An electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spin probe study of irradiated wheat seeds was performed depending on irradiation dose. The structural changes in the membrane integrity were followed using aqueous solutions of 4-hydroxy-TEMPO (TANOL) spin probe and a line broadening material. In the studies dry seed embryos were kept in these solutions for 150 min. The spectra were recorded at various times of air drying process. The simulation of these spectra indicated a decrease in the water content of the embryos depending on the increasing irradiation dose. This indicates the increase in the permeability of the membranes as a result of the radiation damage. From the decay curves it is possible to determine about irradiation dose, however, this approach is not very successful at close irradiation doses. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.