Temperature—To a point, the higher the temperature the faster respiration occurs. At some temperature, enzymes will become inactivated, although there are thermophilic (heat-loving) organisms that do quite well in high-temperature environments. Energy from sugar is released faster as the rate of respiration increases which results in a net weight loss. Plants offset the weight loss by increasing photosynthetic production of sugar. Note that during respiration, some of the energy is lost as heat, which results in an overall increase in organism temperature—not necessarily detectible by human hands.
Water—Enzymes generally operate in the presence of water, and reduced water in a plant will reduce the rate of respiration. Seeds usually have a water content of less than 10%, while mature living cells usually are in excess of 90% water. Seeds keep better if they are kept dry as the respiration rate remains quite low. However, if a seed comes into contact with water and via imbibition swells, the respiration rate will skyrocket. The temperature could increase to the point of killing the seeds. Spontaneous combustion can occur from the respiration generated heat when a fungus or bacterium is permitted to grow on wet seeds. Kind of a neat little trivia fact to tuck away.
Oxygen—Oxygen is an important regulator of respiration. If oxygen is drastically reduced, respiration may drop off to the point of retarding growth or death. Low oxygen concentrations can lead to the onset of fermentation processes.