Flax seeds, when imbibed, secrete a halo of mucilage composed of polysaccharides. It has been proposed that this mucilage serves as a reservoir of nutrient for the germinating seed. Seed mucilages in other species have been found to alleviate water stress, inhibit germination in unfavorable conditions, and trap and digest microorganisms. While establishing a protocol for studying flax seed mucilage, I tested the different models and quantified the amount of mucilage per seed. I found that 11-14% of the seed's dry weight is mucilage. Nutrition and digestion of microorganisms do not appear to play roles in the function of flax seed mucilage. Alleviation of water stress and inhibition of germination are better supported by my experimental data.
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Gengler, Karla, "The Function of Seed Mucilage in Flax (Linum usitatissimum)" (1993). Honors Theses. 342.