Seed science and technology involves several disciplines such as plant production, agronomy, plant physiology, plant science, entomology and plant pathology.The seed is the most important and essential starting point for a healthy plant. If a seed is not viable a seedling will not emerge. If a seed has low vigour a weak seedling will emerge which in turn may either succumb to environmental conditions or attack by pathogens or insects. It is therefore of the outmost importance to look at the seed to make sure that it is viable and will give rise to vigorous seedlings able to withstand unfavourable environmental conditions and pests.

Correct sampling of a seed lot is essential before any tests can be done on the seed lot. The purity, both physical and genetic, must be determined before testing. All seed should be tested for viability, that is, the germination percentage must be determined and recorded on the seed lot. Furthermore, the vigour of the seed can also be determined using a range of tests. Seed health testing is also of great importance to prevent new pathogens from entering and establishing in the country and to prevent diseases occurring in the field due to seed-borne inoculum. These three aspects are discussed further as they are performed routinely in FABI in the Govender Seed Laboratory.

New Publications

Godfrey, Aveling, B. Flett, M. Truter. (2020) Control of Alternaria leaf blight caused by Alternaria alternata on sunflower using fungicides and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. Crop Protection 132:1-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cropro.2020.105146 PDF
T.A.S. Aveling , Chirwa P, Edgar Mangwende. (2020) Evaluation of seed treatments against Colletotrichum kahawae subsp. cigarro on Eucalyptus spp.. Crop Protection PDF
Zelda, Zelda, Terry, D.A. Cowan, A. Jacobs. (2020) Diversity and seasonality of fungal communities in soil from the SucculentKaroo biodiversity hotspot, South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 172:1-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2019.104020 PDF
Mangwende E, Kritzinger Q, Aveling TAS. (2019) Control of Alternaria leaf spot of coriander in organic farming. European Journal of Plant Pathology 10.1007/s10658-019-01682-6 PDF
Mandiriza G, Kritzinger Q, Aveling TAS. (2018) The evaluation of plant extracts, biocontrol agents and hot water as seed treatments to control black rot of rape in South Africa. Crop Protection 114:129-136. 10.1016/j.cropro.2018.08.025 PDF