a1 Seed Biology Program, Department of Horticulture and Crop Science, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1086, USA
Growers expect high-quality, genetically pure seed. As a result, seed companies maintain quality control programmes that monitor seed from harvest to purchase. An array of ‘traditional’ seed quality tests, including mechanical tests and tests of genetic purity, seed germination and vigour, and seed health tests, is used, and seed quality assessment techniques continue to evolve. Advances in molecular genetics are allowing the release of new varieties differing essentially in one gene. New molecular biology approaches offer the potential to identify these subtle genetic differences. Advances in seed enhancements, such as pelleting, priming and pregermination, require increased scrutiny of seed quality before and after the enhancement process. New developments in computer imaging for improved purity and germination/vigour analyses are being developed. These novel approaches to seed quality assessment become important as new genetic improvements are conveyed in the seed at increased cost to the grower.
(Received August 15 1997)
(Accepted January 07 1998)