Exploiting seed coat properties to improve uniformity and resilience in Brassica seed vigour


  1. Novel Brassica oleracea alleles that may affect seed vigour were identified. Markers to track these alleles through breeding populations were developed.
  2. Development and application of a novel label-free, real-time imaging technique for visualising the distribution of compounds in the seed coat at the microscopic level was achieved. The ability to visualise the movement of unlabelled compounds into the seed coat on this scale represents a major advance in analytical capability for both plant biologists and agrochemical scientists.
  3. New understanding of the mechanism by which temperature during seed-set affects seed vigour in Brassicas, by regulating the expression of a gene responsible for temperature signalling affects in the seed.
Project code:
CP 145
01 April 2015 - 31 March 2019
BBSRC Horticulture & Potato Initiative
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:
Dr S Penfield, John Innes Centre


CP 145_Report 2020

About this project


The first aim of this proposal is to genetically manipulate seed coats in Brassica oleracea for resilient seed vigour enhancement, providing both mechanistic understanding of relevant biological processes and novel alleles for breeding programs. The second is to understand the added potential of seed permeability engineering to improve the efficacy of vigour enhancers applied in commercial seed coatings, such as Cruiser ™, and to facilitate development of the next generation of Active Ingredients for maximum potential for seed penetration.


  1. Reverse genetics to identify oleracea strains with environmentally resilient high vigour using TILLING
  2. Unbiased forward genetic screen to identify novel B. oleracea alleles with environmentally robust seed vigour
  3. Field trials for seed vigour analysis
  4. To develop a mechanistic description of environmental effects on seed coat development and seed vigour in B. oleracea
  5. To develop novel quantitative microscopic tools for the non-invasive in situ analysis of environmentally regulated seed coat polymers
  6. To develop novel quantitative microscopic tools for the non-invasive in situ analysis of AI uptake into seeds and measure uptake in seed coats with differing permeability