a1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Geneva, NY 14456, USA
A method, electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS), is introduced to study seed viability non-destructively. Snap bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) seeds were studied by EIS to determine the most sensitive EIS parameter(s) and the optimal range of moisture content (MC) for separation of viable and non-viable seeds. Hydrated seeds exhibited two impedance arcs in the complex plane at the frequency range from 60 Hz to 8 MHz, and impedance spectra of viable and non-viable seeds differed. The hydrated seeds were best-modelled by an equivalent electrical circuit with two distributed circuit elements in series with a resistor (Voigt model). Moisture content and seed viability had strong effects on the EIS parameters. The most sensitive EIS parameters for detecting the differences between viable and non-viable seeds were the capacitance log(C2), the resistance R2, the resistance ratio R2/R1 and the apex ratio, which all represent specific features of the impedance spectrum. The highest differentiation in the EIS parameters between the viable and non-viable seeds occurred in partially imbibed seeds between MC of 40 and 45% (fresh weight basis).
(Received August 20 2001)
(Accepted November 08 2001)
c2 present address: Finnish Forest Research Institute, Joensuu Research Centre, PO Box 68, FIN-80101 Joensuu, Finland