We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Seed Testing

Principles and Practices

Sabry G. Elias

Publication Year: 2012

An essential reference for students, seed technologists, researchers, and seed industry personnel, this comprehensive guide outlines the most widely performed modern seed quality tests, explores the principles behind them, the history of seed testing, why seeds are tested and when, and sampling, sub-sampling, seed laboratory management, accreditation, and seed quality assurance programs. The authors describe statistical applications to seed testing and tolerances, and they provide a detailed morphological and structural description of seed formation and development. The book examines the testing of genetic traits and transgenic seeds, including DNA and protein genetic purity tests, and cultivar purity identification for conventional seeds. In addition to the most common seed purity and viability tests, tests for seed and seedling vigor, seed-borne diseases and seed moisture determination are also discussed.

Published by: Michigan State University Press

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF (191.1 KB)
pp. i-iv


pdf iconDownload PDF (124.9 KB)
pp. v-viii

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (81.0 KB)
pp. ix-x

This book has been planned for many years. It began when it became clear that the USDA Handbook No.30 “Testing Agricultural and Vegetable Seeds,” which was developed in 1952, did not have the advanced tests to meet the needs of today’s sophisticated seed industry. Although Handbook No. 30, which was developed under the leadership of Dr. O. L. Justice, who for many years was the head of the USDA Seed Testing Laboratory at Beltsville, MD, represented the only comprehensive coverage of seed testing for...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (79.5 KB)
pp. xi-xii

This book presents the most widely-performed tests in today’s seed quality testing world. It comprises thirteen chapters covering a wide range of tests used by seed testing laboratories, researchers and seed companies in the global seed industry. Since seed is the basic biological unit of all tests, a detailed morphological and structural description of seed formation and the development of both angiosperms and gymnosperms is provided in Chapter 2. Seedling structures are also illustrated and described....

read more

Chapter 1. Why Seeds are Tested, and When

pdf iconDownload PDF (241.8 KB)
pp. 1-10

Seed testing is the science of evaluating the quality of seeds to determine their value for planting. Though initially developed for field and garden seeds, seed testing is equally valuable for determining the seed quality of turf, flowers, herbs, shrubs, trees and native species....

read more

Chapter 2. Seeds and Seedlings

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 11-32

A seed has been described as a miniature plant packaged for storage and shipment. This is a very good definition, for a seed does contain a miniature plant in the form of the embryo, along with reserve food storage (endosperm, cotyledons, or other nutritive tissue) and a protective wrapping (seed coat)....

read more

Chapter 3. Sampling and Subsampling

pdf iconDownload PDF (523.2 KB)
pp. 33-42

No matter how carefully and accurately the analysis is performed, it can only show the quality of the sample tested/submitted. Thus, it is imperative that the sample be properly drawn and faithfully represent the quality of the seed lot from which it is taken. If taken with careless or biased procedures, all subsequent analyses may be meaningless and not representative of the actual quality of the seed lot. Any compromise or disregard of the principles of good sampling risks a bias in the results and does a disservice to both the producer and the consumer....

read more

Chapter 4. Testing for Physical Purity

pdf iconDownload PDF (706.3 KB)
pp. 43-58

Along with germination, purity tests are one of the oldest and most common tests performed by seed analysts. Their purpose is to determine the physical composition of a seed lot by performing a detailed and precise separation on a small representative working sample. The procedure consists of separating the sample into four components (pure seed, other crop seed, weed seed, and inert matter) so the percent composition by weight of each may be determined. These components are shown in Figure 4.1....

read more

Chapter 5. Germination and Viability Testing

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.1 MB)
pp. 59-82

Seeds are tested for germination to determine how they will perform when planted in the field, the garden, or in a seedling nursery. This information is also needed for labeling and marketing purposes or to determine if a seed lot has been properly labeled when sold or offered for sale....

read more

Chapter 6. Seedling Evaluation

pdf iconDownload PDF (2.2 MB)
pp. 83-116

The germination test is universally accepted by the seed trade, seed control officials, and certification agencies as an objective, reproducible means of evaluating seed quality. In seed laboratory practice, germination is defined “as the emergence and development from the seed embryo of those essential structures that, for the kind of seed in question, are indicative of the ability to produce a normal plant under favorable conditions” (AOSA, 2010). To meet these objectives, a germination test must provide a suitable environment for a specified duration of time to allow the “essential structures” to develop to a point where they can...

read more

Chapter 7. Tetrazolium Testing

pdf iconDownload PDF (1002.4 KB)
pp. 117-154

No seed laboratory can afford to operate and meet the needs of the modern seed industry without offering tetrazolium (TZ) testing services to its customers. Profits in the modern seed industry often demand rapid information about seed quality (viability) that can be provided only by the tetrazolium test. It is the classic quick test in that it provides a rapid determination of seed viability. It can also provide valuable insights into reasons for loss of viability, such as injury caused by frost, sprouting, chemical treatment, mechanical damage...

read more

Chapter 8. Seed and Seedling Vigor Testing

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 155-192

Seed vigor assessment provides important seed quality information regarding potential field performance (Powell, 1988; McDonald, 1994; 1998; Egli and TeKrony, 1995). A historical perspective of seed vigor has been chronicled (McDonald, 1993), reviews written (Chin, 1988; Roberts and Black, 1989; Hampton and Coolbear, 1990; TeKrony and Egli, 1993; McDonald, 1999), symposia convened (McDonald and Nelson, 1986, AOSA, 1993; van de Venter, 1995), and standardization issues confronted (McDonald, 1995). AOSA,...

read more

Chapter 9. Genetic and Varietal Purity Testing

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.5 MB)
pp. 193-236

For the majority of primary agricultural crops, the seed remains the basic delivery system of genetic and molecular advances to the farmer. The increase in biotech-derived varieties, as well as the many other changes rapidly occurring in agriculture, has had a direct impact on variety testing. As seeds developed from biotechnology become more common, and as many of the newly released varieties differ in just one or a few genes, seed technologists are increasingly being challenged to develop ever more sophisticated and sensitive genetic ...

read more

Chapter 10. Seed Health Testing

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.2 MB)
pp. 237-256

Seedborne pathogens have been recognized as a major means of dissemination of plant pathogens since prehistoric times. Baker (1972) cites the following historically factual reports of associations between plant pathogens and seeds....

read more

Chapter 11. Seed Moisture Content Testing

pdf iconDownload PDF (371.5 KB)
pp. 257-270

Few factors are more important to the quality and function of seed than moisture content. Moisture content is associated with almost every aspect of seeds and their function, including their maturity, timing of harvest, susceptibility to mechanical injury during threshing or handling, longevity in storage, and injury due to heat, frost, fumigation, insects, and pathogens. Thus, moisture content is perhaps the most important factor which determines when seed is harvested, how it is handled after harvest, and how long it maintains its quality....

read more

Chapter 12. Seed Laboratory Management, Accreditation, and Quality Assurance

pdf iconDownload PDF (498.8 KB)
pp. 271-292

A modern seed testing laboratory must have more than competent, well-trained analysts. Improved ergonomic equipment and innovative, efficient, and repeatable methods have become essential elements to deliver accurate, consistent, and timely results to the seed industry. All laboratories are confronted with ever-increasing pressures of delivering timely and accurate results to customers, while dealing with spiraling costs, government regulations and technical innovation. The seed industry, farmers, and other clientele...

read more

Chapter 13. Statistical Applications to Seed Testing

pdf iconDownload PDF (693.5 KB)
pp. 293-338

This section will explain the types of error that may occur in making a decision to accept or reject samples that represent seed lots. It also will discuss the sources of variation that may describe the differences between accuracy and precision, and the use of tolerance tables in seed testing....


pdf iconDownload PDF (248.3 KB)
pp. 339-350


pdf iconDownload PDF (180.4 KB)
pp. 351-354

Back Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF (277.9 KB)
p. bc-bc

E-ISBN-13: 9781609173173
E-ISBN-10: 1609173171
Print-ISBN-13: 9781611860399
Print-ISBN-10: 1611860350

Page Count: 364
Illustrations: Color illustrations
Publication Year: 2012