By Steven Groot
Visiting Research Fellow
T. T. Chang Genetic Resources Center
Thursday, 31 January 2013
Havener Auditorium, IRRI
The GRiSP meeting in October 2012 showed that, in the future, rice farming will involve more mechanical transplanting, more use of expensive hybrid seeds, and probably more direct seeding in rainfed areas. It will, therefore, be necessary to have a higher level of seed quality with high, rapid, and uniform germination of healthy seed lots.
Decline in seed quality during storage, currently a frequent occurrence, will become a problem that needs attention. It requires both short-term (physical methods) and long-term (breeding) solutions. Further drying and relatively cool storage, used for more expensive vegetable seeds, is economically difficult with rice seeds. Research at Wageningen University and Research Centre (The Netherlands) with vegetable seeds has shown that oxygen is an underestimated key factor in seed ageing and that low-oxygen storage may partly compensate for cool storage.
As visiting research fellow at IRRI, Steven has worked with the TTC-GRC seed lab team on the implementation of methods to improve the shelf life of rice seeds. Examples will be provided explaining the benefits of low-oxygen storage in the ‘IRRI (GrainPro) bag’ and the application of SCUBA technology to study genetic variation in rice seed longevity under dry conditions.