Oregon State University

Seed Viability and Performance

Validations and enhancement of seed viability, vigor, grow-outs and other seed performances

The objective of the research in this area is to speed up germination, assure germination uniformity and to verify plant types through grow-out testing and performance by several means: breaking dormancy efficiently, improving scarification methods, chemical-physical treatments and additives and by accelerating plant development for effective species identification.

Completed Projects

  • Studies to validate and improve a protocol for the grow-out test as a supplementary test to the fluorescence test to distinguish between annual and perennial ryegrass. It was added to the AOSA Rules and included in the AOSA Cultivar Purity Testing Handbook in 2002.
  • Updating the germination tolerance tables in the AOSA Rules. A rule proposal was accepted in 2004.
  • Development of TZ testing protocols to assess viability of various native species (ongoing).
  • Germination study on Kentucky bluegrass. It provided supporting evidence for reducing the germination period of Kentucky bluegrass from 4 to 3 weeks.
  • Germination studies on tall fescue and ryegrass with caryopsis less than 1/3 the length of the palea. Study made it possible to change the AOSA testing rules for better identification of pure seeds. The rule is in current use.

Interests and opportunities for new projects

  • Faster germination-fluorscence tests in annual ryegrass. A research is being carried out at the OSU Seed Lab to study the effect of prechilling treatment and the length of test period on the final germination and fluorescence results of annual ryegrasses. The ultimate objective is to study whether seeds reach maximum germination and fluorescence before the final count (7 days prechill + 14 days warm germination).  This study may result in shortening the test period.
  • Level of association between viability by TZ and germination in grass seeds. The study will use the large amount of data available across years, varieties, sample quality levels. This data is available already in the OSU Seed Services Database. This information would be very useful to customers that use these tests to make seed management and trade decisions. The facts can also be used as supporting evidence to include TZ results as an official method in selected species.
  • Development of faster and effective dormancy breaking methods to speed up germination. Can be done on traditional as well as new species entering commerce.

Contact Info

The OSU Seed Laboratory is an AOSA and ISTA member lab and is ISTA Accredited Laboratory US07.

3291 SW Campus Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone: 541-737-4464
Fax: 541-737-2126
seedlab@oregonstate.edu

Hours: 8-5 Mon - Fri
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