Survival and vigour of ultra-dry seeds after ten years of hermetic storage

T.D. Hong, R.H. Ellis, D. Astley, A.E. Pinnegar, S.P.C. Groot, H.L. Kraak

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    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Seeds of carrot, groundnut, lettuce, oilseed rape and onion were stored hermetically in laminated aluminium foil packets in four environments (dry or ultra-dry moisture contents combined factorially with temperatures of 20 degrees C or -20 degrees C), replicated at several sites. After ten years' hermetic storage, seed moisture content, equilibrium relative humidity, viability (assessed by ability to germinate normally in standard germination tests) and vigour were determined. After a decade, the change in seed moisture content of samples stored at -20 degrees C was small or nil. Except for groundnut and lettuce (where loss in viability was about 8 and 3%, respectively), no loss in viability was detected after 10 years' hermetic storage at -20 degrees C. In all cases, there was no difference in seed survival between moisture contents at this temperature (P > 0.25). Comparison of seed vigour (root length and rate of germination) also confirmed that drying to moisture contents in equilibrium with 10-12% r.h. had no detrimental effect to longevity when stored at -20 degrees C: the only significant (P <0.05) differences detected were slightly greater root lengths for ultra-dry storage of four of the six seed lots. Seed moisture content had increased after a decade at 20 degrees C (generally to the level in equilibrium with ambient relative humidity). Hence, sub-zero temperature storage helped maintain the long-term integrity of the laminated aluminium foil packets, as well as that of the seeds within.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)449-460
    JournalSeed Science and Technology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • seed germination
    • vigour
    • desiccation tolerance
    • daucus carota
    • groundnuts
    • rape
    • allium cepa
    • seed storage
    • moisture-content limit
    • logarithmic relation
    • theoretical basis
    • longevity
    • temperatures
    • groundnut
    • protocols
    • lettuce

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