Three samples of lentil (Lens culinaris Medik. cv. Anita) seeds, undeteriorated and deteriorated for 4 or 6 days, were matriconditioned by incubating them for 3 days at 20°C with humid vermiculite. Mean germination time (MGT) and germination capacity at 10°C, 15°C and 20°C were established. Cell cycle activity in radicle tips was studied using flow cytometry, and membrane integrity was determined using conductivity tests. Untreated seeds were then stored for 1 year at room temperature and all treatments and analyses were repeated. Matriconditioning decreased the MGT of all samples and improved the germination percentage of the deteriorated seeds at 10°C. The ratio of nuclei in the second growth phase of the cell cycle to those in the first growth phase (i.e. G2/G1 ratio) in the radicle tips increased after matriconditioning, which suggests that the treatment induced the onset of germination. The conductivity test showed that matriconditioning also improved membrane integrity. Matriconditioning is an efficient method for the enhancement of lentil seed vigour, and flow cytometry and measurements of leachate conductivity can be applied to determine the effectiveness of this treatment.

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