Dr Louise Colville

Research Leader

Louise Colville

Trait Diversity and Function


Seed and Stress Biology


Seed science, particularly seed storage and longevity; biochemistry with focus on volatile organic compounds, lipids and antioxidants.

My research is focused on the biochemical and molecular characterisation of plant stress, particularly seed ageing and desiccation stress. I am interested in seed life span, which varies greatly between species, and through comparative studies across diverse taxa I aim to:

  1. gain an understanding of the mechanisms that underpin seed life span
  2. identify biochemical and molecular markers of seed quality and viability
  3. characterise the diversity and distribution of key molecules associated with seed storability across the plant kingdom.

A current major focus of my work is the use of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to profile the volatile compounds emitted by seeds during storage, in order to gain an insight into the processes occurring during seed deterioration, and to identify potential non-invasive markers of seed viability. I am also interested in the role of seed volatiles in seed predation and dispersal and have contributed to several collaborative projects in this area.

  • PhD Biological Sciences, University of Exeter, 2006
  • BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, University of Wales, Bangor, 2002


  • Secretary, International Society for Seed Science, 2019 - present

Fernández-Marín, B., Míguez, F., Méndez-Fernández, L., Agut, A., Becerril, J.M., García-Plazaola, J.I., Kranner, I. & Colville, L. (2017).

Seed carotenoid and tocochromanol composition of wild Fabaceae species is shaped by phylogeny and ecological factors.

Frontiers in Plant Science 8: 1428.

Colville, L., Blanco Sáez, C. M., Lewis, G. P. & Kranner, I. (2015).

The distribution of glutathione and homoglutathione in leaf, root and seed tissue of 73 species across the three sub-families of the Leguminosae.

Phytochemistry 115: 175-83 

Long, R., Gorecki, M., Renton, M., Scott, J., Colville, L., Goggin, D., Commander, L., Westcott, D., Cherry, H. & Finch-Savage, W. (2014).

The ecophysiology of seed persistence: A mechanistic view of the journey to germination or demise.

Biological Reviews 90: 31-59.

Chen, H., Osuna, D., Colville, L., Lorenzo, O., Graeber, K., Kuster, H., Leubner-Metzger, G. & Kranner, I. (2013).

Transcriptome-wide mapping of pea seed ageing reveals a pivotal role for genes related to oxidative stress and programmed cell death.

PLOS ONE 8: e7847.

Paulsen, T. R., Colville, L., Kranner, I., Daws, M. I., Högstedt, G., Vandvik, V. & Thompson, K. (2013).

Physical dormancy in seeds: a game of hide and seek?

New Phytologist 198: 496-503.

Colville, L., Bradley, E. L., Lloyd, A. S., Pritchard, H. W., Castle, L. & Kranner, I. (2012).

Volatile fingerprints of seeds of four species indicate the involvement of alcoholic fermentation, lipid peroxidation, and Maillard reactions in seed deterioration during ageing and desiccation stress.

Journal of Experimental Botany 63: 6519-6530. 

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