The object of seed pathology testing is to determine the health of the seed lot for use in planting. Plant diseases are known to greatly reduce yield. Not all plant diseases are contained in or on seed but it is important to know if you have one or more that is. Seed may contain plant pathogens or agents that cause disease in plants. These diseases may affect storage, vigour, germination, market availability, harvest yield, seed appearance, or contain toxins.

Plant pathogens include: Fungus, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes. When you plant infected seed you distribute these evenly throughout your land. It is important to know what level of these you may have. When levels of disease are high it may be important to seek out a different source of seed for planting. It also may be very helpful in choosing a seed treatment. Most importantly is to not introduce plant diseases you do not already have. Many of these can persist in soil or on trash and become a problem for many years.

There are many ways to test Seed Health in the laboratory. The most common and reliable are incubation tests. The seed is pretreated and plated on specialized media, which favour the growth of the organism being looked for. The plates are then incubated and examined by a seed pathologist for specific traits. Visual tests can be used to spot disease bodies in seed lots. DNA and Immunoassay tests, which look for genetics of a pathogen, can also be used. (Note that these do not indicate whether the target casual agent is viable or capable of infection.)

Seed Pathogens Commonly Tested for in Western Canada:

Fusarium Head Blight (F. graminearum and F. culmorum)Ascochyta, Anthracnose, Botrytis, and SclerotiniaBlackleg, Sclerotinia, and AlternariaTrue Loose Smut Bacterial Blights Common Root Rot
In Numerous Crop KindsKnown to cause head blight and produce DON or vomitoxin)In PulsesIn Canola and BrassicasIn Wheat and BarleyIn BeansCereals

Seed Check Staff are experts in the above tests as well as other specialized testing. Seed Check Technologies uses highly competent accredited disease analysts. We follow strict quality procedures to ensure our clients receive accurate seed health test results.