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Seed longevity – moisture content relationships in hermetic and open storage

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In seed storage research, moisture content can be maintained by providing a stable relative humidity (e.g. over saturated salt solutions) or by hermetic storage, but the two approaches provide different gaseous environments which might affect longevity. Seeds of timothy (Phleum pratense L.) and sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) were stored at 45°C or 50°C, respectively, with different moisture contents maintained by hermetic storage in laminated-aluminium-foil packets, or by desiccators above either saturated salt solutions or moistened silica gel. Seeds were withdrawn from storage at intervals from 1 to 28 d for up to 480 d and viability estimated. Within a species, the negative logarithmic relation between seed longevity and moisture content did not differ (P>0.25, timothy; >0.05, sesame) between storage in desiccators over either moistened silica gel or saturated salt solutions, whereas the relation was much steeper (P<0.005) in hermetic storage: longevity was similar at high moisture contents, but at low values much greater with hermetic storage. This effect of storage method on seed longevity's sensitivity to moisture content implies that oxygen is relatively more deleterious to seeds at lower than at greater moisture contents and confi rms that hermetic storage is preferable for long-term seed storage at low moisture contents.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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  • Seed Science and Technology (SST) is one of the leading international journals featuring original papers and review articles on seed quality and physiology as related to seed production, harvest, processing, sampling, storage, distribution and testing. This widely recognised journal is designed to meet the needs of researchers, advisers and all those involved in the improvement and technical control of seed quality.
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