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ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #210016

Title: Materials used for Seed Storage Containers: Response

item Walters, Christina

Submitted to: Seed Science Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2007
Publication Date: 12/1/2007
Citation: Walters, C. 2007. Materials used for seed storage containers: Response. Seed Science Research 17:233-242.

Interpretive Summary: Composite packaging materials used for seed storage was highly criticized in an article published in Dec 2006 in Seed Science Research. These packages are commonly used in our facility and numerous other seed banks worldwide. This paper is a response to the criticism and highlights the decision making process used in choosing a package for long-term seed storage. An added value to the paper is a consolidated list of plastics used for packaging and their water vapor permeability properties.

Technical Abstract: Efficient seed storage is a shared concern among the growing number of seed banks established for crop improvement or ex situ conservation. Container properties greatly affect seed interactions with the environment and the overall cost and success of seed banking operations. Several material properties contribute to their suitability as seed containers. Different seed banks must rank the importance of the various factors depending on their mission and resources. Once the risks, costs and benefits are weighed, an appropriate strategy can be developed that addresses a seed bank’s specific needs. Because there are many problems and several solutions, it is likely that strategies will vary among seed banks. This response details variables to consider when selecting seed storage packages and focuses on water diffusion rates of packages with different compositions. A ‘moisture audit’ will help seed bank operators make informed decisions about packaging.