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.

Our recent publication in Annals of Botany:

Groot et al. 2012. Seed storage at elevated partial pressure of oxygen, a fast method for analysing seed ageing under dry conditions