Duties of analysts
Sampling mixing and dividing equipments
Purity analysis equipments
Moisture testing equipment
Germination testing equipment
 Seed health testing equipments
Other equipment

Seed testing is an essential component of the Seed Programme. The Success of the seed programme is very much dependent on the quality of the analysis work being carried out by the seed testing laboratory. The analysis results provided by the laboratory on the sample in question would make it fit or unfit for certification, sale or distribution.

Accordingly, it would be essential that the analysis result provided by the seed testing laboratory must be accurate and reproducible to avoid the problems in seed trade, distribution and seed certification or legislation. The accuracy and reproducibility of the analysis results is often influenced by the working conditions and the infrastructure facilities (staff, space and equipment) available with the seed testing laboratory. In addition, the management aspects of the work plan, would also determine the quality of  the analysis work. It would, therefore, be essential that the organization of the work of the laboratory should be in accordance with the established national or international norms and procedures. The details of these norms are provided in the text.

                                     The standard norms of seed testing stipulate that the identity of the sample received for analysis should not be made known to the person who is actually, analyzing the seed sample. This would be helpful in avoiding personal biasness in the analysis work. The samples received for testing in the laboratory must be handled in such a way that these are placed for germination within 24 hours of its receipt and the analysis results should be communicated within a period of one month. To achieve these objectives, it would be important that the seed testing laboratory should be adequately equipped and staffed according to the needs. A seed testing laboratory may serve the requirements for service testing, certification or both. Accordingly, the requirements for staff and equipments would vary.

                                     The seed testing laboratory must enjoy functional autonomy in its working. The official seed testing laboratory should be independent to seed production or certification. However, seed production or certification agencies may operate their own seed testing laboratories. Such laboratories would serve the needs for internal seed quality control of  the organization.

Staff requirements 

A person who had sufficient experience of analysis work and should be well acquainted with the seed testing procedures, rules and regulations should head the seed  testing laboratory. The laboratory shall also require specialists having thorough knowledge of purity analysis, germination, moisture determination and possibly, seed health, vigor and cultivar purity testing. In addition to these specialized skills, the staff should be familiar with taxonomy and seed processing.   Since seed testing is often seasonal with one or two periods of peak load, the size of the staff must be carefully.

            The requirement of technical and administrative staff for the seed laboratory would also vary according to the situation. A new laboratory would require less administrative staff while an esta1?lished laboratory which is in full service and involved in the analysis of certification or seed law enforcement samples may require sufficient administrative staff for its smooth functioning.

                                The responsibility for the execution of the work plan and programmes of the seed laboratory lies with the head or in charge of the laboratory who must enjoy the administrative and financial powers. In the absence of such arrangement, it would be difficult for the in charge to provide efficient and effecting functioning of the laboratory. The head of the laboratory is also expected to maintain liaison with the various officials of seed production, certification and law enforcement organizations and as such the seed laboratory needs to have a vehicle and telephone facilities for day to day work. In managing the work of the laboratory, the head of the seed laboratory must ensure the following:

1. The equipments are available and maintained in adequate manner.

2. The various working areas of the laboratory are rat-proof and the phyto-sanitary conditions are excellent.

3. Supplies such as germination paper, germination sand, wax paper, glass wares, and chemicals etc. are available with laboratory.

4. Records such as sample entry registers, analysis cards, reports etc. are maintained properly.

5. Prompt attention is paid to the sample received for -analysis.

6. Systematic procedures are used for the analysis of the samples. Samples must be homogenized before obtaining working samples.

7. Germination samples are received in porous container such as cloth bag or paper packed and the sample meant for moisture testing is packed in moisture proof containers.

8. Physical purity analysis is completed prior to germination testing.

9. Germination substrata have been checked for its suitability before its use.

10. The test results are calculated accurately and the supervisory staff duly checks the analysis cards. .

11. Tolerance tables have been used in ascertaining the reproducibility of the test results or need of retesting.

12. The guard samples are stored properly and disposed off after the expiry of storage period.


Duties of Analysts

i. Purity and Moisture Testing Section

a) To supervise work, equipments and supplies in the section

b) To ensure that samples are promptly prepared and placed under analysis

c) To ensure that samples for moisture determination are analyzed promptly

d) To make sure that samples are stored properly and maintained in good condition.

e) To main the seed herbarium of crop and weed seeds.

f) To distribute the work amongst the analysts (technicians)

g) Check the analysis of official and certified seed samples personally h) To decide, when retesting is required, using tolerance tables

i) To check analysis report forms before they are forwarded to germination section or the laboratory in charge.

ii. Germination and Seed Health Testing Section

a) To supervise work, equipment and supplies in the section.

 b) To ensure that samples promptly undergo the test procedures and the plating of the seed is arranged in such a manner that the day of counting the seedlings will not coincide with weekends and holidays.

 c) To distribute the work amongst analysts (technicians)

 d) To ensure proper operation and functioning of the equipments

e) To ensure that proper methods for germination testing of the species are supplied

f) To decide when retesting is necessary, using tolerance tables.

 g) To make final evaluation of the germination tests

h) To check analysis cards before they are forwarded.

iii. Technical Assistants

a) Do purity analysis work

b) Check purity analysis cards

c) Make moisture determination by oven drying method

d) Ensure that the dividers and other equipments are kept clean

e) Prepare sample for germination

f) Conduct germination tests

g) Evaluate the germination tests

h) Conduct tetrazolium test when required

i) Guide laboratory attendants in their work

j) Perform any other duty assigned time to time

iv. Laboratory Attendants.

a) Maintain the general cleanliness of the laboratories. Clean the glass wares, and boxed, equipments and furnishing of the laboratory on regular basis.
b) Prepare the sand and paper for germination tests
 c) Help the technicians in respective sections
 d) Perform other duties as assigned.

               In order to achieve the goal of uniformity, accuracy and reproducibility in the analysis results, it is immensely important that the head of the laboratory must exercise certain checks on the efficiency of the staff engaged in the analysis work. The staff members must be subjected to examination or test system: Another way of exercising checks is the 'referee testing' wherein the same sample is analyzed by all the analysts (technicians) and the analysis results are compared. Such arrangements would certainly enthuse the confidence in the workers. Overtime work should be discouraged in seed testing, as it would affect the-quality of the analysis work. It would be desirable to have some technicians in training to further improve the quality of the analysis work.

                             Financial support is an important consideration for the smooth functioning of the laboratory. The head of the laboratory should make the plans well in advance to avoid problems in day to day work. Provision for the engagement of causal workers should be made to overcome the extra load of work. Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide budget for this purpose.

                            Time is an important consideration in seed testing. The analysis results are required to be made available to the user as quickly as possible. The head of seed testing laboratory must ensure that the analysis results are communicated promptly within a period of one month.



1. Seed Sampling Triers:

a) Single tube seed sampling trier or size 90 cm in length, outside diameter at large end 3.75 cm made of 1.60 mm (16 gauge) nickel plated brass sheet with aluminum handle.

b) Single tube seed sampling trier of size 50 cms in length outside diameter at large end 2.50 cm; made of 1.25 mm (18 gauge) nickel plated brass sheet with aluminum handle.

c) Double tube seed sampling trier of size 90 cms in length and 2.50 cms diameter with 9 openings without partition; made of 1.60 mm (16 gauge) nickel plated brass sheet with aluminum handle.

d) Double tube seed sample trier of size 1.50 cm in length and 3.75 cms outside diameter made of 1.60 mm (16 gauge) nickel plated brass sheet with aluminum handle

2. Soil Type Seed Divider

  Soil type sample divider made of stainless steel for dividing seed sample into 2 equal portions by 2 series of chutes discharging alternately in opposite direction into separate pans. Sample divider with hopper of size 28 cms x 11.50 cms with stainless steel pans, scoop, cleaning brush and other accessories suitable for handling seed sample of agricultural and horticultural seed.

3. Sample Pans

Aluminum sample pan of following sizes

30.48 cm x 30.64 cm x 5.08 cm; (12" x 16" x 2")

21.59 cm x 30.48 cm x 3.81 cm; (8.5' x 12' x 1.5")

12.70 cm x 15.24 cm x 2.22 cm; (5" x 6" x 7/8")

 4. Pan Type Weighing Balance

Pan type weighing balance of capacity and sensitivity given below; with top loading facilities and scoop of suitable size to hold seed sample of agricultural and vegetable seeds with convenient pouring spout. Body made of rust resistant  metal or PVC.

 a) 1 kg capacity and 0.1 gm sensitivity .

 b) 500-800 gm capacity and 0.1 gm sensitivity.



1. Purity Table

 'L' shaped wooden table made of teak wood with SUNMICA top of size 135 cm x 45 cm + 90 cm x 45 cm and 76 cm in height with cupboard along 135 cm side and shelves along with 90 cm side .

2. Spatula

Spatula made of 1 mm thick stainless steel or aluminum sheet of size 180cm x 27 mm with (a) one end flat and other end pointed and (b) one end flat and other spooned). .

3. Forceps
Highly nickel plated forceps for handling various agricultural and vegetable seeds.

a) 14 cm long with medium serrated points.
 b) 14 cm long with very fine smooth point.

4. Brush

Artist brush of  3cm trim size, with finished and polished wooden handle.


5. Purity Dishes
Made of heavy /heavy gauge plastic with smooth/straight edge and flat bottom.

 a) 6.25 cm dia and 0.80 cm depth .

b) dia and 1.60 cm depth. .

6. Magnifiers

Magnifying lens of 3 power; 10 cm diameter and 18 cm focal length mounted on stand with removable heavy metal base for hand use.
7. Hand Screens
Set of 8 nos. standard sieves ranging in diameter from 1 mm to 4mrn made of wire mesh meeting ISI specification for size of opening and wire diameter. Wire mesh should be mounted on brass frame of 20 cm dia and 9 cm deep.

8. Single Pan Electric Balance (Make Mettler or Sauter)


Single Pan Electric Balance of200 gms, capacity with 0.001 gms sensitivity with top loading facility.

9. Top loading electric balance (Make Mettelr or Sauter)


Top loading digital/non-digital electric balance of 200, 800 gm capacity with sensitivity of 0.01 to 0.001 gm

10. Fluorescent Lamp

Fluorescent lamp with two 20 watts fluorescent tubes and suitable reflector mounted on perfectly balanced bronze baked enamel finished flexible stand with heavy base and with provision for setting a desired height and angle of focusing.

11. Ultra Violet Lamp

Tubular lamp mounted on adjustable stand. The unit should be supplied with 6 tubes of various wave lengths and suitable for operation n 220-230 volts, single phase, 50 Hz, AC supply:

12. Seed blower

Seed Blower utilizing accurately controlled air flow through the air column by calibrated valve cap on the top of the column. With provision for automatic timber cut off for operation and shall have 3 column size to accommodate various sizes for agricultural and vegetable seeds. The equipment should be complete with all standard features including suitable meter for operation on 220-230 volts, single phase, 50 Hz, AC supply. Three sizes of air column are:

 a) 3.8 cm -3.8 cm with calibrated air valve .

b) 7.6 cm -7.6 cm with calibrated air valve .

c) 10 cm- 10 cm with calibrated air valve.

13. Stereoscopic Binocular Microscope (Make Wild/Nikon/Olympus)
14. Purity Work Board

Improved purity boards, made up of wooden blocks 4-6 numbers size 37.5 x 30cm and glass slab of 40 x 30 cm size.



  1. Hot Air Oven

               Double walled hot air oven (inside made of thick anodized aluminum and outside of mild steel sheet finished in oven baked white or cream enamel) with inner chamber of size 420 mm x 420 mm x 360mm. The gap between two walls is filled with suitable insulating material. Heating of inner chamber by means of suitable heating elements placed in ribs at the bottom and sides. The oven should be supplied with a sensitive thermostat suitable for maintaining temperature of inner chamber ranging from ambient to 2SoC with sensitivity of 1C and automatic timer in hours and minutes. Complete with all standard features including built in thermometer of range 0 to 25C, two pilot lamps and 3 perforated shelves out of which two adjustable to any height and suitable for operation on

220-230 volts, single phase 50 Hz. AC supply. (The oven should be provided with a fan for proper air circulation).

2. Sample Weighing Bottles

                           Sample weighing glass bottle of size not less than 4.50 cm diameter and 3.00 cm height with air tight lid made of corning/Pyrex glass or stainless steel/aluminum.

3. Seed Grinder

                                    Seed grinder with polished chamber of 40 mm diameter and 22 mm deep, two stationary blades and rotor with four cutting edges.Two equipment should be suitable for grinding of sample of agricultural and vegetable seeds. Complete with hopper, wooden plunger, receiver and three deliver tubes with sieve tap of 40, 60 and 80 mesh size, with suitable tropicalized electric motor and starter (confirming to ISI specifications) for operation 220-230 volts, single phase, 50 Hz. AC Supply. The equipment should be housed in a wooden/metallic chamber.

4. Desiccator

i.20 cm diameter

ii. 30 cm diameter.

5. Tongs

Tongs made of thick nickel  plated brass wire suitable for holding sample weighing bottles of size 3.50 cm diameter and 3.50 cm long.

 6. Silica gel with Indicator

  Granular silica gel of granules size ranging from 2.75 mm to 4.0 mm with indicator.



1. Sensitive and accurate thermometer

Sensitive and accurate thermometer with range of temperature from 0 to 50C and 0-150C with 1C division.

 2. Dry and Wet Bulb Thermometer

'Zeal' make dry and wet bulb thermometer with temperature range of 5 to 50C with division of 1C. Complete in all respect.

3. Refrigerator

Refrigerator of 165 litres (5.8 cu ft) capacity with suitable and balanced compressor unit. The refrigerator should have freezer of 28 litres (1 cu ft) capacity. The unit should be suitable for operation on 220-230 volts, single  phase, 50 Hz, AC Supply.

4. Fluorescent Lamp on Stand
 Fluorescent lamp with 20 to 40 watt fluorescent tube, suitable reflector and 60 cm arm mounted on perfectly balanced bronze backed enamel finished flexible stand with heavy base with provision for setting at desired height and  angle of focusing. .

5. Plastic Tray or Surgical Tray
Size 40 cm x 50 cm x 5 cm .

6. Petri dishes
Petri dishes made of pyrex glass/plastic or size 10 cm diameter and 1.25cm depth with cover fits loosely to provide proper ventilation. .


7. Plastic Bucket

Plastic bucket made of heavy gauge plastic with cover, capacity 10ltrs and 30ltrs.


8. Forceps

Highly nickel plated forceps of size 14 cm long and pointed end.

 9. Counting Board
 Counting Board made of wooden/plastic of size 40 cm x 25 cm with double layer, of plastic/mica board with 50/100 openings.The lower layer should have provision for sliding back and forward to achieve closing and opening of holes. The holes should be equally spaced and of same size for proper counting and perfect placement.

10. Germination paper
Sunlit Brand filter paper in circles, rectangular/squares

11. Towel paper
Germination paper(Towel paper) of size 45 cm x 28 cm, highly absorbent and non-toxic to germinating seed. The paper should be of good bursting strength and free from toxic chemicals.


12. Germination Sand
Silica/river sand having graded sand particle of size ranging between 0.05mm to 0.8mm.

 13. Waxed Paper

Waxed paper sheet of size 50.5 cm x 36.5 cm

14. Maximum-Minimum Thermometer
'Zeal'/Bakman make. Maximum-minimum thermometer showing maximum and minimum temperature at any period of time within range of  temperature -4C to 5C with 1C division. Small metal indices on top of column on each side should indicate the maximum and minimum temperature. equipment should be provided with removable shelter top.

15. Germination Trolley
Movable closed steel trolley of size 90 cm x 35 cm and 175 cm x 40 mm x 1.25 mm angle iron frame having four equal compartments. The compartments should be closed with aluminum sheet from three sides and having glass widow in aluminum frame in front side. The trolley should have handle on 35 mm side at suitable height for its easy transportation and should be mounted on 4 nos. caster wheels.

16. Analysis Table

Steel table of size 1.40 m x 2.00 m x 0.75 m with sunmica top having shelves in the sides.


17. Analysis Chairs

Revolving steels chairs, with height adjustment.

18. Seed Scarifier

Laboratory model scarifier with maximum capacity of scarifying 1000 seed at a time.

19. Seed germinators

                             Single chamber, automatic,with/without lighting arrangement. The inside chamber should be made up of anodized stainless/stainless steel and outside M.S. sheet stove enamel painted. The water reservoir should be of stainless steel. The equipment should be mounted on heavy duty castor wheels .Dimension of working chamber 910 x 555 x 605 mm or similar. The equipment should be provided with cooling and heating arrangement for maintaining 5 to 50C temperature provided with circulating fans, automatic temperature control device, . accurate thermostats and inner glass door. Humidity approx. 90-95 percent complete in all respect.

20. Walk-in-germinator
Temperature 20C and 30C with high relative humidity.

21. Hot Air Oven (Sand Sterilizer)
 Hot air oven (sand sterilizer) of overall size of 635 mm x 76 mm x 495  with temperature range of ambient to 30C without timer.

22. Incubator

Hot air double walled (inside made of thick anodized aluminum and outside of mild steel sheet) finished in oven baked white or cream enamel with inner chamber of size 420 mm x 420 mm x 360 mm. The gap between two walls be filled with suitable insulating material. Door should have double viewing  window to permit observation during operation without disturbing thermal condition. Heating of inner chamber by means of suitable heating elements placed in ribs at the bottom and sides. The oven should be supplied with accurate thermostat suitable for maintaining temperature of inner chamber ranging from  ambient to 70C with sensitivity of + 0.50C and automatic timer in hours/in minutes. Complete with all standard features including built in thermometer of range 0 to 70C, two pilot lamps and 3 perforated shelves out of which 2 adjustable to any height and suitable for operation on 220-230 volts, single phase,

50 Hz  AC supply.

23. Waste Paper Trolley (Movable)
 Trolley of 60 x 45 x 60 cm size made of 1.00 mm thick sheet on a frame of angle iron of size 40 x 40 x 1.25 mm with round handle at the top throughout the width. Trolley should be mounted on four caster wheels.

24. Movable Open Trolley
Movable open trolley of size 90 x 45 x 90 cm having 4 adjustable compartments of equal sizes made of 0.80 (22 gauge) M.S. sheet and 40x40x1.25 mm size angle iron frame. The trolley should be mounted on 4 nos. castor wheels.


The following basic facilities are required to undertake seed health testing work.

1. Microscopes

a) Stereo binocular microscope

             Microscopes form the basic need for Seed Health Testing. For conducting dry inspection and the examination of colony characters a good stereoscopic binocular microscope with magnification up to 60x and fitted with two side lamps is very imperative.

b) Compound binocular microscope

            For the examination of various microorganisms good binocular compound microscopes are needed.

 2. Incubation Chambers

          Incubation is needed for the growth of desired microorganisms under controlled light, temperature conditions. It is required for growth of seedling and development of disease symptoms. Incubation is also needed for the growth of indicator plants and incubation by pathogens harbored within the seed being tested.

          Special incubation chamber are fitted with NUV lamps (Near Ultra Violet Lamps), 40 cm from the shelf on which the dishes are placed. As per the International Standards TL 40W/08 lamps should be utilized. However, in case

the NUV Lamps are not available, cool day light fluorescent tubes (e.g. 40 W /34 . Deluxe) could be used.


3. Transparent Containers

Although the seeds can be incubated in any sort of transparent containers glass/plastic petri dished are more effective and generally used for Seed Health Testing.

4. Media

a) Blotter Sterile and white blotters are mostly used in Rs. H.T for specific tests and pathogens

b) Agar-agar media

PDA and Malt extract agar are very suitable as standard media.
5. Deep freezer and Refrigerator
Refrigerators are needed for the preservation of the culture material and the deep freezer for inflicting shock to the seeds so that their germination is delayed/or the embryo killed, so that the growing plumules of one seed does not overlap the adjacent seed making the counting difficult and faulty.

6. Glass house.
 This is needed to develop the organisms under controlled environmental conditions. This facility is particularly useful for quarantine purposes.
7. Laminar Flow

Required for inoculation/platingisubculling under sterilization condition.


     In order to accomplish the Seed Health Testing, the following items as given below are very essential.
 1. Glass slides
 2. Culture tubes  
 3. Forceps

4. Teasing needle
 5. Cover slips
 6. Beakers
7. Flasks

8. Marking pencils

                     For more sophisticated work, a haemocytometer would be needed for Spore Count. Since, all the tests for seed health are carried under sterile conditions, an autoclave would also be needed.


1. Wooden Table

Wooden table made of teak wood of size 0.91x1.52xO.75 mtrs.

 2. Electronic Calculator
Electronic desk calculator for simple mathematical functions

3. Steel File Cabinet

                  Steel file cabinet made of 1 mm 20 gauge) M.S. sheet metal with suitable drawers to accommodate 3000 analysis cards of size 18 x 14 cm

 4. Steel Almirah

           Steel almirah of 86 x 45 cm and overall height 180 cm including 11 cm leg; made of 1.00 mm (20 gauge) M.S. steel metal with five compartments for keeping the files etc.

5. GI Sheet Box or Seed Sample Storage System

         G.I. sheet box of 50 x 40 x 22 cm size divided into 3 compartments; two compartments; two compartments of size 50 x 12 x 22 cm and one of size 50 x 15 x 22 cm; made from 1.25 mm (18 gauge). Thick G.I. sheet suitable for storage of seed samples of horticultural and vegetable seeds. The box shall be covered with hinged rubber gasketed lids.
6. Chemicals, such as 2,3,15 -triphenyl tetrazolium chlorode, Potassium sitrate, Thiourea, Gibberellic acid, silica gel with indicator, sulphuric acid, etc. B.D.H or reputed brand name.

7. Glassware such as measuring cylinder, desiccator,

petridishes funnel, beakers, etc. Corning Make.

8. Rubber bands, glass marking pencils, washed bottles, scapel with blade, etc.

9. A glass house or growth chamber is needed for canying out grow out test for . bacteria and viruses under controlled conditions.

10. Autoclave for preparing media and sterilization of petridishes etc.
 11. Laminar flow for inoculating the pathogens .
12. Sieves of 3.0, 2.5, 1.0 mm size fro separating the embryos.
 13. Humidifier for maintaining 90-95% Relative humidity in Walk-in-Germiantor
14. Dehumidifier for seed sample storage room.
15. Air-conditioner 1.5 ton capacity provided with precision thermostat. .