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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: An Analysis of Seed Storage Practices

Authors
item Walters, Christina
item Roos, Eric
item Eberhart, Steve

Submitted to: Emphasis on Rye
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 12, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Breeders and genebank operators require seed storage systems which maintain highly vigorous seeds for several years to several decades. Seed lifespans are dependent on the seed moisture content and the storage temperature. There is an optimum moisture level at which seeds should be stored. This level is a function of a number of factors including the effects of seed moisture content on aging kinetics, the energy costs of drying seeds, and the number of seeds that must be processed. The effect of seed moisture content on aging kinetics is, in turn, a function of the seed species and the temperature. The energy costs of drying seeds is a function of building specifications, drying conditions and final water content. The volume of seeds that can be processed is a function of building specifications and drying rate. Based on theoretical and experimental considerations, we have found that aging rates are minimized in seeds from most agronomic crops if they are in equilibrium with a relative humidity of about 20%. The determination of this "physiological" optimum, has allowed us to predict optimum drying and storage procedures for seeds from diverse species. We present a model which relates the energy costs for drying and storage of seeds to the predicted longevity under various storage conditions. Analyses indicate how storage regimes can be optimized to provide the required seed longevity at the lowest energy cost.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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