Germination of wild-type (WT) tomato ( Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) seed is inhibited by mannitol (100-140 mM) in light, but not in darkness, suggesting that light amplifies the responsiveness of the seed to osmotic stress (M. Fellner, V.K. Sawhney (2001) Theor Appl Genet 102:215-221). Here we report that white light (W) and especially blue light (B) strongly enhance the mannitol-induced inhibition of seed germination, and that the effect of red light (R) is weak or nil. The inhibitory effect of mannitol could be completely overcome by fluridone, an inhibitor of abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis, indicating that mannitol inhibits seed germination via ABA accumulation in seeds. The inhibition of WT seed germination by exogenous ABA was also amplified by W or B, but not by R. In a recessive, ABA-overproducing, 7B-1 mutant of tomato, seed germination and hypocotyl growth were resistant to inhibition by mannitol or exogenous ABA, both in W or B. Experiments with fluridone suggested that inhibition of hypocotyl growth by W or B is also partially via ABA accumulation. De-etiolation in the mutant was especially less in B compared to the WT, and there was no difference in hypocotyl growth between the two genotypes in R. Our data suggest that B amplifies the responsiveness of tomato seeds and hypocotyls to mannitol and ABA, and that W- or B-specific resistance of the 7B-1 mutant to osmotic stress or ABA is a consequence of a defect in B perception or signal transduction.