The OSU Seed Laboratory is housed in a building designed to function specifically as a seed testing laboratory. The building covers an area of 6,000 sq ft (540 m2), houses offices, testing areas, growth chambers, equipment, file sample storage, and a mezzanine used for training and workshops. The laboratory has an adjacent 800 sq ft greenhouse for conducting grow-out tests for various crops, VFL determinations, and research projects. Read more about our facility here.
The OSU Seed Laboratory uses an assortment of equipment to carry out testing, research, and training services, among which are:
General-type blowers, South Dakota blowers, and one Continuous Flow blower.
Microscopic seed inspection stations, with automated mechanical seed feeder and 10x-40x magnification.
Microscopic digital imaging station to create seed images.
Electronic calibrated high-precision digital balances.
Vacuum system for planting up to 200 samples in a day.
Six walk-in growth chambers for germination testing with timed temperature and light control, and several one and two-door germinators. Both alternating and constant temperatures are available.
Flow cytometer to measure the amount of DNA and determine ploidy levels on plant tissues.
X-ray machine to reveal the internal structures in seeds.
NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) analyzer, for determining oil and protein content in seeds and meals.
Thermogradient table for determining germination percentages at a range of temperatures.
Reference Seed Collection
The laboratory has a large reference seed collection containing a broad range of seed specimens. The collection is particularly rich in grasses and Pacific Northwest native species. The lab uses the expertise available in the Botany Department for identification of unusual plant species.
The OSU Seed Laboratory staff includes approximately 25 qualified full-time analysts and supervisors with Doctor, Master, or Bachelor of Science degrees, CSAs, and long-term experience in seed testing. In addition, the laboratory hires several seasonal staff as well as Oregon State University students during the busy testing season to help in planting and general laboratory work that do not need long-term experience or extensive training.
The OSU Seed Laboratory has an advanced information system for speeding the flow of information to and from customers. This includes the ability for customers to enter sample information and test requests online, access test results online, and on-site printing of reports. The database also gives us the ability to pull up records very quickly, which allows rapid gathering of data for statistical analysis, sample tracking, and other uses.