this and if and how to plant my tomatoes. I have 2 tomatoes, on the same vine that were bought in the store about a week ago. My house temp is about 68-70 degrees and I have sprouts that broke the surface of the tomato. It looks rather cool but like I said, I don't know if and how to plant them or if I can this time of year.
I just put a link on here, not knowing what I am doing to see if you can get the picture.
But, can I just plant it inside, whole in the tomatoes so that I don't mess up the cause of the growth?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 11:23AM
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fieldofflowers(3 or 4a)

Just happened to me from a tomato I got from a food shelf. It was a vine on variety with two tomatoes. I ate one about two weeks later and the other waited at least 3 weeks. I can't say it's been chilled. No. I had it at room temperature for all of about 3 weeks. Normally I see tomatoes rot and go bad if not eaten in enough time.

But this one was different. It got softer but didn't rot. When I opened it, I saw the seeds beginning to sprout. I removed those, planted some. Ate the rest of the tomato without the seeds. I found this thread looking up the phenomenon.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2013 at 1:21PM
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