For centuries, crop plants have represented the basis of the daily human diet. Among them, cereals and legumes, accumulating oils, proteins and carbohydrates in their seeds, distinctly dominate modern agronomic practice. Indeed, these plants play an essential role in the food industry and fuel production. Therefore, the seeds of crop plants are intensively studied by food chemists, biologists, biochemists, and nutritional physiologists. Accordingly, not only seed development and germination, but also age- and stress-related alterations in seed vigor, longevity, nutritional value and safety can be addressed by a broad panel of analytical, biochemical and physiological methods. Currently, functional genomics is one of the most powerful tools, giving direct access to characteristic metabolic changes, accompanying plant development, senescence and response to biotic or environmental stress. Among individual methodological platforms, proteomics represents one of the most effective ones, giving access to cellular metabolism at the level of proteins. Here we discuss the main methodological approaches employed by seed proteomics in the context of physiological changes related to seed development, ageing and response to environmental stress.
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