Low-Cost Seed Storage Technologies for Development Impact of Small-Scale Seed Saving Entities in Tropical Climates
Experimental Agriculture (2022), 1–14 doi:10.1017/S0014479722000023
Patrick Trail, Timothy Motis, Stacy Swartz, and Abram Bicksler
Keywords: Seed Saving; Seed Banking; Vacuum Sealing; Desiccants; Zeolite Drying Beads®; Community Seed Banks; Calcium
Seeds maintained by local, community seed banks help protect crop diversity. Small-scale seed banks in the tropics often operate with few resources and under conditions of high heat and humidity that favor the rapid deterioration of seeds. In 2017, ECHO’s seed bank in Thailand led a joint effort with ECHO’s Florida-based seed bank to investigate low-cost methods of storing seeds in places without electricity for climate-controlled storage. It compares a range of technologies available in Thailand, including two vacuum sealing approaches (machine-sealing versus a modified bicycle pump) and two desiccants (calcium oxide [burnt lime or quicklime] and Zeolite Drying Beads®). These technologies were evaluated over a 1-year period with seeds of three crops: sorghum, velvet bean, and cowpea.