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bsc seeds

Bsc seeds
The research work on vegetable and medicinal plants seed production (12% of total submitted papers) focused on insights to metabolic processes that govern seed germination and vigor, stress tolerance, pathogen biological control, film coating techniques and pelleting, all of which contribute to seed size standardization. Besides these topics, offered papers on this area focused also on seed treatment with fungicides, insecticides, growth regulators and pre and postharvest management.

Bsc seeds

Curitiba, capital of the state of Paraná- Brazil, was the venue for the XVI Brazilian Seed Congress (BSC), sponsored by the Brazilian Association for Seed Technology (ABRATES). The motto chosen for the event, “Quality: a permanent challenge” couldn’t have been more appropriate since Curitiba, one of the most beautiful and important cities of this country, delivers well on the concept that quality is, effectively, a constant challenge.

Quality is a matter of concern for researchers and seed producers as well, both always aiming for the perfect seed, which becomes evident upon analyzing how seed quality has evolved in Brazil for the past 30 to 35 years. Along this period seed quality evolved, driven by factors such as the development of new and better production schemes, direct drilling, development and improvement of seed quality tests in the areas of germination, vigor and viability and the passing of new legislation, which include the law on cultivar protection and on seed production and trade. It must be mentioned also the key role played by Abrates and the Brazilian Seed and Bud Association (Abrasem) in approaching seed producers to different public and private research institutions, to broaden the scope on the sector’s bottlenecks.

To witness this progress in quality throughout these almost four decades, it is worth considering the case for soybean, the crop species sown to the largest area in Brazil’s agriculture. Halfway into the 1970s the mean soybean yield was of 1,000 kg/ha; today, more than three decades later, mean yields are in the figure of 3,000 kg/ha. Assuming a straight progression, it could be estimated an annual net gain of 70 kg/ha, the result of strong and objective research programs that yielded new and better varieties adapted to the different cropping ecosystems of this country. Not least in importance were the innovative production techniques, among which seed quality was a key factor.

These examples on the qualification of the Brazilian agriculture and seed industries go well with the Congress central issue, “Quality: A permanent challenge” since it comes to represent all this record of work and dedication by the people involved with seed production and research.

The Congress hosted more than 1,100 participants from different parts of Brazil and neighboring countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile. Seed and seedling producers, field agronomists, laboratory technicians, academics and researchers working on seed production, analysis and technology all had the opportunity to appreciate the latest innovations and engage into discussions regarding the production of high quality seed.

The Congress schedule was organized through panels that discussed the different topics, e.g. the concept of seed quality and its evolution, the progress achieved along the six years since the Law on Seeds was passed, the use of molecular techniques to counter seed piracy, seeds as biofuel sources, low temperature storage, pathogen detection strategies and the revised version for the Seed Testing Rules. The 10th Brazilian Symposium on Seed Pathology and the 5th Brazilian Symposium on Forest Species Seed Technology were parallel events held as part of the XVI BSC, both of which contributed to enhance its relevance.

An issue that had generated wide expectation by all players in the seed business was the presentation of the revised Rules for Seed Testing (RST) by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supplies. The new RST updated and aligned the norms regulating the Brazilian seed industry to those established by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), since the latter is the international reference organization for all matters related to seed testing that facilitate the international trade and contribute to open new markets to Brazil’s exports.

The new RST went through significant changes incorporating technological breakthroughs in seed testing, since the previous edition dated back to 1992 and updating was imperious to adequate Brazilian legislation on this subject to a resolution by the Mercosul (the Southern Latin American Common Market) which established that all seed testing rules should follow ISTA recommendations.

Another meaningful event occurred during the XVI BSC was the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Revista Brasileira de Sementes (RBS), the Brazilian journal on seed science and technology, which has become one of the most important world publications for the seed sector. Through its existence RBS has consolidated as the main information source on seed research in Brazil, being published uninterruptedly since 1979, in volumes of two or three numbers per year with an up-to-date figure of 1,461 published articles.

The Congress was the venue also for the release of the publication by Embrapa of “Tecnologia de Sementes de Hortalizas” (Vegetable Seed Technology), which is the first publication ever to deal comprehensively on the different aspects involved in vegetable seed production. Since this is an area that has shown significant growth within Brazil’s seed market, the release of this publication can be considered an important contribution to its development.

The XVI BSC achieved a new record in the number of published articles (981), from which 20 were delivered as oral presentations and 961as posters, distributed among the 13 poster sessions. The amount of publications reflects the evolving science and its impact on the Brazilian seed production and technology scenario. Scientific work by Brazilian researchers are internationally acknowledged and praised, being that this country ranks second among the developing countries in number of accepted research papers to be published by the Journal of Seed Science and Technology edited by ISTA.

The different topics addressed throughout the Congress are shown in table, in the text, where it can be seen that out of the total number of contributions presented, 32% (310 papers) addressed seed physiology issues. Second came the area of seed testing, 25% (250 papers), focusing mainly on germination and vigor tests, which are highly related to seed physiology.

The rest of the topics, production, pathology, drying and storage accounted from 10% to 15% of all submitted papers. Diversity can be an appropriate term to convey the broad spectrum of species considered by the submitted papers, ranging from soybean to crambe, a species from the Brassicaceae family considered an important raw material for the production of biodiesel and for its inclusion in crop rotations following soybean or corn in the Midwestern region of Brazil.

The species categories with the highest number of offered papers were those belonging to forest species and to ornamental plants, in total 316 papers (32%). Soybean came in second with 130 papers (13%) followed by vegetable and medicinal species which together accounted for 120 papers (12%).

The high number of papers offered on forest species, whether native or ornamental (32% of total number of submitted papers) became evident with the development of the 5th Brazilian Symposium on Forest Species Seed Technology, held during the XVI BSC. This Symposium offered the possibility for discussing the major challenges involved in seed production from forest species, for matters related to timber production, non-timber produce and land reclamation.

In 2001, even before the sector became regulated by legislation, a few partnerships were established between public and private institutions creating several seed networks. The main objective for the latter was data recording and exchange, mainly on forest specie seeds production, storage and trade.

Technology innovations in the forest species area are continuous and reflected in this event through the number of offered papers. To date, eucalyptus commercial crops are, in a vast majority, established with clones due to difficulties with vegetative propagation coupled with the lack of improved seeds and their high price, the latter reaching as much as US$35,000 per kg of seeds. For pine species, recent breakthroughs in their cloning process through somatic embryogenesis should become a common procedure, in the near future, to produce individuals for commercial plantations for species of the Pinus genus.

Other breeding procedures, such as hybridization, have become common for seeds from forest species belonging to the Eucalyptus and Pinus genera. Through hybridization traits that are technologically desired for timber purposes can be combined, e.g. tolerance to biotic stresses combined with the creation of individuals with enhanced growth rates, adaptation and timber quality traits.

The areas of drying and storage showed an increase on the number of offered papers, dealing with the development of new and more efficient procedures, seed tolerance to desiccation, and the new techniques for seed coating. Another featured development was that of intelligent coating, which consists basically of a seed protection process that regulates the onset of germination according to soil temperature, thus yielding an adequate stand as soon as the weather allows.

In short, the increase on the number of research work being developed on native and ornamental forest species is crucial to quality improvement and techniques involved in seed production besides supporting the need for future research within this area.

As for soybean, several of the 130 offered papers (13% of total) brought about some novelties, i.e. use and development of new techniques to characterize varieties through DNA and isozymes, enhanced drying techniques, seed processing and storage, crop field zoning through precision agriculture systems, identification of trait variability for physiological quality of seeds and the use of products to enhance seed performance, like micronutrients, fungicides, insecticides and polymers add value to seeds.

Research on the use of low temperature to dry seeds and for storage purposes was another strong issue of the XVI BSC, with new data presented for soybean and other species of agricultural importance. In regard to storage, this technique is known as dynamic artificial cooling performed on bulk seed, opposite to that of the product being cooled on bags. Its application occurs at the processing unit facility, after seeds have undergone cleaning and grading and are ready to be bagged. The main advantages of dynamic artificial cooling are that it doesn’t modify the original seed moisture content, avoids the risk of thermal shock and of water vapor condensation on the seed surface, since the insufflated air is cool and dry. Hence, this technology ensures the maintenance of adequate seed quality throughout the entire storage period.

Seed research has shown comprehensively that the two major factors influencing quality are moisture content and temperature and in the case of soybean seeds, the use of cool air for drying purposes is based on the same guiding principle for dynamic artificial cooling, i.e. removing seed surface moisture through the flow of cool and dry air. The avoidance of thermal shock results directly from the absence of changes on seed mass temperature.

Since drying occurs as a uniform process within the whole seed mass, it allows for an efficient control of seed quality and drying is achieved at the same speed as with conventional dryers, however, at a lower energy cost estimated at US$0.20 per seed bag. High tech at an affordable price makes it possible for farmers and seed growers alike to achieve higher standards for quality through an effective control of seed deterioration rates.

The research work on vegetable and medicinal plants seed production (12% of total submitted papers) focused on insights to metabolic processes that govern seed germination and vigor, stress tolerance, pathogen biological control, film coating techniques and pelleting, all of which contribute to seed size standardization. Besides these topics, offered papers on this area focused also on seed treatment with fungicides, insecticides, growth regulators and pre and postharvest management.

The estimate is that the vegetable seed market is worth over US$60 million annually, a figure on the rise due to increased consumer demand for healthier foods, more nutritious and appealing to the eye. This type of demand led, unequivocally, to a higher level of professionalism in a sector that has become relevant to the country’s economy.

In relation to forage crop seeds (10% of total submitted papers), the sector clearly made a point to show that, it is aiming to improve the efficiency and quality of its produce. The trend for the coming years is for forage seeds of high cultural value, polymer coated and treated with fungicides, insecticides, nematicides and growth hormones, besides incorporating micronutrients. All these enhancements aim at improving planting techniques through higher precision, while providing seedlings an adequate nutritional status to yield appropriate stands.

Research work on seed dormancy was important among fruit plants, a sector represented with a total of 58 papers (6% of total). The role of phenolic compounds on overcoming dormancy, seed drying and packaging in moisture proof packages and the use of the gravitational table together with the pneumatic separator were the most important issues considered. All this work has contributed to increase the value for germination and physiological quality from seeds of these species.

Coffee was another species of interest during the BSC, which a few years back yielded germination values in the range from 60% to 70%. Research work throughout these past years made it possible to achieve germination values over 90%, after focusing on such issues as maturation, harvesting techniques, postharvest management practices and adequate storage conditions. These efforts contributed effectively to improvements on seed lot quality.

The XVI BSC witnessed also the expansion of species destined to the biodiesel industry such as Castor bean, sunflower, dendê (African oil palm), crambe and Jatropha curcas. Research on these species was aimed at crop management techniques, genetic breeding and production technologies (among which: germination and vigor testing, processing and storage). These findings are fundamental to the production of raw materials necessary to the biofuel industry, so that it becomes a profitable and safe option.

During the 10th Brazilian Symposium on Seed Pathology the need to establish sanitary standards within the rules for seed and seedling quality control was discussed. The incorporation of these standards will benefit all members of the productive chain, especially farmers, who will be thereby able to purchase seeds and seedlings free from the main phytosanitary diseases transmitted by both types of propagules.

These researchs have proved essential to add value to seeds from hybrid varieties or cultivars, normally created and launched after considerable investments on human and financial resources. Considering that biologically speaking seeds are a form of life continuity, they are the vehicle on which the genetic load and the technology innovations are borne, so that they must be given the right conditions to express their potential.

Along the XVI BSC it became evident that the different ecosystems that characterize Brazil’s agriculture are well represented by researchers and institutions capable of achieving a high standard in the seed research area. Considering the status of the Brazilian agribusiness, seed quality is a permanent challenge that justifies the ongoing research on the subject.

All things considered, the XVI BSC was a big success not only because of the topics addressed at the different conferences, but also by the record submission of 981 papers, the opportunities for information and professional exchange as well as for the experiences shared between the participants. The Congress also reaffirmed the commitment by Brazilian research institutions, whether public or private, and the seed industry to continue investing on research and development for more productive seeds to keep going the motto: Seed is Life!

Bsc seeds
Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Seed Technology is a full-time three-year undergraduate degree course offered by the Barkatullah University, Bhopal.

Bsc seeds

Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) in Seed Technology is a full-time three-year undergraduate degree course offered by the Barkatullah University, Bhopal.

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Eligibility Criteria

  • Higher Secondary(10+2) Certificate Examination of M.P. Board, CBSE or its equivalent Examination with Science or Maths discipline with at least 50% marks.
  • Students seeking admission to B.Sc. courses will offer Foundation Course and in addition three elective subjects as per the combination prescribed by the University and available in the College.

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