Seed storage

Most crop seeds can be stored dry. Some seeds however do not tolerate desiccation, these are called recalcitrant and are stored on the long term in genebanks under cryopreservation. Desiccation tolerant (orthodox) seeds are best stored dry, cool) and oxygen free. Especially the latter is too often ignored.

ERPO storage

To study the role of oxygen in seed ageing we have developed a method of storing seeds at elevated partial pressure of oxygen (EPPO). The method seems also very promising in predicting storability of for instance primed seeds and may be more close to practical storage conditions compared to CD storage tests at high humidity and temperature. We are also using the method to identify genetic factors involved in seed storability. Now we have developed a method to study the effect of oxygen on relative short term we expect to be able to develop a model incorporating all three physical factors, next to genetics.

Having shown that high concentrations of oxygen strongly accelerate the aging of seeds we are presently working on (simple) method to store seeds under anoxia and study the effect on subsequent longevity. This is of particular importance for genebanks. However also in commercial seed storage in can be applied, e.g. for seed form crops with reputed short longevity (as onion, leek or lettuce), or for primed seeds.

Buijs, G., et al. (2020). Evaluating the EPPO method for seed longevity analyses in Arabidopsis. Plant Science 301: 110644, DOI:

Groot, S. P. (2020). Proper seed storage. W. U. Research, ÖMKi Hungarian Research Institute of Organic Agriculture. EU project LIVESEED Practice abstract No. 25,

Buijs, G., et al. (2018). Seed dormancy release accelerated by elevated partial pressure of oxygen is associated with DOG loci. Journal of Experimental Botany 69(15): 3601–3608, DOI: doi:10.1093/jxb/ery156,

van Treuren, R., et al. (2018). Rapid loss of seed viability in ex situ conserved wheat and barley at 4°C as compared to −20°C storage. Conservation Physiology 6(1): 1-10, DOI: 10.1093/conphys/coy033,

Groot, S. P. C. (2017). Seed Storage. Don’t waste your efforts. Profyta - Focus on Europe, Blue Bird Publishers. 2017: 32-34,

Nagel, M., et al. (2016). Barley seed ageing: genetics behind the dry elevated pressure of oxygen ageing and moist controlled deterioration. Frontiers in Plant Science 7, DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00388,

Groot, S. P. C., et al. (2015). Prolonging the longevity of ex situ conserved seeds by storage under anoxia. Plant Genetic Resources 13(1): 18-26, DOI: https://doi:10.1017/S1479262114000586

van Treuren, R., et al. (2013). Preservation of seed viability during 25 years of storage under standard genebank conditions. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 60(4): 1407-1421, DOI:

Groot, S. P. C., et al. (2012). Seed storage at elevated partial pressure of oxygen, a fast method for analysing seed ageing under dry conditions. Annals of botany 110(6): 1149-1159, DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcs198,