STORING SEED SAMPLE
Storing Inspector’s seed sample
The Act specifies that the Inspector shall retain one of the three samples prepared by him. The Inspector is responsible to see that seed samples drawn and to be retained by him are properly stored. The condition of the sample should be similar to its condition at the time of sampling, testing or sale. The sample should be kept in this condition for at least one year. In disputed cases it must be kept for a longer period of time. Rule 37 states that:
“The sample of any seed shall, under clause ( c ) of sub-section ( 2 ) of Section 15, be retained under a cool, dry environment to eliminate the loss of viability and in insect proof or rat proof containers. The containers shall be dusted with suitable insecticides and the storage room fumigated to avoid infestation of samples by insects. The samples shall be packed in good quality containers of uniform shape and size before storage”.
Obviously, the laboratory would be storing samples sent to it. To provide the kind of storage facility needed and to ensure that the Inspector’s sample is truly maintained in satisfactory condition, it is recommended that a portion in the laboratory’s storage room be designated for holding the Inspector’s samples. Considering the limitations with the Inspector for providing the proper storage conditions, this is the only logical place to hold the Inspector’s samples. Necessary safeguards should be provided to ensure that no one tampers with the Inspector’s sample stored in this location. To achieve proper storage of samples two methods are suggested below. The first is the most desirable method and the second would meet the objective. These are not the only methods to use but are the ones that should meet the requirements of the Act.
1. Provide a special room with rodent-proofed, insulated and moisture-proofed walls, floor and ceiling. The insulation could be foam plastic such as Styrofoam or thermo Cole, expanded mica, glass wool or even rice hull. The moisture proofing could be 800 gauge polyethylene, laminated aluminum foil 1/8” coating of bitumen or less desirable, moisture-proof sealants. If water-absorbing insulation is used, the moisture-proof material must be outside the insulation. There should be no windows in the room and the door should be gasketed like a refrigerator door. Since in most of India the temperature exceeds 800F and RH exceeds 70% for three to five months in the year, refrigeration and dehumidification of the room are necessary. It is suggested that the room be dehumidified to 25% RH and the temperature maintained in the 60-70o F range. The 25% RH will help to control insects in addition to maintaining a low moisture content in seed.
2. Within the seed storage room, build wooden or metal racks to easily hold the samples. Provide metal boxes with gasketed lids. Lids can protect against rodents. Lids should not be placed on the boxes immediately after entering storage to allow time for the seed to dry to equilibrium with the RH of the room. Alternatively, drill holes in lids and bottoms of boxes to provide for air movement. The samples should be in bags which would allow a free exchange of moisture vapor so the samples dry down to equilibrium with the RH of the room.
3. The general containers such as metal boxes and those in which sample is placed should be of uniform shape and size. Number file samples systematically with the laboratory test number, the Inspector’s serial number or the seeds man’s lot number. The number used would depend on who is storing the sample.
4. Dust the containers with an insecticide such as DDT and fumigate the entire room periodically if any insect infestation is noticed. Aluminum phosphate tablets could be conveniently used for this purpose.
1. Provide a special room with insulation, rodent proofing and ventilation to cool and/or dry the room when weather conditions permit.
2. Within the storage room build wooden or metal racks to easily hold the samples. Provide metal boxes with gasketed lids for holding samples. These would be moisture-proof and insect-proof. To dry seed samples and maintain them dry in each box include the required quantity of dry silica gel in a separate bag in each metal box. The silica gel acts as a desiccant, dries and maintains all samples within the box at a low moisture level. This process eliminates the room dehumidifier. An air-conditioner can increase the life span of seed in storage but is not vital if all other things are proper.
3. The general containers such as metal boxes and those in which sample is placed should be of uniform shape and size. Number file samples systematically with the laboratory test number, the Inspector’s serial number or the seed man’s lot number. The number used would depend on who is storing the sample.
4. Dust the containers with an insecticide such as DDT and fumigate the entire room periodically if any insect infestation is noticed. Aluminum phosphide tablets could be conveniently used for this purpose.
Storing seller’s seed sample
The Act and the Rules are definite about the need for a seeds man to maintain samples of seed as part of the records.
Rule 13( 3 ) states that:
“Every person selling, keeping for sale, offering to sell, bartering or otherwise supplying any seed of notified kind of variety under Section 7, shall keep over a period of three years a complete record of each lot of seed sold except that any seed sample may be discarded one year after the entire lot represented by such sample has been disposed of. The sample of seed kept as part of the complete record shall be as large as the size notified in the official Gazette. This sample, if required to be tested, shall be tested only for determining the purity”.
The Inspector should provide adequate guidance to seeds men to help assure that they also develop the capacity to store samples for three years when necessary. Samples provided to them by the Inspector and samples of all seed lots sold must be stored properly. This is for their protection and evidence against questions raised about the seed they have sold. This also applies to government-operated seed farms selling seed. One significant point is the statement at the end of Rule 13 (3 ) indicating that if the seed is to be tested, the testing shall be only for determining purity. This statement, undoubtedly, will be changed at some time in the future. The concern of the drafters of the Rules centered around the ability of seeds men to keep their samples viable for three years. It was assumed that they could keep insects out of samples, but it might be difficult for them to so maintain samples that they would continue to germinate up to one year after the seed lot was sold. Obviously, determination of germination must be a part of the seed law enforcement programme and this statement would, of necessity, need to be changed as soon as it appears that seeds men can actually keep their samples for the required period of time in good, viable condition.