Effects of Vacuum Storage and Temperature on Seed Viability and Vigor of Five Crop Varieties
Croft, Marcia M.
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Conservation and preservation of crop species diversity is of growing importance for developing sustainable agricultural practices in the 21st century. Seed banks protect these genetic resources, though storage conditions will determine the quality of these resources over time. Recommendations for optimal storage conditions vary, but the International Plant Genetics Resource Institute (IPGRI) and other research institutions consistently advocate extremely low temperatures, from -15o to -20 oC. However, refrigeration can be prohibitively expensive, and recent research has suggested that refrigeration may not be necessary if replaced by vacuum sealing. The goal of this study was to evaluate this claim in the context of the Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization’s (ECHO) Asia Regional Office Seed Bank. Five seed species were used and will be stored for periods of up to one year, though this research concerns only the results after one month. Storage treatments of refrigeration and vacuum-sealing were compared with storage at ambient conditions and the seeds were evaluated in terms of seed moisture content, seed viability, and seedling vigor. After one month, seeds that were not refrigerated or vacuum-sealed were not statistically different from those in any other storage treatment, suggesting that storage in ambient conditions may be safe for short periods of time. These results may change over time, but the preliminary findings suggest that the most cost-effective treatment may be the ideal one for this seed bank.