Location: Vegetable Research
Project Number: 6080-22000-032-010-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Oct 1, 2022
End Date: Sep 14, 2026
1. Unify terminology and develop quality control standards for the certified foundation seed certification process. 2. Develop best management practices for efficient certified foundation seed production in both the lab and greenhouse. 3. Develop new technological innovations to determine the presence of viruses/pest/diseases on-site and determine best management practices that minimize their source and reinfection rate. 4. Conduct economic analysis and launch CleanSEED marketing campaign to increase awareness and adoption of certified foundation seeds.
Obj. 1. To develop common sweetpotato terminology, a review panel of industry stakeholders and state certifying agencies will be assembled to develop and review suggested standards, and then submit those approved standards to The Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) for recognition and policy making actions. Extension materials will be developed and distributed to increase the understanding of certified foundation seed (CFS) terminology and why it is needed. We will also promote the use of testing methods for quality management of certified CFS developed by the CleanSEED Project. This approach will be modeled after the system used by the potato (white potato) industry. Obj. 2. Develop best management practice (BMPs) for efficient CFS production in both the lab and greenhouse. Virus-indexed plant material is intensely propagated at each center by using different strategies to increase plants for growers and certified seed producers. Research has not been conducted to evaluate the epigenetic effects of different propagation environments on mutations, tolerance to viruses, and plant survival in the field. Obj.3. Develop new technological innovations to determine the presence of viruses/pest/diseases on-site and determine BMPs that minimize their source and reinfection rate. Use advanced technology to acquire spectral signatures (multi-spectral bands) that identify virus and pest/disease infected plants that are typically symptomless. Once validated, drones for high-throughput phenotyping of CFS production fields will be used to map infected plants. In addition, we will evaluate immunostrip, real-time Polymerase chain reaction, and isothermal testing for rapid detection of viruses in the field. Developing integrated methods to minimize virus sources and virus reinfection rate in CFS would improve yield and seed quality to extend “years of service” from the time of purchase. Obj. 4. Conduct economic analysis and launch CleanSEED marketing campaign to increase awareness and adoption of CFS. Stakeholder awareness and adoption of CFS is reliant on fitting the concept to their production systems and delivering a higher net profit. Agriculture economists will work with investigators in each state to establish side-by-side field studies and provide scientifically sound information on seed quality and its economic value. We will highlight economic findings, new policy standards, and a standard operating procedure (SOP) manual of BMPs, as well as introduce new technology advanced tools through diverse platforms. Extension and outreach support will be provided to certified seed growers and state regulatory agencies to help implement improved CFS systems. Finally, a survey will be distributed to growers to evaluate the impacts of this project and measure change in knowledge practices related to CFS.