SUMMARY: Barley seeds placed in contact with straw buried in soil imbibed water more slowly and had a greater fungal biomass under the husk at germination than did seeds which had been in contact with soil only. The growth of fungi under the husk increased during imbibition and continued when the seed was fully imbibed; such growth resulted in poor seed germination. A common soil saprophyte. . inoculated on to the outer surfaces of the seed husk, suppressed germination by competing with the embryo for available oxygen. The prevention of seed germination by some micro-organisms seems to be related to the microbial affinity for oxygen.


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